The Greensboro College Men’s Soccer team hosted Carolina University, formerly Piedmont International University, in their home opener on Feb. 6 at noon.
Despite holding training sessions during this past fall semester, complications due to the COVID-19 pandemic strictly limited the team to practices and intrasquad scrimmages, so this was the team’s first competition since the fall season of 2019.
As part of the NCAA’s pandemic mandates, the team was not allowed to gather for pre-season in August or host practice sessions of more than 10 players at once. Other omittances from the Pride’s usual run of events included team dinners, accessibility to the athletic recovery room, locker room usage and participating in away games. Weekly COVID-19 tests were also required, along with donning masks at practices and in other public areas.
At Friday’s practice before the game the following day, Christian Thomas spoke with humility about being offered the chance to play another season despite the complications that arose from the quarantine.
“It has been a very long year, an even longer fall it seems at times, especially because a few of us on the team were expecting to graduate this spring” said Thompson. “Some of us took on an extra semester to return in the fall as well, so we have got to make sure we take care of business this spring and come ready for the fall.”
He continued, in tandem with senior Alexander Bishop: “Having a shortened schedule with only nine games is a little less than we would have liked, but as our coach says part of becoming men is adjusting to situations as quickly as possible.”
Speaking to senior Jordy Briceno, who has made the All-Conference team selection consecutively for the past three seasons, and junior William Curry, a prominent goal scorer, it was noted that many of the newcomers had concerns about the immediate future of the program over the next year, and rightfully so.
“This is a situation we’ve never been in before, and with the last time we competed being about 18 months ago, it is up to the upperclassmen to ensure that the freshmen and transfers are given good role models” said Briceno. “This goes for classroom performance, behavior on and off the field and decision making during these tough times.”
“We are ready to step onto the field again though,” Curry continued. “We have been running, lifting and training in smaller groups as well as on our own throughout the entire quarantine period.”
The Pride rallied to a 5-0 win over the Carolina University Bruins, two goals from striker Darli Mihindou, followed by consecutive goals from mid-fielders Christian Thompson, Briceno and Curry. Overcoming the challenge of missing an entire year together, the Pride did not miss a single beat and shutout the Bruins to start the season.
By Keita Gresham