Men’s head soccer coach Paul Snape has adapted to smaller surroundings as he prepares his team for the upcoming season.
Snape recently began his first season on Butler’s campus of just over 4,000 students after spending eight seasons on the coaching staff at Michigan, a school of more than 40,000.
Snape said his experience has been a good one so far, and he cited a welcoming atmosphere as one of the reasons he has been able to make such a smooth transition.
“My experience so far has been incredible,” said Snape. “I’ve been very busy, and I’m excited. It is a good program with strong values, and I have been very impressed with everybody at Butler. People have been incredibly friendly to me.”
Since Snape took over the program in late January, he has been busy trying to make it a smooth transition after former coach Kelly Findley departed for North Carolina State.
Findley left big shoes to fill, as Butler won both the Horizon League regular season and tournament titles last year along with achieving a best-ever No. 5 national ranking.
Snape is trying to build off the success of previous teams, but he isn’t giving the current group unrealistic goals.
“Our expectation is to be number one in the Horizon League,” Snape said “[The Horizon League] has some good coaches and players, but our goal is to make sure that we are ready to win it again. We want to win the Horizon Championship.”
Snape brings with him a style that is up-tempo and focused on technique, possession and intelligence. His style of play will rely on players to make plays and use creativity.
Players and managers have been watching Snape transition since he arrived, and they said they have noticed the approach he has taken.
“He likes a very different brand of soccer—a high pressure, attacking style,” Jack Morlock, who has served as team manager under both Findley and Snape, said. “It has been interesting to watch the players change their mindsets, but it’s something that we have all embraced.”
Junior defenseman Jared Isenthal said he notices differences between the styles of soccer the team plays this season versus last season.
“Last year we defended first to attack, and this year everyone on the team is an attacker,” Isenthal said.
Snape made his first official appearance on the sideline as head coach on Thursday when Butler faced Notre Dame and again on Sunday when the Bulldogs took on Bowling Green.
Although Butler came up short in both contests, losing 2-1 in each game, Snape remained optimistic about what the future holds for his young team.
“There were a lot of positives, but at the same time things were exposed that we didn’t do,” Snape said. “The great thing about it is that it’s all correctable, and we aren’t asking our players to do anything that they can’t do.”
Butler will take the field for its first regular season game Friday at home against Bradley.