Newborn program takes first steps


Maintaining a winning program in any sport is difficult. However, it is a bit harder when the program must start from scratch. This is the task of new head coach Frank Horvat when his women’s soccer squad officially begins play this fall.

Since his hiring on Feb. 16, Horvat has been working busily on creating a schedule for the Huskies for the 1993 season.

In just a short time, he has managed to stage contests with such programs as Kentucky, Minnesota, Texas A&M, Creighton and Loyola. Other schools included on the future schedule are a possible pre-season match up with Notre Dame and regular season games against Valparaiso, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Wright State.

In addition to those schools, Horvat is hoping to tack on Big West member New Mexico and Oral Roberts.

“I’ve been mainly trying to finish up our schedule,” said Horvat. “Hopefully, it will be completed by the end of this week.”

NCAA rules allow only 20 dates for regular season games, and

Horvat would like to put about 17 to 18 games on this fall’s schedule. However, he may have to dip into the Division II or III level to complete the Huskies’ list of opponents.

With less than six months before the opening of the inaugural season for women’s soccer, completing the schedule will be a major accomplishment.

“It’s mainly harder,” said Horvat. “It should have been done in the fall because most schools have their schedules in place now. There’s plenty of teams that we can pick up in the fall for the 1994 season, but right now I’m looking to fill the schedule.”

A few home games have been scheduled, but Horvat is having some problems bringing squads to the Huskie soccer field.

“Right now, it’s very difficult to schedule home games,” said Horvat. “No one wants to come to Northern Illinois because we just established the program.”

When the red tape of scheduling is completed, Horvat plans to dpend more time with recruiting for the upcoming seasons. Meanwhile, he must work with the young ladies who are coming up through the ranks of what used to be the club sport of women’s soccer.

“It’s not going to be a club atmosphere,” said Horvat. “It’s going to be a much higher level of soccer and a bigger commitment. I have to evaluate here what I feel can contribute to next year. It’s going to be night and day between club and what they’re going to experience.”

Aside from the business side of Horvat’s job, NIU was everything that he expected and more.

“Everybody’s been really good,” said Horvat. “They’ve been there to help me out when I’ve had questions.”

Despite the excitement of the new program, the new head coach knows that there is still a lot left to accomplish.

“There’s so much to do, so I will be putting in a lot of time.”

After all, he will be part of history that will show NIU as the first state funded university to boast a women’s soccer program in Illinois.