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November 06, 2013 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-11-06

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 7A b

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 7A

rnone, tra sl
n has een pitc

Throughout high school, the
phone would constantly ring in,
Michigan redshirt junior mid-
fielder Tyler Arnone's Hicks-
ville, N.Y. home. His mother,
Linda Rogus, would answer, the
voice on the other line asking if
Tyler could come to a local try-
out. Rogus would respectfully
decline, like she always did, cit-
ing that Tyler only played for fun.
She would hang up, shaking her
"Who was that?" Arnone
would call to his mother from
another room.
"Your jazz band teacher,"
she'd yell. "He wants you to audi-
tion for a spot."
"Again?" Arnone would shout
back, feigning disbelief. He was
good at the trumpet, and he
knew it. He was second chair in
his school band despite never
practicing. His mother would
repeatedly tell him to pick up his
instrument, but he was so natu-
rally gifted, he rarely had to.
Arnone understands music
well - the nuances of it, the
harmonies that sound best, the
intricacies that distinguish good
from great. He has an enormous
appreciation for all types of
music, much like his value for all
aspects of soccer, from the beau-
tiful, fluid buildup to the rough,
choppy finishes.
A team captain this season,
Arnone is both the conduc-
tor and soloist on the field. He
holds together the team the way
a melody does a song. Connect-
ing passes and swinging the ball
from side to side, he keeps the
offense in sync. He plays with an
untamed passion which reflects
much of where he came from.
He grew up playing street soccer
where the old playground adage,
"no blood, no foul," dominated
Hicksville is a quiet blue-collar
town on Long Island, the type of
place where thick family ties and
old-fashioned values run deep,
where simplicity reigns supreme.

Despite Hicksville's minute,
6.8-square-mile size, its musical
contributions include guitarists
Denny Dias of Steely Dan and
Al Pitrelli of Megadeath and the
Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
In the locker room two hours
before a recent match, Arnone
blasted his hometown's most
famous native son, Billy Joel.
"I love 'River of Dreams,' "
Arnone says. "He talks about
Hicksville alot."
Arnone grew up next door
to Joel and admired more than
just his music. Arnone, whose
father is a physical education
teacher and mother a gymnas-
tics coach, didn't come from for-
tunate means. After his parents
divorced, they worked hard to
support him and his older sis-
ter, and when times got tough
financially, Arnone would read
articles on Joel and try to com-
pare his mentality to that of his
music idol.
"(Joel) made the best of a not-
so-good area," Arnone said. "So.
why couldn't I?"
Arnone began playing soccer
at 4 years old, and it's been an
everyday thing since. He didn't
score a goal during his first two
years competing, but on his sixth
birthday, with his team losing
5-0, Arnone finally recorded his
first career tally - six of them,
leading his team to a 6-5 win.
"I remember it vividly,"
Arnone said. He pauses, laughs.
"My mom has it on video."
Arnone relied heavily on his
mother during his early child-
hood, and he considers her his
greatest influence. After his par-
ents split, she drove him to prac-
tice, made sure he kept on the
right path, picked him up when
he was down and attended all his
Since the time Arnone first
began playing, his father, while
local, has seen his son compete
in fewer than five games. Arnone
keeps in contact with his father
often, but the disappointment
of not having his support on the
field forced Arnone to fill that
void elsewhere.

"(My father) talks to me on
the phone, he's always there,"
Arnone said. "But because my
parents divorced, it's not that I
sought a father figure, but (my
coaches) kind of took that place
for me."
The Wolverines coaches this
season have been using the
phrase, "Entitled to nothing,
grateful for everything" around
their players, a motto Arnone
has taken to heart. There are
nights when Arnone will lie on
his bed and look around his room
- which is littered in Michigan
apparel - in awe, and count the
opportunities afforded to him.
"(I wasn't) poor, but lower-
middle class for sure," Arnone
says. "So then to come to a place

play Division I soccer."
It's the end-of-the-year play-
ers-and-coaches meetings in
2010, and the St. John's staff
is blunt with Arnone, who had
redshirted his freshman season
despite being healthy and will-
ing to play. Arnone - who had
passed on Michigan to stay clos-
er to-family - was watching his
college soccer career evaporate
before it ever started.
Arnone decided to transfer
and put Michigan on his schol-
arship release papers. The Wol-
verines former coaching staff,
led by former coach Steve Burns,
reached out to him the next day.
"They said, 'We want to make
this happen. How can we make
this happen?' "Arnone recalled.

has tallied 29 points on nine
goals and 11 assists in two-plus
seasons, earning 2012 first-team
All-BigTenhonors alongtheway.
How Arnone plays the game
separates him from other good
center midfielders. He's willing
to do the dirty things - to track
back defensively, sell out his body.
on a tackle. Arnone also has atre-
mendous soccer IQ, and uncanny
feel for the game. His speed of
thought is on par with the best at
the collegiate level and he's often
two steps ahead of his defenders
by the time he receives the ball.
That intelligence might just lead
to a professional contract after
This past summer, Arnone
trained with Sporting Kansas
City and the Philadelphia Union
of Major League Soccer, spend-
ing a week with both clubs. His
workouts were not official trials,
but he gained professional expe-
rience playing alongside the likes
of United States National Team
members Graham Zusi and Matt
"I would love to be in the
MLS," Arnone said. "I'm a big
family person, and I don't know
if I want to go overseas and leave
my family and friends."
He paused, reconsiding what
he's just said. "But don't get me
wrong, if the opportunity pre-
sented itself, I'm going."
Back in the Michigan locker
room, Arnone has just finished
putting on his cleats. His head is
bobbing to Billy Joel's "We Didn't
Start the Fire."
He's no longer playing music
in the tangible sense, butwith the
way he orchestrates the Michi-
gan offense, he might as well be.
He turns up the volume in his
headphones, feeling the music
course through him. His body is
loose, light. His mind circles back
to what an old coach once told
him after a game, that he was
only as good as the last match
he's played.
"You're only as good as the
person you are today, too,"
Arnone said. "Today's a new day.
Time to get better."

For the Daily
The Michigan women's softball
team released its 2014 schedule
Tuesday revealing a slate includ-
ing three 2013 Women's College
World Series teams. The Wolver-
ines are coming off a strong year
in 2013 that featured a Big Ten
title and an appearance inthe 2013
Women's College World Series.
The 2014 squad looks to be just
as good, if not better, than last
year's team with the return of
second-team All American short-
stop sophomore Sierra Romero
and classmate Sierra Lawrence -
both of whom played for the USA
Junior National team last season.
Michigan is scheduled to open
its season at the USF Wilson-
Demarini Tournament in Tampa,
Fla. The Wolverines' first game is
against Florida, another partici-
pant in the 2013 WCWS, followed
by another tough game against
South Florida. After that, they'll
go back to Lafayette, La. to play
in the Ragin' Cajun Invitational.
Last year, the Wolverines beat
Louisiana-Lafayette twice in two
highly-contested games.
"You go into every season with
the end in mind, and the purpose
of the preseason is to prepare for a
run at winning it all," said Michi-
gan coach Carol Hutchins. "I'm
excited about it."
But, the difficulty of the Wol-
verines' schedule doesn't stop
after the first two tournaments.
On March 6, they'll play in the
Judi Garman Classic, where
they'll have the chance to play two
other WCWS participants, Texas
and Washington.
The Huskies eliminated Michi-
gan from the WCWS in the second
round lastyear. Hutchins, though,
isn't looking past game No. 1.
"We focus on ourselves and
we don't focus any specific oppo-
nent," Hutchins said. "Our goal
is to play the game, and the game
doesn't know who's playing, who's
ranked and who's supposed to
When Michigan returns for its
first home game at Alumni Field
against Bowling Green, it will be
greeted by some upgrades includ-
ing a new AstroTurf field.
"The biggest excitement with
AstroTurf is that it may give us
more practice opportunities,"
Hutchins said. "Being outdoors is
very important, and we will get to
go outside more often. We were
able to get most of our games in
last season with the field we had,
but the conditions were some-
times too wet for practices. The
new turf will give us more prac-
tices and I'm excited for it."
The 2014 season for the Wol-
verines begins Feb. 9.

Arnone has 29 points on nine goals and 11 assists in two-plus seasons.

like Michigan, where you have
the bestofthe best, for some peo-
ple it's easy to lose appreciation
for it, but that quote is something
I value every day. Just being here
and going to school at Michigan,
playing sports here, it's unbeliev-
Coming out of high school,
Arnone was on cloud nine. His
high-school team had just won
the state championship. His club
team went to the national cham-
pionship. He was a top recruit
headed to St. John's in nearby
Queens, N.Y. on a full scholar-
ship. But all the accolades, all the
promise, would be short-lived.
"You're not good enough to

Arnone had never needed
to put the hours in to improve
at the trumpet. But on the soc-
cer field, there was much to be
done - skills to polish, people
to impress, a spot to earn. Burns
and the coaching staff tran-
sitioned Arnone, who was an
attacking midfielder in high
school, to a more defensive role,
but at just 5-foot-10, 160 pounds,
he was considerably undersized
for his position. Getting stron-
ger was his top priority to keep
pace in the Big Ten and to have a
legitimate presence on the pitch.
He put on nearly 15 pounds of
muscle last offseason and hopes
to add more.
Nearly three years have passed
since his transfer, and Arnone

Finn flies to Big Ten Championship

Daily Sports Writer
For 5,800 meters at Sunday's
Big Ten cross country champion-
ship, freshman Erin Finn refused
to letherselfthink she could win.
But with 200 meters to go, she
could no longer ignore the lead
she had on Michigan State's Leah
O'Connor, or the fact that she
was about to become Michigan's
first individual women's cross
country conference champion
since 2006.
As a team, the 14th-ranked
Wolverines finished second to
No. 6 Michigan State. Junior
Megan Weschler and sopho-
mores Shannon Osika and Taylor
Manett took home second-team
All-Big Ten honors. The trio fin-
ished in 10th, 11th and 14th place,
While the Wolverines were
unable to defend their team
championship, Finn made sure
there was still a trophy to bring
back to Ann Arbor.

"Even though we didn't win as
a team, I feel like my individual
(title) is really a team win," Finn
said. "I could not have done it
without their help."
Finn said her teammates have
helped her in the tough adjust-
ment to college, and that few peo-
ple were happier for her than the
people she worked hard with all
season long. Redshirt junior Tay-
lor Pogue, ateam leader and key
contributor, missed the champi-
onship meet due to injury.
"It was definitely hard men-
tally and in the team results,
but we knew we had to do what
was best for her," Finn said. "We
went in with the mentality of,
'Let's race for Taylor."'
Without Pogue to bolster the
Wolverines' scorecard, the Spar-
tans ultimately came away victo-
rious in a meet that came down
to Michigan, Michigan State and
No. 16 Minnesota.
Before the race began, Finn
had accomplished more than
many runners on the starting

line. She was a national record-
holder in the 5,000-meter race
in high school, an All-American
and a member of Team USA
before stepping foot on campus
this summer.-
With all of her pre-collegiate
success, many expected Finn
would challenge for an all-con-
ference spot, and once the gun
sounded, her killer instinct took
"We knew she was going to
run'out in the first wave of lead-
ers," said Michigan coach Mike
McGuire. "She made the decision
to leave the chase pack and ven-
ture out on the leader at the time.
"(As she ran by) she literally
just said to me she felt great,"
McGuire said. "I said, 'Just go for
it, then.'"
Finn then showed off another
gear, as she established an eight-
second lead at the three-kilome-
ter point and held that margin
until she finished in 20:48.3.
"I was extremely excited, but
mostly shocked," Finn said.

Finn's win also continued
Michigan's three-year run of
having the conference's fastest
McGuire and Finn both credit
the team-first mentality of the
Wolverines' program and team
leadership for the recent success
of Michigan's young runners.
"It's a quantum leap up to this
level," McGuire said. "The best
resource a young (runner) will
have is their teammates."
Added Finn: "It's different
than in high school, where I felt
like a lot of my wins were real-
ly individual. This one was so
Still, Finn found herself alone
in the final stretch of the race, far
separated from her teammates
and most of her competitors.
At that point, she talked herself
through the finish.
"I just told myself 'push.'"
Finn said. "Push hard, and you're
going to be the Big Ten cham-

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Activities: walking, hand and foot coordination
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