Blugold men’s soccer closes out first season

The Blugolds closed out their first year as a program with a 15-4 record

The+Blugolds+homecoming+game+against+UW-Whitewater

Photo by Bill Hoepner, UWEC Athletics

The Blugolds homecoming game against UW-Whitewater

On Nov. 6, the men’s soccer team wrapped up their inaugural season as an official Blugold athletic program. They won their last regular season game, against UW-Platteville, with a score of 3-1, according to blugolds.com.

The Blugolds closed out their regular season with a 15-4 win-loss  record, and narrowly missed their bid to be included in the conference post-season by one loss, according to Head Coach Casey Holm.

This season, the team was almost entirely freshmen with only four sophomores and one junior. Nathan Donovan, first-year forward, said no one outside of the team expected such a new and young team to do as well as it did this season.

“We went into almost every game as an underdog,” Donovan said, “but we played our game, and the coaches prepared us perfectly. We played confidently and got great results.”

Holm also said because it was the first season of a new program and the vast majority of the team were new to playing soccer at a college level, many outsiders had very low expectations of the new Blugold team.

“We pretty much blew all expectations out of the water,” Holm said. “This season did a really nice job of setting the standard for the future.”

Those standards include a near perfect 6-1 home record, and, according to first-year forward Will Heinen, a tight-knit team culture.

“When we first met, none of us had ever played with each other before,” Heinen said. “We put in a lot of effort to do things outside of soccer like hanging out and getting to know each other, and I think we ended up bonding a lot faster than most teams.”

Donovan said this level of bonding showed on the field and was a major factor in what made the team so strong.

“Everyone was excited for each other and happy for their successes,” Donovan said. “We were all trying to make everyone better. That was the mentality.”

Donovan also said that college soccer is totally different than club or high school soccer, and because everyone on the team was new to it, they had to work together to adjust to the new standards that came with playing on a college level.

Heinen and Donovan both said, though being on a team during its first year as a program was challenging, it was also an opportunity to build something new and be a part of history.

“In our first home game at Simpson Field, I scored the first goal for men’s Blugolds soccer on that field, ever,” Heinen said. “That’s a memory that’s going to stick around with me for a really long time.”

Now, Holm said the team is looking forward to the next few seasons and the potential for a run at the NCAA tournament.

“We almost made it this year, so if in the next season we can make it, that would be great,” Holm said “Once we have a taste of it and some experience, we’ll be able to go back again and by year three of the program make a deep run at the tournament.”

Porisch can be reached at [email protected]