Men’s soccer grows in numbers and intensity

September 17, 2012 | 11 a.m.

The larger team sets higher goals

Sports | Amanda Ahlm

Men’s soccer grows in numbers and intensity

The soccer team has a brief meeting after their practice of the day. | Drea Chalmers

Work hard, play hard. That is what the Bethel men’s soccer team strives to do this season. With a few weeks of practice and a couple of non-conference games under its belt, the team is preparing for its conference season to start. 

In his second year of coaching for Bethel, Jeremy Iwaszkowiec looks to settle into and refine the systems that he built for the team last year. This is his first year coaching only the men’s team, and he hopes that the team will embrace his vision for the upcoming year.

According to Iwaszkowiec, this year’s schedule is intentionally much more difficult than last year’s, since Bethel will be up against harder teams and will have to work harder to win. 

“I would rather play good teams and get beaten,” said Iwaszkowiec.

The team is unique this year with the number of fresh players it has. There are 16 returning players, 14 freshmen and two new upperclassmen. 

“It’s a lot of fun getting to know the new guys," said sophomore returner Jesse Caldwell. "A lot of the guys have a lot of potential, so the team will be looking good for the next couple years.”

With new players comes undiscovered talent, but there is also the challenge of figuring out how to integrate them into the team. In order to do this, the men have not only been practicing daily, but they have also taken part in some team building experiences, including worship services and a service project packing food at Feed My Starving Children.

Iwaszkowiec expressed how blessed he feels to be coaching a “solid group of men that are passionate about both soccer and Jesus.”

That being said, he does have goals for his team – not to win more games, but to put forth more effort and play consistently to match its competitors’ intensity. Last year, Iwaszkowiec saw his team playing hard for one-third or even two-thirds of the game, but then losing that competitive spirit in the final portion.

“I don’t care about results. The goal is to compete for 90 minutes against good teams,” Iwaszkowiec said.

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