Written By: Devin Garner
The St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) Men’s Soccer team has been a force to be reckoned with under the leadership of head coach Alun Oliver (‘04). Despite not having a season, they have continued to maintain their vision as a well-run program. The team has been holding practices throughout the fall semester that abide by COVID-19 regulations put in place with the hope of possibly having a season in the spring.
When asking Josh Luongo (‘22) of the impact that head coach Alun Oliver has had on the team throughout the global pandemic, he stated: “he has been really helpful and supportive during these hard times… He is always telling us to stay positive and be flexible during these hard times. Coach [Oliver] is a very positive person and it wears off on the team.” While the postponement of the season has been difficult for many members of the team, Oliver has nevertheless been a stabilizing force to lead his team.
As a result of the season being postponed, the team has also had to find creative ways to meet as a team. Aidan Kelley (‘22) remarked that the team has found ways to continue to connect as he states, “As a team, we try to meet on Zoom at least once a week in order to include those who are off campus this semester.” Jacob Breslauer (‘22) states that the team has also found a way to connect for those who are on campus for the semester as he remarks, “Everyone on the team gets along, so everyone on campus will go to the docks or somewhere else where we can be together safely but still enjoy being around as a family.”
In addition to connecting with the team as a whole, the upperclassmen have had to find a way to mentor their first-year teammates. While this has not been an easy task with the current regulations in place, the upperclassmen have continued to find a way. Luongo responded by saying that the upperclassmen have been mentoring the younger players by “Giving them tips on how stuff around campus works and making sure they are following COVID-19 regulations. We have also been helping them with their classes. The upperclassmen have set a high standard both on and off the field.” Kelley went on by stating that “We have just tried to be as positive and as helpful as possible. All of us understand that this year has been very different from past years, so we all have been reaching out more than usual to make sure we are still making them feel welcome to the team.”
While a potential season is still up in the air, the future of the SMCM men’s soccer team is very bright. As Luongo argues, “The future of this team is exciting. We have a winning culture and a coach who is always going to do what is best for the team. [Oliver] is always going to make SMCM men’s soccer a good program.” Under the leadership of Oliver and the talented upperclassmen, SMCM men’s soccer is in good hands for years to come.