By Michael Noble
The 2009 men’s soccer regular season has come to an end. After 15 games, they have come away with eight wins, five losses and two ties. They are now approaching the NCCAA Regional Playoffs.
“We did not make the NCAA Tournament this year,” said head coach Jose Gomez. “We were probably two games away this year which is unfortunate.”
“I think we played well this season,” Gomez added. “We had the opportunity to play the first, fourth and fourteenth ranked team in the nation and I thought in each of those games we competed well and even had the run of play in the games.”
Last year’s team had a 21-game season with 13 wins, seven losses and one tie.
But with every new season, players come and go.
This season provided a challenge and there were a few specific things that the team had to overcome.
With the addition of new players and the absence of graduating seniors, the transition can sometimes be rather difficult.
Gomez said that the main focus was on their back line.
Since they were missing a few experienced seniors from last year, the team “took a couple of knocks in those positions, so [they] really had try and make the transition smooth for the new players in the line-up.”
Soccer games can often be brutal, and this can often lead to injuries. This season was no exception for the men’s team.
“We had quite a few injuries early on and throughout the middle of the season,” Gomez said. “One injury was season ending and we had others that took them weeks to recover from.”
Despite the numerous counts against the team, there was something that did work to their advantage.
Part of playing a game effectively is moving as a team and communicating with fellow players.
Whether it is soccer, basketball, baseball or volleyball, communication and teamwork are most important when playing a game.
But unlike other schools, Palm Beach Atlantic University sports prioritize exalting Christ more than anything in their attitude on the field.
When asked about the team’s strength, Gomez is confident in their ability to work together. He said the team had very good “chemistry.”
“I am blessed with a great group of young men that are committed to working for each other,” Gomez said. “Our team knows the sole purpose is to glorify God on the field and results, relationships and changed lives are products of our faithfulness to Christ.”
Senior player Chance Sumner said, “Out of nine seniors, seven have played together in club soccer. We’re a close group of friends as a team and off of the field as well.”
Sumner is a left midfielder and also feels the season went well.
“The beginning went well and we had a big win against Harding,” Sumner said.
However, Sumner said he felt the midseason was “not so hot,” but it soon changed after a pep talk from the coach about the team’s chances of making it to the NCCAA.
“The senior class has brought us so far from when they first arrived here in 2006 and we are looking to improve on the foundation they helped lay,” Gomez said. “I am thankful to their commitment to PBA and they will leave here as the most successful class in school history.”
The men’s soccer team faces tough competition at this year’s regional NCCAA tournament. They travel to Emmanuel College and will face competitors on Nov. 20 and 21.