After a winless first season in New England Women’s and Men’s Conference games, the men’s soccer coach brought in six freshmen to bolster his roster for this year.
Last year the Lions finished with a 7-10 overall record but did not win any conference matches.
Their season included a victory over Lesley in the Charles River Cup (an annual game against Lesley for bragging rights), but only conference games count the for the NEWMAC playoffs.
Jared Scarpaci, the men’s coach, attributed the team’s success prior to joining NEWMAC as one of the reasons he was able to bring in such a large class.
“We’re a consistent, solid men’s soccer program in New England and that’s a good thing,” he said. “It keeps players interested, and I think the college is very supportive of that.”
According to Scarpaci, early favorites in the freshmen class are goalie Henri Fischer, the younger brother of junior midfielder Kilian Fischer; defender Warren Backman; and midfielder Clark Jacobson.
Scarpaci already likes what he’s seen from these new players.
“The level of play is pretty high. One of the highest I’ve seen in a long time for our program,” he said.
The Lions returned 24 players from last year’s team, including a handful of starters like senior defender Patrick Lowndes, last year’s leading scorers and midfielders junior Adam Halliday and senior Ole Eriksen, and junior goalie Carter Bowers.
Despite the amount of returning talent, Scarpaci believes some of his new players will be able to compete for playing time.
“The best players play,” Scarpaci said. “It’s always kind of been the model of the program, regardless of your age. In soccer there are always injuries, so there are chances for guys to step up and get their time to shine.”
The new players have wasted little time making an impact on their teammates, and some have already seen the field in regular season action.
Bowers said he has been impressed with the early performance of junior transfer Ryan Carino.
“[Carino] has already worked himself into the starting lineup as a physically and mentally strong center back,” said Bowers, a journalism major. “I’m excited to see how far he progresses over the course of the season.”
Freshman Clark Jacobson’s stamina has already caught the eye of junior midfielder Matt Zani as well.
“Clark came in extremely fit which technically set him above and beyond his freshman contenders,” said Zani, a marketing communication major.
According to Scarpaci, making the transition from high school to college soccer isn’t easy, and he has been impressed with how quickly his new players have adapted to the higher level of competition.
“The speed of play is the biggest adjustment from high school to college. It’s just a faster game,” Scarpaci said. “Some players may take a whole year to adjust, but these guys are getting the adjustment down quicker.”
Bowers said another difference about college soccer is the focus on conditioning on and off the field.
“The level of dedication to one’s individual game and to the team as a whole is much higher and sustained throughout the offseason,” he said.
With these new freshmen additions and a plethora of returning starters from last year’s team, Zani thinks the Lions can make a lot of noise in the NEWMAC this year.
“I think we can do well this year if we stay healthy and play to our strengths,” Zani said. “We learned a lot as a squad last year and with short memories, we’re ready to prove that we can contend in this league.
Emerson (1-1-1) is set to face the University of Maine Farmington at Rotch Field on Sept. 13.