After one of its least successful seasons in decades, the Yale men’s soccer team will have a new coach at its helm this spring.
The Elis will now be led by Kylie Stannard as they seek to rebound from a historically poor 1–13–3 season. Stannard’s hiring comes after the departure of Brian Tomkins, one of Yale’s most decorated head coaches, who led the Bulldogs for 19 seasons and announced his retirement before the 2014 season.
Stannard comes to Yale from the highly successful Michigan State program, where he spent six years. In his time there, Michigan State made five NCAA tournament appearances and reached the tournament’s Elite Eight each of the past two years. The Spartans were one of two teams to make back-to-back quarterfinal appearances and entered last season’s tournament as the No. 3 seed.
“Kylie has a terrific reputation in the coaching community for being smart, talented and hard-working,” Tompkins said. “I’m sure his impact on all areas of the soccer program will be immediate and positive.”
Stannard’s performance as an associate head coach at Michigan State helped him compile a 69–43–18 record during his six years with the university — a promising prospect for a Yale squad looking to reverse its fortunes in the coming season. This past season the Spartans notched a record-setting 14 wins.
Stannard helped compile a top-40 recruiting class in each of his six years with Michigan, a feat which peaked with last year’s No. 8 ranked class. While the possibility of an Ivy League school attaining a top-10 recruiting class is an ambitious goal, Stannard’s experience with recruiting top-flight high school players could certainly prove a boon to a Bulldog squad that will have to work hard for its recruits after a tough 2014 season.
Ultimately, Stannard will hope to lift Yale out of the mire that encompassed its one-win 2014 season and into title-winning future. Though the Elis will be transitioning to a new system with a new style of leadership, a number of current players have already spoken confidently about Stannard and the changes he is likely to bring to the program.
“We have yet to meet with the coach, but from what I’ve heard he’s been very successful at Michigan State,” forward Teddy Mauze ’18 said. “Though the transition from Tompkins’ system to his might be difficult, nothing will be as hard as what we went through this fall. I’m tremendously excited to play for him and look forward to putting this past year’s season behind us. We’re all just optimistic about the future.”
Keith Bond ’16 echoed Mauze’s optimism adding that Stannard will be trying to instill a winning mindset in the team right away and that he will push them in spring training so that they will be ready in the fall. Bond also said that he believed the team would have no trouble getting comfortable with Stannard’s coaching style and that they would be ready to go by the start of the spring season.
Yale’s final game of the 2014 fall season was a 1-0 home loss to eventual Ivy League Champions Princeton.