MASON CITY – Last season, Leo Driscoll was in his first season as the NIACC women's soccer coach.
He took over a program that fielded a team for the first time since the 2004 season.
This fall, Driscoll will double his head coaching responsibilities as he will oversee both the men's and women's programs.
Driscoll will take over the men's program for Jonathan Platt, who stepped down after six seasons with a record of 38-62-4.
"It has really opened my eyes to the differences between men's and women's soccer," Driscoll said, "and has only put me in a better place for the position I am in now.
"With the support and trust I have been given throughout my time as a coach at NIACC, it has really allowed me to gain experience and confidence to give the best experience to the athletes and prepare them for the next step."
Driscoll will be assisted by Hanna DeVries on the men's side. DeVries will also be the associate head women's soccer coach and former player Michael Donovan will also assist both programs.
Driscoll said he knows there will be some long days this coming fall.
"But the rewards are going to be great," Driscoll said. "We have a fantastic support staff along with a really good set of sophomores for both teams who are going to play a very important role throughout the season."
The NIACC men, who were 8-8 overall and 5-4 in the ICCAC, return nine sophomores from last year's squad. The Lady Trojans, who were 4-9 overall and 1-7 in the league, bring back eight sophomores from the 2017 team.
Set to return for the NIACC women will be Kirrilly Hughes, Emma Eden, Madonna Stuflick, Jessica Altman, Rylie Smith, Olga Oliver, Rachel Kontze and Jasmin Benedict.
"You always look to the sophomores to provide that leadership quality," Driscoll said. "They have experience in every aspect.
"From time management and the importance of school off the field, to motivation during preseason and on the field leadership during tougher times. They know how much influence they are going to have and I can really see it being a positive environment for the freshmen to come into."
Driscoll, who served as Platt's assistant in the 2016 season, said he learned a lot during his initial year as a head coach.
"The biggest lesson from last season was learning to utilize the coaches I have around me," he said. "We all have to be on the same page and trusting them to deliver information. That allows me to take more of a back seat so I can see the big picture."
Driscoll, whose teams open the regular season on Aug. 22 at the Morningside College Junior Varsity in Sioux City, said that the recruiting season for both squads was successful.
"On the women's side, the players have been brought in to take the team to the next level and really compete in this extremely tough conference," Driscoll said. "On the men's side, the players have been brought in to strengthen the squad and continue the progress made over the last couple of years."
2018 NIACC Men's Schedule
22 – at Morningside College JV; 25 – at Southeastern CC; 28 – vs. Lake Superior College; 31 – at Missouri Valley College JV.
1 – at East Central College; 5 – at Iowa Lakes; 8 – *vs. Hawkeye CC; 12 – *vs. Northeast CC; 18 – *at Marshalltown CC; 22 – *vs. Iowa Western; 26 – *at Iowa Central; 29 – *at Indian Hills.
2 – *vs. Southeastern CC; 6 – *vs. Iowa Lakes; 10 – *at DCTC; 13 – *at Scott CC; 20 – NJCAA Region XI tournament (higher seed hosts).
* - ICCAC contest.
2018 NIACC Women's Schedule
22 – at Morningside College JV; 25 – at Southeastern CC; 28 – vs. Lake Superior College; 31 – at Hesston College.
1 – at Hutchinson CC; 5 – at Iowa Lakes; 8 – *vs. Hawkeye CC; 12 – *vs. Northeast CC; 13 – vs. Buena Vista JV; 19 – at Grand View JV; 22 – *vs. Iowa Western; 26 – *at Iowa Central; 29 – *at Indian Hills.
2 – *vs. Southeastern CC; 6 – *vs. Iowa Lakes; 10 – *at DCTC; 13 – *at Scott CC; 21 – NJCAA Region XI tournament (higher seed hosts).
* - ICCAC contest.