By: Andrew Smith
Men’s soccer has begun their fall season with determination and great enthusiasm. The team opened up the season with two victories against Wilmington University and Post University and looks to carry this momentum throughout the season. Defenders Benji Jones, Andrew Watson, midfielder Filippo Peri and head coach Gary Book share their thoughts and comments on the season and what possibly lies ahead.
Jones is currently in his third year at Adelphi and majoring in business management. He commented on finally being able to play live games again after years of the pandemic. “I am looking forward to playing regular competitive games again this season; it is great to be back. We have a great group of players this year and I am looking forward to seeing how successful we can be and how far we can go,” he said.
Jones also explained what game he has circled on the calendar. “I am looking forward to playing SNHU [Southern New Hampshire University] as they knocked us out in the play-offs last year to end our season. So I think the team as a whole wants redemption and I can't wait for that fixture.”
Midfielder Peri is currently in his fourth and final year at Adelphi. He’s a graduate student who transferred to Adelphi his sophomore year as an undergraduate. “My thoughts during practices, especially after a month of pre-season, are that we have a very good team,” he said. “We have a big group and the level is extremely competitive. I believe we have all the elements to set our expectations as high as possible.”
Peri added, “I honestly live the season game by game. For me every game has the same importance. Mostly in college soccer, where you have multiple games every week you always need to be all in every time you step onto the field.”
He also reflected on his final soccer season at Adelphi. “I am very excited for the season ahead. It's going to be my final year and I am very proud to be leading such a great group of guys. For what I have seen so far we have good players on the field, that are also very good people off the field. In my experience, that is the very first element to build a successful season.”
First-year Watson, who is majoring in exercise science, explained what his thoughts are entering his first season as a college athlete. “I am looking forward to competing in one of the hardest conferences in the country, and hopefully winning a ring at the end of the season. The team is amazing, we all got so close so fast. They welcomed everyone and it made the transition so much easier.”
Head coach Book, who is entering his fourth season, is enthusiastic about his current roster of very talented soccer players. “Our preseason involved a great deal of teaching and development and we are gradually seeing signs of more consistent performance on the field. But it is most certainly a work in progress. We are a tremendously deep team with a number of strong options at each position.”
Book emphasized that each game will be difficult and tough. “Every game will be challenging because the conference is extremely competitive this season,” he said. “In that respect, absolutely every game is key.”
He explained how the team is preparing for the season. “The mentality of this season's team is based upon knowing that you need something from within from deep inside to work together positively for ultimate success. It is not enough for us to be prepared and organized. We are constantly striving for that extra element.”
Book added, “As with all seasons we expect highs and lows. It is how we react to those lows that will dictate the success of our season. With a young and somewhat inexperienced team it can be more difficult to see the bigger picture with limited experience of the college game. From what we have seen so far, this squad is learning quickly and is already building a strong spirit of togetherness and mental resilience that will help as the season progresses.”
Due to the pandemic, the men’s soccer team has patiently waited to play and compete. With hard work and dedication, they’re ready to play hard and make our school proud. We look forward to a successful season.