Soccer team seniors reflect on university sports careers

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Soccer team seniors reflect on university sports careers

Athletes representing BJU Bruins, Greenville, SC, August 16, 2019. (Derek Eckenroth)

Both the women’s and men’s soccer teams will honor their graduating seniors before playing their last regular season home game tomorrow, Oct. 12, at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively.

Five players on the women’s team will be graduating—Bailey Martin, Jenny Townsend, Megan Brubaker, Kayla Romeiser and Kristyn Rygh.

The men’s team has seven players graduating—Jesse Rush, Casey Miller, Ben Mills, Laurent Cadet, Isaac Landry, Nick Marks and Andrew Zhang.

Looking back on their time with the Bruins, many players reflected on what they had learned.

Ben Mills, an international studies major and a goalie, played his freshman, sophomore and senior years, taking a year off last year to study abroad in China. “One of the biggest things I’ve learned through my time on the Bruins is how important soccer is to the rest of my education,” Mills said. “Soccer teaches responsibility, split-second decision making and teamwork that you can’t learn in the classroom.”

Bailey Martin, captain of the women’s team and a midfielder, said that being on the team has impacted her both socially and spiritually. “I’ve learned to love people that are different than me,” she said. “There’s just so many personalities all trying to come together to be one unified team.”

Nick Marks, a business administration major and a defender, has played three years with the team. “I’ve learned perseverance through frustration, that pursuing goals often requires sacrifice, and most importantly, that being on a team requires good communication,” Marks said.

In the past four seasons, both soccer teams have experienced many highs and lows.

For the seniors on the women’s team, that includes winning the national championship in both their freshman and sophomore years. Their junior year, however, they lost the national championship game on penalties. “Of course, that was one of the lowlights of my time on the team. It wasn’t just that we lost it, but the way we lost it on penalties,” Martin said.

The men’s team also won a national championship in 2016, during these seniors’ freshman year. In the past few years, though, they have also had discouraging moments, including being eliminated from the national tournament in the last two seasons.

However, both the highs and the lows have caused the players to grow closer to each other as a team. Each of the players expressed thankfulness for their time playing for the Bruins. “I’ll miss the guys most,” Marks said. “I’ll always be able to play soccer, but not always with such amazing guys.”

Laurent Cadet, a criminal justice major and midfielder, joined the team as a walk-on his sophomore year. “I am going to miss the game,” Cadet said. “I love playing soccer.”

Jenny Townsend, a Spanish education major and defender, said that she came in her freshman year not knowing what to expect, but she soon grew to love the team. “I am going to miss seeing some of my closest friends every day at practice,” Townsend said. “I wouldn’t trade playing on the Bruins for anything because I made amazing friends and learned so much about pushing myself physically and mentally . . . Being on the women’s soccer team is a party.”