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Riley a Riot of Quiet

Dartmouth College men's soccer coach Chad Riley speaks to his team at halftime of an Aug. 28 scrimmage with visiting McGill. Riley takes over for longtime predecessor Jeff Cook this season. Valley News - Tris Wykes

Dartmouth College men's soccer coach Chad Riley speaks to his team at halftime of an Aug. 28 scrimmage with visiting McGill. Riley takes over for longtime predecessor Jeff Cook this season. Valley News - Tris Wykes

It would be hard to imagine more of a contrast in sideline demeanor than that exhibited by first-year Dartmouth College men’s soccer coach Chad Riley and his Lafayette counterpart, Dennis Bohn, last Friday evening at Burnham Field.

Bohn spent much of the nonconference match hollering and pointing, shouting and waving, bellowing and gesturing at his maroon-clad troops. Riley? He mostly stood silently with his hands in his pockets.

This isn’t to say Bohn’s way is wrong. He’s led the Leopards to 12 consecutive winning seasons, three Patriot League titles and three NCAA playoff berths. But there’s no way all his instructions can register with players in the midst of a game.

In talking to coaches over the years who choose to watch quietly, what I’ve often heard from them is that they don’t want to distract their players or impart a sense of panic. The time to instruct and be vocal is at practice, goes the thinking. Once the game kicks off, especially in a nonstop sport like soccer, things are in the players’ hands. Or feet, as it were.

The most upset I saw Riley during the weekend’s games against Lafayette and Massachusetts came when he asked a passing linesman in a slightly-raised voice and in a slightly-irritated tone, if a string of foul calls against the Big Green could please stop.

That apparently counts as an outburst for the 31-year old. And it’s hard to argue with his style, either. Dartmouth is off to a 2-0-2 start and steadily improving game by game.