Sport way of life for new IU women’s soccer coach: ‘I’m obsessed with the game, at IU and outside’
Apr. 6, 2016
Making the transition from English football to American soccer, Mike Regan moved to the U.S. to make a career out of the sport he loves. Regan, IU’s new women’s soccer assistant coach, has been on the field either playing or coaching since he was five years old.
“It’s a family tradition,” he said. “We grew up playing and passionate about the sport. It grew into a career from there.”
Originally from Yateley, a suburb of west London, Regan made his professional soccer debut as a youth player in England’s professional league clubs. After playing semi-professionally with Staines Town Football Club, Regan left home at age 20 to play for the Ottawa Fury.
In 2005, he made the transition from the pitch to the sidelines, taking a coaching position in Iowa.
“When I came to the states, I knew there was an opportunity to make a profession out of the sport,” he said. “That’s something that isn’t a possibility in England. You would pursue it as a hobby or have to work a second job as well.”
After seven years at North Iowa Area Community College and four seasons at Iowa-based Drake University, it was a natural transition to come to IU and a more competitive conference, Regan said. He assumed IU’s assistant coaching position Feb. 1.
Alongside head coach Amy Berbary, Regan works primarily on the team’s technical development and offensive strategy.
IU offers the professional challenge in the Big Ten that Regan sought, as well as a coaching staff with a clear vision.
“As a young coach, I wanted to learn from a forward-thinking staff,” he said.
Joining the staff in the middle of the spring season, the move to Bloomington was seamless.
“It’s the best time to transition,” he said. “In the spring we’re doing a lot of planning for the fall semester. We are looking for results in the spring but I was able to focus primarily on development.”
Just like his athletes, Regan’s day begins early.
On a typical day, his alarm goes off at 5 a.m. Practice starts at 6:30 a.m., often with weight training immediately afterwards. The rest of the day is spent in the office where Regan plans for upcoming practices and games and meets with recruits visiting campus. The day ends with a coaching staff meeting to plan for the next day’s training.
“It’s really nice to work with a higher level of players who want to and work to improve every day,” he said.
He’s hopes to bring the women’s team to the NCAA Tournament next year. Performing well in the Big Ten Tournament opens the possibility for an at large bid in the national tournament.
“It’s important we set our mark very early in the season,” he said. “We need to make sure that what we’re doing in the non-conference prepares us for season play.”
Conference play or not, for Regan, soccer is more than a day job.
“I watch as many games as I can,” he said. “I’m obsessed with the game, at IU and outside.”