The Bob Jones University intercollegiate soccer program is in full swing.
As with previous seasons, both the men’s and women’s Bruins soccer teams strive to play hard, bond as a team and achieve victory. But every season differs based on the team roster and opponents, bringing new challenges to the table.
For the women Bruins, the initial challenge this season was the addition of 12 new freshmen and two transfer students who were still learning to communicate and work together.
Head coach Chris Carmichael said that the large percentage of new starters contributed to why the team had a slow start with three losses.
Senior defender Kayla Romeiser said the team had to figure out connections on the field. “We did not know how to play with each other at first,” Romeiser said.
Despite this challenge, the team has made drastic improvement throughout the season. They now have a 6-4 record. Describing their first win against Southern Wesleyan University in overtime, freshman midfielder Jessica Peterson said, “[The team’s] passing was spot on. We . . . finally found our connections with each other.”
Carmichael said, “Our new players have diverse backgrounds and have continued to strengthen our team.” This has enabled the team to develop talents that are building them into a stronger program.
As the season progresses, the women’s soccer team hopes to win more games and grow even more as a team. Though in the coaching position, Carmichael said he also enjoys being a “student of the game.”
He looks forward to continuing to mentor his players throughout the remainder of the season, and he takes on one game at a time.
The men’s soccer team does not have as many new players as the women’s team. Instead, the team’s main challenge this season has arisen from competing against opponents in higher divisions. Their season began with four losses, many of the outcomes being determined in the final minutes.
Head coach Matthew Hotchkin said, “We’re defending well, but we’re just having struggles to score goals.”
The team is working hard to improve this season, their primary goal being to view soccer as a process. Aspects such as daily, individual growth and game results play a vital role in reaching their aim. Hotchkin believes that keeping the season goals in mind is a high priority. These will help the team progress most—not just winning, he says.
But obviously, he would still love to come away victorious, especially when the Bruins play against Pensacola Christian College Saturday. Hotchkin also made it clear that having fans at games is important. During the home game versus Johnson University on Sept. 14, the Bruins scored two goals in the last two minutes, winning the game.
He said the larger fan section, likely due to the fact that society induction was taking place right after, definitely contributed to their victory. He encourages fans to keep coming out. “We are asking for the support of the student body as we build this program,” he said.
He added that the team promises to provide exciting soccer if people show up.