John Carroll’s unsung soccer hero: Izac Coleman ‘24


John Carroll Sports Information Department

John Carroll sophomore Izac Coleman competing in the Spring 2021 season.

Leah Harrigan, Staff Reporter

Here’s to the unsung heroes. Sure, the athletes that are responsible for goals in the final seconds of the game bathe in deserving glory. The crowd rightfully holds their breath as a single player strikes a penalty shot to project the team to victory. But, sports fans often forget the journey to victory.

 The relentless hustle, the struggle to find the most pristine pass, the uncovered courage and the intrinsic motivation to be a genuine team player. Yes, at the end of the day, the score differential determines the outcome, but, this begs the question: Where would the final outcome be without a full 90 minutes of play?

The John Carroll University Men’s Soccer Team, continuously throughout their 2021 campaign, has shown that soccer is the epitome of a team sport. More importantly, they’ve shown that the determined efforts of all 11 players on the field do not go unnoticed. 

Izac Coleman ‘24, a skilled wing back for the Blue and Gold, is a Blue Streak soccer program member that deserves obvious credit for his behind-the-stat performances. 

Coleman, a returning Ohio Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year and All-OAC Team member, has logged 1,500 minutes of play during the current season.

 Coleman’s role is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult and physically draining positions in the game of soccer. Constant running, field awareness and clear communication encompass Coleman’s position, which means only a few players are fit for his duty. 

Although Coleman does not tally in the goal-scoring category, his performance and style of play are some of the main reasons for the program’s success.


Izac Coleman taking a shot on goal at Don Shula Stadium. (John Carroll Sports Information Department )

After another successful regular season, John Carroll looked to have a promising post-season, hoping and working toward another OAC Championship Title.  It was clear that John Carroll was on a mission to come home with the hardware. Come conference playoffs, the Blue Streaks were gearing up for a matchup against a talented at the time No. 14 Otterbein University team.

Coleman, an experienced defender, revealed his individual role for the Championship game.

“My role defensively was to win my individual matchups and defend well on set pieces. I was very aware that Otterbein had creative and skillful attackers and that I had to perform at my best to counter that,” noted Coleman.

Well, his work certainly paid off. Coleman and his line of defenders left the Cardinals goalless, pushing the match into a high-stakes overtime. But, this didn’t phase the starting outside back.

“I wouldn’t say the high stakes of the game changed my play style, but it did influence my performance positively,” said Coleman. “The pressure of the game and the support of our fans made me play better for sure.”

Coleman’s comments make it clear that he thrives off the atmosphere of the game. He appreciates the fans, he flourishes knowing that he has to perform well when it matters most, but most of all, he loves the game. 

His undeniable power of will and his desire to be a contributing team member proves that for Coleman, soccer is about the greater good. Victory, loss or draw, there is beauty in being a part of the game.

But, the Blue Streaks, as of now, aren’t fearing loss. Overtime ended in a 1-0 win for JCU, granting them their fourth consecutive OAC Championship title, which launched them into the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Tournament. On Saturday, Nov.12, the Blue and Gold blew past Bethany College in the first round of their NCAA campaign, with a 3-1 victory. A day later, John Carroll beat John’s Hopkins 2-1 in a nail-biter of a match, amidst significant snowfall. 

The victory marked John Carroll’s second all time “sweet 16” appearance. The last time the Blue Streaks made it to the third round of the NCAA Tournament was in 2003. 

Now, the Blue and Gold take a trip to the “sweet 16”, when they challenge Middlebury College at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. The NCAA Tournament Round Three contest will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20. 

Throughout this whirlwind of a week, Coleman demonstrated the amount of stamina needed to journey through elite tournament play. 

Izac Coleman taking a corner kick for the John Carroll Men’s Soccer Team in a match at Don Shula Stadium. (John Carroll Sports Information Department )

“I have developed a lot over the season, the coaches have helped massively. My confidence has grown game by game because of this,” reflected Coleman. 

Thus far, the season has been marked by Coleman’s efforts to withstand his position on the backline, ensuring that his goalkeeper, Connor Robinson ‘22 does not have to be concerned about the opposition’s offense.

But, encompassing the essence of Coleman’s role, we look back on the “unsung heroes”. 

The majority of his work, although noticed, is not necessarily what appears on “ESPN’s” top 10. It all contributes to the sport’s guiding ethos that teamwork, indeed,makes the dream work. Being a team player, doing the difficult work and being responsible for preventing the opponent from scoring is a huge role to assume, and the majority of these players don’t receive enough credit. So, let’s remember the teammates that are a piece of the puzzle, the one who works constantly to maximize their potential for the team.

In Coleman’s words, what matters most is “The Beautiful Game.”