Soccerwire Q&A: Bucknell women’s coach Ben Landis talks recruiting, NWSL, beyond
By Jennifer Taylor
Soccerwire.com spoke with Bucknell University women’s soccer coach Ben Landis this weekend as he wrapped up another visit to the Jefferson Cup.
Situated in Lewisburg, PA, about three hours north of Washington, D.C., Bucknell University is home to 3,600 students and prides itself on its rigorous academics. The school is ranked 32nd in the nation among Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News and World Report and boasts a slim 28% acceptance rate.
The Bucknell Bison compete in 27 varsity sports and are a member of the Patriot League, which features American University, Army, Navy and Holy Cross, to name a few.
Landis is himself a proud graduate of Bucknell and, since taking over as head coach in 2005, has enjoyed one of the most successful spans in program history. From 2006 to 2010, Bucknell finished either second or first in the Patriot League. Landis looks to continue his tradition of success in 2013.
Soccerwire.com: How long has Bucknell been coming to the Jefferson Cup to scout potential recruits?
Ben Landis: I’m in my ninth year as head coach at Bucknell and we’ve been recruiting at this event each of those nine years. I’ve been coming to Jefferson Cup before then, too, when I was at Dartmouth College.
SW: How does the Jeff Cup compare to other showcase tournaments you have attended?
BL: It is well organized, there is a great natural-grass field complex and field-turf complex as well and we can see a lot of players who have written us play. Always nice to head south for a tournament weekend and get a feel of spring coming, too.
SW: What kind of player does Bucknell look for?
BL: We look to replace players and positions that we lose due to graduation; therefore, specific positional needs as well as finding players and athletes who can make our team better.
SW: Give us your recruiting pitch. Why Bucknell women’s soccer?
BL: We offer the premier undergraduate experience which combines prestigious academics, first-class facilities, proud and competitive scholarship D-I athletics, where true scholar-athletes can become their best while earning a powerful degree in four years.
SW: What effects do you believe the newly-formed NWSL will have on NCAA Division I college soccer, and your team in particular?
BL: I hope that the third time around is the trick and that the NWSL stays around for a while. I think the fact that it is supported by the national federations of Mexico, Canada, and the United States is a good start and that they follow a very frugal and practical business model for long-term success, unlike its two predecessors.
At the end of the day, we’re recruiting and coaching student-athletes who compete and succeed in school, in soccer, and in life, and if their talents and drive are to continue to play competitive soccer, then the NWSL gives them a great option to do so. The power of one’s college diploma will continue to be as needed and strong as ever and our program will continue to be able to provide that opportunity, as well as the competitive soccer experience.