Freshman defender Tim Mehl brings an impressive list of accomplishments to the Indiana men’s soccer program. Arguably the most impressive among all of them is being one of four players at Loyola High School of Los Angeles to have his jersey retired.
“For that honor, I mean that makes Indiana what it is,” IU head coach Todd Yeagley said. “We get kids who have been successful, on winning teams. We look for that. We look for guys that were leaders who have won and played big roles on their team.”
Mehl is one of 13 newcomers on this year’s team, one of 10 freshmen in a backloaded class who will be competing for a spot in the starting lineup. As a former leader of his high school team, he will be in a different role he’s not used to in college.
For the Manhattan Beach, Calif. native, being recruited by IU meant a lot to him.
“It was a dream come true when I saw that email from Coach Yeagley asking if I was interested in coming to IU for soccer,” Mehl said. “Ever since that day, I’ve been very happy that I’ve been here.”
Though unranked out of high school by Top Drawer Soccer, Mehl was a three-year varsity starter at Loyola who earned a spot on the California Interscholastic Federation’s (CIF) First Team as a senior. He also served as team captain in his final high school soccer season.
As a junior, his team was ranked No. 1 in California and No. 6 nationally. He also was third-team All-CIF that year.
“Timmy had a great high school career, no question about it,” IU head coach Todd Yeagley said. “We go coast to coast and look for the best players that fit, and felt that Timmy had tremendous upside.”
Mehl calls Manhattan Beach home but also said he has relatives who live in Germany. He wants to play for the German national team one day, so it’s no surprise growing up he looked up to Jerome Boateng – also a defender – who plays for Bayern Munich and the German national team.
“(I really admire) his attacking presence, going from defense to offense, just his strength on the ball,” Mehl said. “I love his attacking mentality.”
Mehl has major ambitions already, but his role on the team has yet to be determined. Yeagley said he still has some growing to do.
“He’s in a developmental spot right now where he’s not in the first rotation of players in the back half of the field,” Yeagley said. “And yet, things can change. As he learns the things we’re working on, I think he’s a quick learner and he’s getting there. The year’s uncertain at this point.”
Yeagley also said if it means Mehl needs a year to train and be assigned redshirt status, they’ll let him know. But redshirt status is something Yeagley said his staff doesn’t predetermine.
“I think he’s in a good place to learn and develop at this point,” Yeagley said.
Mehl knows this, but is still striving to secure a starting spot.
“I’m trying to make the starting lineup,” he said. “I’m just working my way up from the bottom at the moment.”