Anytime a soccer club moves to a new league, it breeds excitement from the club’s supporters. When a club in the English Championship wins promotion to the Barclays English Premier League, it is typically met by long nights followed by headache-heavy mornings. It is not all that different for Shepherd University Men’s Soccer, as they move from the WVIAC to the newly-minted Mountain East Conference.
Many opponents are the same for the Rams. However, others are new. This is also very much like the idea of promotion in the Premier League and other top leagues all over the globe.
“You’ve always got to be looking forward to a new challenge,” former Ram defender Taylor Duncan said. “As a competitor, you always want to test yourself against those you have not before.”
The Rams opened up their season at home Sept. 5 against Seton Hill and welcomed Slippery Rock Sept. 8. Their first match away from home is Sept. 11 against Chowan.
Senior striker Kevin Doyle and junior defender Max Psillas will serve as the captains of the soccer team this season. These two young leaders hope to lead the Rams to as many victories as possible this season.
The Rams are also starting the 2013-14 season on new turf fields. The Shepherd Athletic Department must feel that the soccer programs at the institution need a fresh slate heading into their new challenge. The effect on morale has already proven to be a positive one.
“It does nothing but positives for you mentally,” Duncan said. “It makes you, as an athlete, feel wanted and welcomed.”