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Sports July 13, 2000

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New CSU soccer coach looks forward to an exciting fall season

Photo by Nathan Sheeran
New CSU head soccer coach Pete Curtis settles in to his office in the P.E. building during the off-season.

New Cleveland State University head men’s soccer coach, Pete Curtis, calls CSU, “a sleeping giant in the soccer community.”

Curtis came on as CSU’s new coach in February, replacing Brian Doyle. Doyle directed the CSU squad for 12 seasons, leaving as the school’s all-time leader in coaching victories. Under Doyle however, the Vikings had not finished a season over .500 since 1993.

Curtis has been a college head coach for the past 10 years. He coached the Marietta College men’s team for five years. Most recently he directed the University of Charleston in West Virginia men’s team for five years, and was named the West Virginia “Inter-Collegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year” for 1999.

When asked why he left Charleston for CSU, Curtis replied, “This is a tremendous opportunity to take a program that’s had a few hard times and put it back in the spotlight.”

“It won’t happen overnight,” he said, “but it will happen.”

The returning CSU players saw a difference in their new coach soon after Curtis arrived on campus. The players who were around in the spring were asked to participate in a rigorous off-season conditioning program that included running every weekday morning at 6 a.m.

“You’ve got to work on your goals as soon as possible,” said Curtis, “conditioning doesn’t start Aug. 17 with preseason.”

Curtis said that his past teams have been known for their dynamic offensive capabilities. He stresses offensive output from his teams, and he expects the Vikings will eventually become that kind of team.

“You can’t have a team that worries only about not allowing a goal,” he said, “or you won’t be able to score.”

Helping CSU become that kind of team will be a handful of recruits that will see playing time in the fall.

Two Norwegian players, Ole Christian Haugen, a defensive midfielder, and Atle Hualand, an attacking midfielder are both junior transfers from Norwegian universities, and Curtis said that he expects them to contribute right away.

Josh Lidala, an incoming freshman from Westerville South High School in Columbus, will also help the Vikings immediately, according to Curtis.

“He is a big (5-10 190 pounds) defender that likes contact and has a good left foot,” said Curtis.

Many returning Vikings will also help Curtis to bring CSU back to a high level of play.

“My most successful recruiting job was convincing Adam (Campellone) to stay here,” said Curtis.

Larger schools, like Penn State showed interest in Campellone as a transfer athlete, according to Curtis. But he chose to remain at CSU. The sophomore striker is an offensive threat who will fit in well with the style of play that Curtis is trying to bring to CSU.

Curtis also mentioned two senior defenders that he expects to be a major part of this year’s team. Dan Garel and Corey Pryor, from Cleveland Heights High School, are both regarded as strong competitors and good athletes by Curtis.

Curtis called Pryor, who he said can play both defense and midfield because of his speed, “a very committed and stubborn player.”

Other players that Curtis expects to contribute heavily are senior defenseman Mark Royer, senior striker Ryan Sgro and junior striker Misha Levkov.

Curtis said that he wants to bring CSU back to the days of prominence that it had in the late 80s and early 90s. He said that he wants to see more than 1,000 people in the stands of Krenzler Field on game days. To get those results, he said the Vikings have to take chances on the field, and be daring as a team.

“My main objective,” he said, “is to have teams start worrying about playing CSU. I want them to leave here relieved, and not because they won, but because they don’t have to play us for another year.”

The Vikings will start their season Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. against Western Michigan. The game is at home at Krenzler Field, which is located on Chester Avenue between East 21 Street and East 18th Street.

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