Lauren Arnold and Steve Shelton will be the new assistant soccer coaches at Ball State. The Cardinals are 4-0-1 and will play in Northridge, California, on Friday. Ball State Athletics // Photo Provided
New assistant soccer coaches aim to leave their mark at Ball State
Two new faces will roam the sideline alongside head coach Craig Roberts this fall for Ball State soccer.
Lauren Arnold and Steve Shelton will join Roberts’ staff this year, replacing Marcie Klebanow and Jason Balach.
- Goalkeeper coach at Gardner Webb
- Head coach of Concordia University
- Coach of Northview branch of Michigan Rush Soccer Club
Arnold, who most recently was an assistant coach at Gardner-Webb, said the atmosphere of the program convinced her to join.
“Everybody’s all in, and it’s not just a team,” she said. “We do things as a family, from team bonding to team meals and dinners. Everybody is great together.”
Shelton, formerly the head coach at Concordia University in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), said his desire to further his coaching career led him to making the jump to coaching Division I soccer at Ball State.
“It was the right fit, being in a program that’s done really well and being around a team and coach that I can learn from,” he said. “In my career, as I progress, I try to learn as much as possible.”
While both say the adjustment to a new school has been a challenge, Arnold says the Ball State athletics family has helped her settle in.
“The people I work with, the head coach and Steve [Shelton], they’re awesome,” Arnold said. “The girls are fantastic. The Ball State coaching staffs, from football to tennis to basketball, they’re all amazing coaches and very inviting. If I needed any help they offered a hand and it was an easy transition.”
Going from head coach to assistant, Shelton said his experience will help him stand out under Roberts.
“It taught me a lot about how to recruit,” Shelton said. “We were always playing teams that were probably more skilled, had more scholarships than us. [Roberts] has been here a while and done a great job, so hopefully I can improve upon something or give him something he hasn’t seen before.”
The ability to work with Division I athletes was a draw for both coaches. Arnold, a defensive-minded coach, said working with an organized, veteran backline has been fun.
“We set ourselves up to be successful because of the organization that we have and the work we put in before games,” she said. “Most of the girls are returning players. They communicate, they work well and they read each other.”
Shelton said the players have left him impressed with their work ethic and promise.
“We have some great players, he said. “I think we have a tremendous cast of characters and players. Personality-wise they’re great, they’re hard workers. I think we have a few who can definitely reach that potential.”
Ball State (4-0-1), still undefeated after five games, will look to extend their unbeaten streak to six on Sept. 2 against Cal State Northridge at 10 p.m. EST In Northridge, California.