Owls’ leaders strive for team rhythm

Temple University men’s soccer used their shortened offseason to build their compatibility to work with one another.

Sophomore defender Mickael Borger kicks the ball during the Owls’ game against Lafayette at the Temple Sports Complex on Sept. 13, 2019. | JUSTIN OAKES / FILE

After the University of Tulsa brought the Owls’ American Athletic Conference tournament campaign to an end last spring, Temple University head men’s soccer coach Brian Rowland has focused on setting the team up for a successful season from the start. 

“Everyone did their part, everyone did fitness, whatever they had to do,” said junior midfielder Andres Charles.

The team spent their offseason finding their rhythm and building technique, while Temple’s more experienced players plan to use their leadership to influence a winning season.

“The message this year is that we have to perform right from the beginning,” said graduate student defender Mickael Borger. 

Temple has eight freshmen and six transfers joining the program,  including senior defender Spencer Patton, who transferred from the University of Virginia this offseason after helping lead the Cavaliers to a NCAA tournament bid.

Patton believes he can provide some wisdom to help the team get farther in the postseason, he said.

“I come from a different playing style, a different background,” Patton added. “So I think for me it is important that I kind of extend some of my knowledge and some of my wisdom, but within the guidelines of the team and what the team wants to produce.”

Patton, Borger and Charles took on roles left behind by Esteban Suarez, Pierre Cayet and Brandon Johnson, who graduated in the spring. Each player has a different leadership style that helps to balance the others, Borger said.

“I would describe myself as a people-oriented leader,” he added. “So basically talking to everyone in the locker room, making sure everyone is good and doing well, and on the field vocally trying to lead the press or trying to replace the defense.”

Nine of the Owls’ 17 scheduled games this fall will be at the Temple Sports Complex, which may help position the team for success, Rowland said. 

“That will be our test,” he added. “More games at home means, you know, it doesn’t guarantee you a win, by any means, but it certainly gives you the comfort of playing at home and I think that is important for us.” 

The Owls will take on No. 10 ranked Seton Hall University on the road in their first game of the season on Aug. 26 in South Orange, New Jersey.

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