Group of veterans and rookies make a strike at the competition
By Rocky McNeff /// Staff Writer
The men’s club soccer team is kicking off the year with a fresh start. With two seasons of overwhelming improvements, the squad is showing up this year with a new head coach and a strong set of players. The men beat out all the teams in conference last season and are playing this year against teams from University of Oregon, Portland State University, Oregon State University, University of Portland and others. The teams in this new conference are stronger, more competitive and more ferocious—a better match for LC.
Peter Nocka (’16) explained that this winning team is a result of depth. Nocka said, “an influx of talented freshmen, transfer students and international students” have defined the past two years. These gains helped the team build chemistry using “different skill levels and playing styles” which led to a successful and winning season. However, this year will only add to that depth, Nocka said, because the team now has veteran talent. This consistency did not come easy, but has already paid off and will continue to pay off throughout this season. Competing against schools as big as those in the conference just confirms that this team is full of skilled and determined players.
As this pattern of success and improvement continues, the team has taken on a huge change—a new head coach. Jim Tursi has coached the women’s soccer team at University of Portland, the men’s and women’s soccer teams at Willamette University, and the women’s soccer team at LC. Tursi is now adding LC’s men’s club soccer team to that extensive list. Both Tursi and assistant Chase Jordan are taking an extra load onto their schedule by managing two teams at a time, but their dedication to each of those teams shines through. The women’s soccer team has undergone a huge change since Tursi stepped in as head coach, and now the team is looking to take the lead in conference this season. With Tursi and his winning background at the helm, the men’s club team can look to perform even better this season.
Even though Tursi might be the force that changes the stats on paper this conference, the team dynamic that the club has had for years will stay the same. Nocka emphasizes that although a skilled team is always a plus, the flexibility of being a club soccer team is what gives the players motivation. Compared to a varsity sport at LC, the club soccer team has more flexibility and therefore, more freedom.
“As players we can make the team what we want it to be,” Nocka explains, which “leaves room for players to pick up responsibilities as leaders.” For a team that practices twice a week, players have to step up and push each other in order to get the results they want on game day. Tursi has shown the team that they can learn a lot from his experiences as a coach.
“He has also given us plenty of freedom to push each other in practice. which is exactly what our club is all about,” Nocka said.
The squad plays its first conference game this Saturday at 3:00 p.m., against Portland State University.