By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After 29 seasons, Pat Farrell announced his retirement as La Salle University’s men’s soccer coach back in June.

Earlier this month, La Salle announced it had found his successor with the hiring of Rob Irvine.

Rob Irvine

Rob Irvine is the new men’s soccer coach at La Salle University. (Photo credit: Penn Athletics)

Irvine had spent the last two seasons as the head coach at Division III Kean University in New Jersey. But prior to that he spent eight years as an assistant at the University of Pennsylvania and Irvine is happy to be back in the city.

“Philadelphia’s a special place,” Irvine tells KYW Newsradio. “Had a great time the eight years I was here at Penn and I’m very excited about this position here at La Salle.”

Listen to the entire interview with La Salle’s Rob Irvine:


Irvine had an impressive couple of years in charge at Kean, going 26-14-1 with the Cougars. He talks about what fans can expect out of his team at La Salle.

“Hopefully we are going to be very good in transition,” Irvine says. “Both on the attacking side and the defensive side. I’m a big believer that the game, especially the college game, is transition. So irrespective of how high or how deep we sit on the field, I think we want our guys to have very good habits in moments of transition. As soon as we win the ball, we want to get forward right away and as soon as we lose the ball, we want to hunt the ball and get the ball back right away. I think that’s kind of where the game is right now.”

Irvine talks about what he has learned during his years in coaching.

“A key lesson learned is that in college soccer you need gritty athletes,” Irvine says. “It’s very rare that kids go into games feeling 100% fresh, they’ve got their legs, they might have a little knock, you need gritty kids who are able to get the job done in moments where they don’t feel at their best. So grit is one of the key things I look at when I recruit. Obviously you want kids that are at a very good level with regards to the technical side and a tactical understanding of the game. Athleticism is obviously huge, especially in the college game. But you want competitors. I don’t think that should be overlooked. You want gritty kids who will find ways to get it done in moments of adversity and also moments when they’re just not feeling at their best, as well.”

La Salle will open the 2016 season on August 26th on the road against Loyola.