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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

A young and motivated squad

Senior captain Andrew Backman poses for a photo in his club soccer apparel (Photo by Luke Malanga ’20).

St. Joe’s men’s club soccer looks to have an impressive season

As the leaves begin to change, the excitement of collegiate fall sports fills the air. While St. Joe’s has many great club squads, one that should not be overlooked is the men’s club soccer team.

Led by senior captain Andrew Backman and junior Chris Theis, the team is expecting a strong season.

“We have a lot of returning starters,”  Backman said.

Backman also said that the improvement of  last year’s freshmen players will be key for this season’s success.

“Last year we probably had 15 freshmen,” Backman said. “Showing that development and growth will play a big role in determining where this team finishes.”

Backman mentioned players at tryouts also demonstrated talent that could help the Hawks win.

“Last year wasn’t too good, but this year should be pretty solid,” Backman said.

Backman’s role as captain does not come without experience. He captained teams all throughout high school.

“I bring leadership, of course,” Backman said. “I like bringing the team together and work towards a common goal and make the younger guys better so when I’m gone, someone can also step up and step into that role and continue a winning program.”

The other captain, Theis, talked about what it means to be in that position. He said that he’s fulfilled a pretty important role.

“I feel like I’ve made a lot of players better,” Theis said. “Everyone who comes back out to play the year after, they’re always excited. It’s like relationship building.”

Junior Simon Janusz, one of the players on the team, said they’ve been great leaders on and off the field.

“Both of our captains push us in practices and in games,” Janusz said. “They’re constantly motivating the team no matter what the conditions may be.”

Theis said that his role has been difficult but thinks that it will pay off in the end.

“Having the role of captain and manager, it’s difficult leading everybody, but I feel as like everyone will benefit off of it,” Theis said.

A potential advantage this year could be the Hawks’ quickness.

“We have a lot of fast kids on our team,” Theis said. “We have a couple of really skillful players. We have kids who have won national championships, state championships, I’ve won state championships as well.”

Theis also mentioned that fans should look out for sophomore Christian Viera this season.

“He [Viera] is an absolutely amazing center-mid, I can’t even take the ball from him,” Theis said. “He is not a big kid, he’s pretty short, but he’s really fast and he has amazing foot skills. No one can touch him.”

Backman said that playing at the club level gives the team a taste for what being a full-time student athlete would look like.

“Club soccer is very competitive and it’s not as big of a time commitment as Division I, but people still enjoy playing because you get that team atmosphere, you make new friends and it’s a lot of fun to continue playing,” Backman said.

The Hawks are currently gearing up to play their biggest game of the year against Villanova on Sept. 15.

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