Despite Losses, KWU Soccer Welcomes Back Fans and Prepares For a New Season
Written by Victor Cascio on September 14, 2021
Typically, after a double-header of losses to open a season, there would be a cause for concern from players, coaches, and fans alike. However, for the KWU Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams, there are several reasons to remain positive after a less-than-ideal opening night. The men’s and women’s teams both fell to the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, losing 4-1 and 6-1, respectively. Lissette Garcia scored the lone goal for the KWU women’s team and Israel Good found the back of the net once for the men’s team. Although there are certainly issues that need to be addressed, the team knows that it’s still early in the season and there is a lot of room for growth.
Aside from the scores of the games, the players finally received something that they had not been able to feel for the last 18 months, which was a chance to play in front of a home crowd and to feel a true, authentic gameday atmosphere. The players and the fans both shared a similar enthusiasm in getting to enjoy this aspect of competition once again.
“It was cool to see the team play under the lights. It was cool to see the crowds back in the stands and fans interacting with the players,” said senior Clay Hickey (majoring in exercise science).
“The opportunity to have my peers and friends always helps; it gives us a boost. Hopefully we can get another good crowd to pull up for the next game and we’ll provide a better result for the fans.” adds junior and team captain Jesus Genaro Macias (majoring in social work) from Garden City, KS.
As optimistic as the team may be, the issues still need to be addressed. Even if it’s only a game into the new year, two losses of such substantial deficits require any team to take a deep look at themselves.
“Each and every one of us need to work harder. It’s on me, and it’s also on the guy right next to me. It’s on all of us,” says Macias.
Both teams possess a large group of freshmen, and the team may find its stride once the younger players become more acclimated. Adds Hickey, “It’s apparent that we’ve got a team full of older players and younger players and so I feel like it’ll be good to see these older players take some of the leadership roles and rub off on the younger players so that we can put a team full of heart onto the field.”
One of the main obstacles the team is presented with for the momentis the shift in coaching. Women’s team head coach Henrik Sohn is still only in his 3rd season with the head job, and anytime a team is working with a first year head coach like Lebaron Holliman of the Men’s Team, one can expect there to be a learning process that comes with a new hire. Macias and his teammates have full faith in their first year head coach and trust his vision and process.
“I know coach will put us on the right track. I have full faith in him and my fellow teammates,” says the captain.
Both teams will be on the road for games on August 29th before playing home matches on September 4th. The men’s team goes on the road to face Panhandle State University and then hosts Concordia University (Nebraska). Women’s soccer goes to Baker University before coming home for a matchup with Doane University. Regardless of how those contests play out, one thing is for sure: the Kansas Wesleyan men’s and women’s soccer programs will finally once again have an audience and a true home field advantage anytime they gameday comes to the Graves Family Sports Complex.