Four years was not enough for this Mercer soccer player


Image: Jenna Eason

After playing for Mercer University’s men soccer team for four years, Ian Antley is back on the soccer field as the new volunteer assistant coach.

Jenna Eason, Editor in Chief

After playing on the Mercer University men’s soccer team for four years, Ian Antley returns after graduating to be the new volunteer assistant coach.

“I think it’s a good thing that I know a lot of guys on the team. I know that they respect me. I respect them,” Antley said. “It’s good to have previous relationships, so I’m not coming into a brand new team where I don’t know anybody.”

Antley, from Newnan, Georgia, received his degree in communications, and although he originally planned to play professional soccer , he said he decided to return to his alma mater to get a masters degree.

Antley said he started playing soccer when he was around 6 years old. He played with the Coweta Cannons in his hometown until transferring to the Concorde Fire Soccer Club in Peachtree City where he remained until he was recruited by Mercer’s coach, Brad Ruzzo.

“I absolutely love the sport. I love the competitiveness. I love getting out here and competing,” Antley said. “A lot of people don’t like to run, but I kind of enjoy it.”

He said that he sees a different side to the game now that he’s a coach, and he has to take on a different role.

“I can’t be as joking and laughing with the guys as I usually am out here playing. I’m on a whole different aspect of things,” Antley said.

He said his new role also gives him a new appreciation for his former coaches.

“I see how hard they work for us behind the scenes so that we can play and have a good season,” Antley said.

Ruzzo said that he has a history of hiring people, like former player and coach Ashani Samuels, because they understand how the program works, how he works and the “culture of it.”

“We’re happy to have Ian on board. He’s going to probably go down as one of the greats for the program, and you know, he was part of a class that won 43 games and two championships,” Ruzzo said. “He knows what it takes to win, so it helps with the younger guys and even the older guys to kind of have that familiarity within the program.”

Antley said he is ready for the season to start and loves being in his new position.

“I played with them last year. I really enjoyed it — won a championship in ‘16 — and hopefully we get another championship this year,” Antley said.