Head Coach Zachary MacDougal made his coaching debut last year with the men’s soccer team. Their 5-12-2 record showed that there was clearly some room for the team to grow.
However this season has been much different. With a current record of 5-4-4 the Sea Gulls are off to a fiery start.
Coach MacDougal knew the eyes were on him in his first year and was completely aware of the less-than-ideal first impression.
Last year saw not only a new coaching staff but a fairly new group of players joining the team as well. They couldn’t just hop into a routine, they had to establish one first.
“Last year was difficult in a sense that we had a really young group and we had arguably the hardest schedule in division three soccer,” MacDougal said. “The big difference between year one and year two is I’ve been able to introduce expectations and standards, and the returning players have a better idea of what that looks like.”
The returning players are crucial for this team. There are only two seniors on the roster and five juniors making this an underclassmen loaded team.
Junior forward, Alex Floyd, knows that upperclassmen like himself have to step up and be role models to the younger guys.
“There is not something specific that we do,” Floyd said. “We like to say that we are a family, if anything happens we can come to one another, and I think that is the most important part to where we are now.”
The main thing emphasized by Coach MacDougal is accountability. He believes that everyone that steps foot on the field, has a responsibility to hold themselves and each other accountable.
“Accountability is huge, not only from my perspective but also within the team itself,” MacDougal said. “We have to hold each other to a certain standard and that's the big part of our growing process.”
The way this team has turned around has been nothing short of remarkable.
With all the young players and young coaching staff the future of men’s soccer has never looked better.
This year will be their first test to see how far they can go and also to see how realistic making the NCAA tournament is.
The team has their next game on Wednesday Oct 18, 3 p.m. at the Sea Gull soccer complex.
Click here to learn about the women's team.
By KAI BENDER
Featured Image Courtesy of Kai Bender