On Aug. 25, the American Athletic Conference postponed men’s soccer until Spring 2021, dashing Temple University’s hopes of playing this season.
Temple’s men’s soccer was scheduled to begin their season on Sept. 5 and would have competed in a 10 match double round robin schedule of conference play, The Temple News reported.
“Certainly, the decision was something maybe that we were hoping we would escape,” said head coach Brian Rowland. “I think we felt like we were in a place with the safety protocols and with the adherence by the team that we could continue safely.”
The team arrived at Main Campus three weeks ago and began “intense” training in preparation for the fall season, Rowland added.
When the season was postponed, it was “tough mentally,” said senior defender Mikael Borger.
“At first, we were really disappointed. We all want to play, we still want to play, but right now the coach said many times to us, ‘We can control only what we can control,’” Borger added. “So, right now I’m just working on our soccer, we’re working on getting fitter, also remain mentally here in the team.”
Borger started in all 17 games last season while recording five total points including two goals. He was not the only Owl disappointed with the conference’s decision.
“I think as a team we were all really angry or upset at the circumstances,” said junior midfielder Andres Charles. “But, it’s something that we can’t change but throughout this time and coming towards preseason. I think everyone really put the work in over the summer.”
Charles started 10 games last season and recorded four shots on goal.
The NCAA is expected to clarify what the spring will look like, which should give the team some clarity as to how they can move forward, Rowland said.
In the meantime, the Owls are looking to build on the work they did over the summer and during last season, Rowland added.
Temple finished with a total record of 8-8-2 and a 3-2-2 record in AAC play last season. They lost in the second round of The American Athletic Conference Tournament to Central Florida.
“To a person on the team, I think they see how exciting this group can be, and how much work we still need to do,” Rowland said. “But also how exciting the end product might be if we commit to pushing and getting better.”
An important factor of improving will be keeping a positive attitude despite the postponement of the season, Rowland added.
“We’re going to focus on the spirit of the team, we’re going to teach the new players what is our culture, our values, what we stand for,” Borger said. “Also we’re going to try to work on our tactics as a team with the coach to be prepared to compete in the spring and to be ready to face the biggest teams in the conference.”
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