Bennett making waves, history in Milwaukee soccer scene

There are two Division I men's college soccer programs in Milwaukee. Louis Bennett is the winningest coach at one of them and is zeroing in on that same distinction at the other.

FOX6's Tim Van Vooren: "Are you the kind of guy who remembers your wins?"

"No, I remember people, the teams that have been successful, the teams that have struggled, but the personalities that have really resonated with me, I remember," said Bennett. "Remembering the results? Not always, but I remember the people that probably got those results."

Now in his 15th season in charge of the Golden Eagles, Bennett previously led the UWM Panthers. That's all after the Brit first arrived in town to play for the Milwaukee Wave in 1985.

"I came here with a backpack when there was no outdoor professional soccer and tried to bounce around indoor soccer," Bennett said. "I would have played for nothing. As my wife tells me, I did play for nearly nothing when we first started. I'm a Milwaukeean and you can tell by my accent. I just feel fortunate to have landed here when I was a player and then fortunate I could stay in Milwaukee to further my career and not leave."

Coaching in a pandemic is only the latest challenge for a guy whose business card should read, "All in." 

"There's no dipping your toe in this," said Bennett. "You are what you get. I can probably be difficult to work with sometimes because if it's wrong, it's wrong. As you get older, you learn to navigate through that so people can see it from your perspective if it's needed."

Aficionados call soccer the Beautiful Game. For more than three decades, soccer in Milwaukee has been a beautiful marriage for Bennett.

"The work that you do, you don't realize it's work, but when you look back and you think, 'Oh, goodness me,'" Bennett said. "Having been an immigrant, an immigrant that you might think, 'Oh, that's easy. You're a soccer player.'" Well, yeah it was easy for me, but when you look at how we made ends meet, it's such a great country, in that sense. If you navigate and you keep banging on enough doors, it opens its arms."

Bennett has 99 wins at Marquette, with a chance to notch his 100th for the Golden Eagles April 10 at Xavier.

In addition, he has 135 wins at UWM, which is that school's all-time record.