PITSBURG – Franklin Monroe senior Cody Coppess joined the Franklin College men’s soccer program Tuesday afternoon.
Coppess, the son of Mark and Krista Coppess, said he was extremely excited to continue his soccer career at the college level.
“It’s great to accomplish all the goals I’ve set out to do,” he said. “This is just awesome.”
Franklin Monroe boys soccer coach Danny Diceanu also was excited to see one of his players advance to the collegiate level.
“I think it’s awesome,” Diceanu said. “Being such a soccer-head as he is, you know he can’t get enough of it, I think it’s something that he’s always wanted and it’s just the next step in his progression.”
Franklin is a NCAA Division III program that plays in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference with Anderson University, Bluffton University, Defiance College, Earlham College, Hanover College, Manchester University, Mount St. Joseph University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Transylvania University.
Coppess decided to attend Franklin, which is located in Indiana, because of its small size and soccer program.
“I like the small colleges, and they have a really good soccer program,” he said. “And I really like the coach. I think it will be a good fit.”
Coppess visited the Grizzlies and played with the team, which finished 7-9-2 overall record and 4-4-1 conference record this past fall.
“It was pretty fun,” he said. “I really liked all of them. I think I’ll fit in really well.”
Coppess, who plans to study sports medicine in college, hopes to play central midfield for Franklin and wants to try to earn playing time right away.
“I think he’s a motivated soccer player,” Diceanu said. “He’s very technical. He does a lot of things well. He just needs to fit into the system of the school and the physicality of college soccer – that will be a big adjustment for him – and maybe the speed of play. But it’s something certainly he can pick up.”
Coppess is accustomed to playing tough competition. In addition to playing for Franklin Monroe, he spent the fall of 2014 at the Genova International School of Soccer in Italy, and he’s played at the Crew SC Academy in Columbus.
“I think I’m up for the challenge (of college soccer),” Coppess said. “I think I can do it. I just got to make sure I step up my game and focus on what I’m there to do.
“(Playing in Italy) was a really good experience for me. It definitely improved my skills on and off the field, too. It will help tremendously.”
With his skills, Diceanu expects Coppess to adjust very well to college soccer.
“He’s always adjusted his game as needed,” Diceanu said. “I think it will just bring the best out of him being challenged by better players or faster players or more physical players. I think by the time he’ll be a junior he should be able to be one of the better players or dominate.”
Franklin Monroe has had a lot of success and won numerous Cross County Conference and sectional tournament championships. Having a player pursue college soccer is another positive moment for the Jets’ program, Diceanu said.
“It’s just nice to see that we’ve somebody going on and playing and wanting to play,” he said. “Hopefully this will show other players that possibilities are there as long as you work at it and you get your name out.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.