Season’s End – Men’s Varsity Soccer

I love coaching the Men’s Varsity Soccer team. This fall has been an especially excellent season and this past Wednesday’s practice exemplifies the spirit and effort of the team. I don’t mean ‘excellent’ to imply a ridiculous winning streak or exceptional athletic skill (we had some of both). I mean ‘excellent’ because of the growth and the camaraderie developed this season. Our record (5-9-3) reflects some tight games, some disappointing losses, and some thrilling victories. What it doesn’t reveal is the belief each player developed in themselves and their teammates, or the energy and excitement these young men showed for practices and games.

Wednesday’s practice provides a vivid example. Post-season practice can be drudgery, just something to fill the schedule. Our guys would have nothing of that however.  Although bummed to have lost in the opening round of the SENE tournament on Monday, the team was thrilled to get out and play with each other the next day.  Coach Folan suggested a theme for Tuesday’s practice (Swedish National Team circa 1978-82) which the team took on with zeal and enthusiasm.  This in turn led to the question at the end of that practice: What is our theme for Wednesday? Without missing a beat, a number of students said, “Hyde dress” to which other said, “YES!”  In other words, blazer, school tie, khakis, belt, white shirt… one heck of a uniform!  Jokes were made about how rigorous our team is, about the level to which we will practice, and to the origin of the theme – practice on Fall Family Weekend when Coach Folan didn’t have time to change, so he just threw on his cleats. I left Tuesday’s practice laughing, but frankly a bit unsure as to whether or not students would actually show up donning their blazers and ties.

Sure enough, Wednesday afternoon brought a group of sharp dressed athletes to the field. They cleated up and proceeded to take shots, pass the ball, and participate in practice as if nothing was different.

I am exceptionally grateful to the young men of the 2009 Men’s Varsity Soccer team. This season was indeed special and something that I will look back upon with fondness. The seniors provided a model of camaraderie, hard work, and effort that will last for years to come. As a whole, the team has a great deal to be proud of and true to their spirit, there is already talk about the 2010 season. Go Wolfpack!

Best, John

Here’s video of this momentous occasion!