While the Springfield College men’s soccer team may have had an unbearably long layoff, the combination of savvy veterans and capable underclassmen has vaulted them to have the potential of reaching new heights.
All they have to do is create an unbreakable bond, as claimed by Pride head coach Tommy Crabill.
“We have a lot of new players on this year’s team,” Crabill began. “Not only new as in first-year players but also graduate-level players and transfers. We really want to build strong relationships with each other going into October and November, and hopefully build on strong performances at that point in the season as well.”
The notion of togetherness is No. 1 on Crabill’s agenda for this season, as he emphasized that the output of games directly correlates to how much each member of the club is willing to put in.
“It’s going to be really important for us to play our best, but to play our best doesn’t have nearly as much to do with skill, talent, or athleticism as it does with communication, trust, and relationships on the field,” Crabill added.
One helping hand that will be in the Pride’s corner all season long – that has unfortunately been unable to make an impact since 2019 – is the return of fans. Crabill expects high energy to be injected into his team during every match now that the Alden Street faithful are amped and ready to roar in the stands.
“It’s awesome,” Crabill offered as he gathered his thoughts. “It’s absolutely thrilling, really. I know the guys feed off on it by having their friends and families there. Sunday was awesome to look across and see and hear so many people. We have such a supportive college and athletic community, so we love seeing people out there because they give us tons of strength and energy in the tough moments of matches.”
Although there has not been a maskless match (prior to this season) since 2019, Crabill senses no signs of rust within the team and appoints to the freedom on the pitch is the reason why.
“Everyone is just so happy and excited and joyful to be playing again. It’s like our own little space where we don’t have to be anxious or worried about what’s going on in the world, we can play and enjoy being around each other. It’s hard to point out any specific moments [where the team has had lapses],” Crabill said.
The strong suit of the 2021 Pride men’s soccer team is not actual on-field strength. According to Crabill, it happens to be a common determination and drive from all players to maximize their potential this season.
“It has to be our passion and desire from all of us to reach the level of performance that we want,” uttered Crabill about his team’s biggest strength. “I don’t know if that will come with results, but our continued passion during practice sessions and our continued passion during game day throughout the entire roster will elevate us to where we want to get by the end of the season.”
As for players to watch, Crabill has high expectations for every member of the team who steps on the pitch, no matter if they start or not, regardless of their class.
“For the game of soccer, you really have to have a strong spine of the team. All the players that play through the middle, from goalkeepers to center defenders, to center midfielders, to center forwards are extremely important. At the same time, the way we play the game is so reliant on wide players. Athletic and technical, fast, wide players that bring the game to life and make it fun and entertaining. It takes all 11 players to put together a great game.”
Seniors Chayne Bruneau, Jack Rosenberg, Andrew Ma, Timothy Brereton, and Jack Costa, along with graduate students Ian Macala and Derick Arhin look to not only have strong final campaigns on the field, but they look to also act as the “old guys,” by providing some wise assistance for the flurry of young talent coach Crabill’s club consists of.
The team certainly has a boatload of skilled players, some with tons of experience. All they have to do now is buy into each other, continue to come into games and practices ready to go, and they will be in for a season to remember.
Photo: Springfield College Athletics