SNHU men’s soccer embracing during a match. (image source Jim Stankiewicz)

The SNHU men’s soccer finished an impressive season after a loss in the Northeast-10 semifinal match on November 10 against Franklin Pierce University.

Advancing to the semifinals was no small feat. With an 11-6-1 record following a year full of COVID, any playoff run had been appreciated by the team and Penmen fans. However, they exceeded expectations, and after the 2-1 loss to FPU in the semifinals, the team is ready to seek vengeance next season.

Rafael Raposo (‘22), a member of the team, spoke on what this season was like and what it entailed.

He mentioned what it was like not playing soccer for a year, and what it was like as the team came together to rejoice. The team had similar aspects to a family, which they missed during a year of online schooling.

It was very strange to not be around the game for so long. We had a very abrupt ending to our spring season, and no one was expecting to be away from school that long. It was more exciting than anything to be back with the team though,” said Raposo.

In preparation for the return season, the team worked vigorously to ensure that this season would have been worth the longer-than-usual wait. However, they had to remember that they weren’t the only team anxious to get back on the field.

“The conference was just as competitive as always. Every game was a battle, and it seemed every team put in their best effort since they haven’t played competitively in so long,” said Raposo.

The stands were filled in anticipation for the men’s soccer team to come out strong this year, and that was what they did. The season was the most exciting of recent memory because of the team’s year off.

“We set our expectations very high every year… Anything less than a ring is always disappointing, but after being away from the game for so long we must keep our heads held high as there were many positives to take away from the season,” said Raposo.

Players put their cleats on with a single goal in mind: winning. That was not possible without the leadership and guidance of coaches. The team, led by coach Joshua Taylor, was fortunate to have a supportive coaching staff.

“The team came in every day and competed… We just need to keep pushing and improving on a daily basis,” said Taylor. 

Coach Taylor acknowledged where his team thrives and where they needed work. That willingness to work on things was what made the team great, and the desire to practice, because practice made perfect.

“With the season over, the focus turns to recruiting and developing. The current rosters starts our off-season program and the coaching staff hits the road recruiting,” said Taylor. There is a lot of preparation necessary to ready the team for every season, but after such an exciting playoff run, the team would undoubtedly return with a championship on their mind.

“I have a lot of confidence in this program that we can make a deep run each season. It takes a daily commitment and just focusing on what you can control each day. Just staying in the moment. The work starts now for the 2022 season,” said Taylor.

After a much awaited season, one that resulted in plentiful winning and goals scored, there is only one direction to look now: ahead.