July 22, 2014
MADISON, Wis. -- While many travel to California this summer for the beaches, sights and scenery, Ian Sarachan made a week-long trip to work with some of the nation's premier soccer talent.
The Wisconsin men's soccer assistant coach was called to join the coaching staff for the U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team training camp, July 5-12, at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, California.
Working with head coach Richie Williams, his staff and the 38 players called to participate in the training camp, the Gurnee, Illinois, native had the opportunity to work hands on with a caliber of staff and athlete that many coaches--young and old--can't say they have.
"The experience was great," Sarachan said. "Not only was it great for the opportunity to work with that caliber of player at that age, but also to work with that staff and a group of guys that I didn't know on a coaching level all that well. To be able to hear new ideas and new philosophies, as a young coach, you just soak it all in."
The opportunity to share philosophies, ideas and his coaching tactics with young athletes is something Sarachan said may have added value as Wisconsin prepares to welcome a large group of newcomers to Madison this fall.
"The age is pretty similar, so that experience will help a little bit," Sarachan said. "But, I also don't want to overstate that it's going to have so much value toward working with this group. Any little bit helps, though. The ideas and bringing a new perspective to certain aspects of our training, meetings and team philosophies that I can be a part of with our staff and the guys will be great. It's not going to be totally new ideas, but here and there I think it will go a long way."
Allowed to be involved and take a hands-on approach right from the beginning, Sarachan said he felt right in the mix as the national team trained throughout the week and competed during two days of scheduled matches.
"I felt involved from the beginning," Sarachan said. "The fact that Richie (Williams) put me in with a group and let me have my hands on some things, I really had no choice but to work with excitement. I think that excitement translated to the guys. Being the young guy, it's a good balance to have with them. I think they all appreciated it. I loved every minute of it."
Sarachan's youth and excitement for coaching seemed to have rubbed off on the Badgers last season. Set to begin his second season at Wisconsin, he made notable contributions right away helping Tomislav Zadro win Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and Nick Janus earn All-Big Ten honors.
He was also a part of UW reaching the NCAA tournament, led by head coach John Trask, for the first time in nearly two decades. The Badgers recorded double-digit wins for the second time in four seasons and tallied 14 victories in 2013, which marked the most at UW since the team won 20 in 1995.
Sarachan said that his work with the Badgers, along with his most recent experience this summer, have only reaffirmed the joys of coaching.
"Being on the field with a group of guys like that for a week, it makes you really realize how much you enjoy coaching."