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Humble Soccer Coach Gets U-M To College Cup

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Steve Burns is Michigan soccer. And if you tell him this, he will shy away and tell you he has been blessed just to be a part of the program. He is a humble man who has taken every step of the journey within the sport of soccer to get his team where it is today.

He knows what it means to win championships. He also knows that every step up the ladder you take, the more you have to work to win those championships.

He won national championships at the club level here at Michigan in 1997 and 1998 and then found out that going varsity in 1999 was tougher than he thought. He knew the game and recruiting would change, but he had to find out how it would change and learn from his mistakes.

In 2003 and 2004, the team went on to play the NCAA Championship round and then once again, he was humbled when he found out that this wasn't going to happen every year. Once again, the game had changed, the stakes were higher.

A program is not built in one year, it is built around successes -- year after year. Now, Burns was getting ready to impact on the hardest part of his career -- taking a Michigan program that he nurtured from infancy to making it a true collegiate power. In 2008, he made it back to the NCAA Tournament and he knew going into the 2010 season that this was a year U-M could do it again.

But even early on in the year, Burns was humbled. This time the Wolverines lost to a highly ranked Akron team, 7-1. He had to quickly figure out what happened and how he could get the U-M team to rebound quickly. Piece by piece, he did just that. The Wolverines haven't lost a game since that evening.

It has been a long road, but Burns has persevered. Now, he has his team readying itself for the most important weekend in Michigan soccer history.

On Friday night (11 EST, ESPN2), Burns will be taking the U-M team to its first final four of the College Cup. And this time, the U-M team takes on that same Akron team it lost to on Oct. 19 by that 7-1 score.

The Wolverines are ranked No. 15 and the Zips are No. 2. A win would once again humble Steve Burns, but not in the way he has been humbled before. It would be a perfect "humble" for a humble man and a great team.

Go Blue!