First Year Learning Experience

By: Gerald Lima

Kean University boys’ soccer team unfortunately enough wasn’t able to advance in the NJAC tournament, as they fell to Montclair State University in the second round of action in the NJAC tournament 3-0.

“We are trending in the right direction.  When you look at where this program finished last season in the NJAC Conference tenth place and our finish place this season fourth, we experienced progress,” Cougars head coach Rob Irvine said. “However, we still need to better.  I am sure if you asked our players, they would be disappointed in how we performed in certain matches- especially in conference.”

Despite the loss, Irvine is proud of the progress the team has gone through, as they ended the season with a record of 12-8-1.

“Our finish this season is a reflection of the hard work and commitment that the players showed throughout the fall,” Irvine said. “College soccer is a grind.  Everyone plays two games per week and injuries quickly accumulate.  We experienced our fair share of injuries to impact players within the group.  Despite the taxing schedule and injuries, the guys continued to battle and find a way to get it done.”

Nevertheless, Irvine says the reason for the success is hard work, but the team still has room for more improvement looking into the future.

“We still need to address our organization and reinforce transition,” Irvine said. “We have to be better in critical moments of the game.  In addition to our shape and rhythm of play, we need to improve our fitness and overall athleticism.”

The Cougars are already looking into the next season, as they focus on each and every aspect on and off the field.

“Continuing to push the group along and build upon this year,” Irvine said. “It will be very tough.  We have to be aggressive with our recruiting and attract impact players to the school.

This season went on to be a learning experience for Irvine and the boys’, as they united for the first time and continue to build on what already has been heading into the right direction.

“Communication and establishing relationships is paramount,” Irvine said. “Everyone needs to be on the same page in order to be aligned and moving in the same direction.  Though I think we are moving forward, we are still experiencing some bumps in the road. Games turn on moments and we need to be better in those moments.  Being able to execute in those moments is a product of your playing habits and paying attention to detail. It’s my responsibility, as the leader, to ensure that everyone is pulling together.”

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