Ready to turn the corner
CSM men’s soccer has new head coach, plenty of returners and new faces
As the College of Southern Maryland men’s soccer team prepares for a scrimmage this Saturday against Goucher and then its season opener against Anne Arundel Community College on Thursday, a first-year head coach and his three team captains are approaching the slate with considerable optimism.
On Wednesday afternoon before an evening practice, CSM head coach Tom Pollert and sophomore captains Will Parr, Jehoshua Otuya and Dilan Bingham spoke about the upcoming season in an upbeat tone. Although all three arrived at CSM from three different high schools in three different counties, they have formed a solid bond and admit the team’s incoming freshmen have quickly helped form a cohesive unit.
“Right from the first practice, I think we had a lot more chemistry,” said Parr, a midfielder and Huntingtown High School graduate from Huntingtown who plans to attend the University of Maryland next year. “I think we’re a lot closer than we were last season. We do a lot of things together outside of
soccer. It’s definitely a different feeling this year.”
Otuya, a St. Mary’s Ryken High School graduate from Hollywood and one of the team’s two returning forwards along with La Plata High School alum Zach Gragan from Bel Alton, sided with Parr in relation to the team’s improved chemistry this fall. Otuya admits the team has set high goals in its first season under Pollert and he downplayed any personal expectations.
“For me, it’s all about helping this team win as many games as possible,” Otuya said. “The goals are to get as far as we can in the Region XX tournament. It’s about working together as a team. We’re a lot closer this year than we were last year. We only have five returning players, but we’ve all come together this year, including the new players.”
Bingham, a Thomas Stone High School graduate from Waldorf, could sense from the first week of practices that the returning players and incoming freshmen were on the same page immediately. While the 2015 Hawks may have been unable to form a cohesive bond last fall, this year’s squad may have already meshed.
“It’s definitely a lot different and a lot better than last year,” Bingham said. “We have one complete team this year. For me, as a defenseman, the goal is always to help my team post a clean sheet [shutout]. I want to do anything I can to help my goalie and prevent the other team from scoring. We have more chemistry this season and I think it will result in more wins.”
Pollert insisted part of the short term goals of getting the players to mesh together in practices has already been established and now he admits the long term goal is simply to take the Hawks to a higher level this fall.
“The goal for any coach and any team this time of year is to win the region championship and make it to the NJCAA tournament,” Pollert said. “We only have five returning players and 16 new players, but right away this team has come together. I think they all have the same goals in mind this year. These three captains have done an excellent job providing the leadership that the younger players can look up to.”
College of Southern Maryland sophomore midfielder Will Parr, a Huntingtown High School graduate, is one of only five returning players for the Hawks men’s soccer team this fall.