For the past two years, Chris Yount sat and watched while Jake Pezzuto got most of the minutes in net for the DePauw men’s soccer team.
With Pezzuto having graduated in May, it’s finally Yount’s turn. In what will be his last year in Greencastle, he will be taking over as the Tigers’ feature goalkeeper.
Yet, ironically, he’ll still technically be playing underneath Pezzuto, who is staying on with the program as the team’s goalkeeping coach and strength and fitness trainer.
“He's doing great,” head coach Brad Hauter said of the team’s newest coach. “He is a great student of the game and has coached a number of camps and clinics and really is a fantastic [goalkeeper] trainer. He worked the Penn State camp this summer and got glowing reviews from their staff.”
For Yount, this means his teammate for the past three seasons will now be the one instructing him everyday at practice.
Some people might find that situation a little odd, but Yount is happy to have Pezzuto alongside him during his senior season.
“It really hasn't been that weird to have Jake as a coach,” Yount said. “We both have helped each other a lot these past three years and coached each other as players. So he is really just doing the same thing in a different role.”
And it’s not just Yount that is familiar with Pezzuto. Twenty-five players currently on DePauw’s roster played with Pezzuto for at least one season.
But this isn’t the first time a DePauw goalie has made the jump from player to coach. Nate Sprenkel, a 2012 graduate, had been the goalkeeper coach up until the end of last year. According to Pezzuto, learning from Sprenkel gives him an advantage at practice.
“I think that the fact I was teammates with most of our current roster does help me…” Pezzuto said. “I was teammates with him before he was a coach and he was one of our captains. I already had a lot of respect for him, and additionally since he played and trained with us, he knew our styles of play and it helped him coach us more efficiently.”
So far that coaching has paid off for Yount.
He put up a four save effort in DePauw’s 1-0 win at Hanover College to open the season and had a shutout going against Earlham College in the team’s second game before weather caused the game to be postponed. Despite giving up two goals in DePauw’s 4-2 win over Anderson University on Saturday, Pezzuto is pleased with the work of his newest pupil.
“Chris is a very solid shot stopper,” Pezzuto said. “His starting position and understanding of where he needs to be in the goal helps him cover most of it, and thus helps him with his shot stopping. He is also a very vocal leader in the back for us and is constantly communicating, and he is very strong collecting serves that are crossed in the air in traffic.”
But ultimately it’s the close relationship that the two men share that helps make things work.
“Now Jake is the active piece of Chris staying sharp and ready for matches, and they work very well together,” Hauter said.
And Pezzuto? He’s just happy to see his buddy get a chance to shine.
“I do know the time and effort he's put in because I was in a similar situation with the keepers that were older than me my first two years, so it is very exciting to see Chris step into that role and be our starting goalkeeper, because he has definitely earned it.”