Temple men’s soccer captain Matt Kaufman can remember his first soccer game with the team.
“I was real nervous when I first stepped foot on the field, but it felt like it was my place, like it was where I was supposed to be,” Kaufman said. “The nervousness and excitement still remain, always before a game. More excitement than nervousness.”
This year’s team has signaled change in pace and attitude. The team also has the confidence to win – it is just a matter of executing and meshing the old with the new.
Temple has a 2-9-1 record going into Friday’s game at Rhode Island. Temple lost 1-0 to George Washington and 2-0 to Richmond last weekend.
This year’s biggest change is in the age of the Owls. They have added 10 new players to the team; eight of them are freshmen, including the team’s two leading scorer’s.
One of the biggest draws to this team is in its coaching staff, which includes Dave MacWilliams, a former pro-soccer player and a man who is used to success.
Before he came to Temple, MacWilliams was the head coach of the Baltimore Spirit from 1993 to 1995, and the Philadelphia Kixx from 1995 to 1998. He earned All-star coaching honors on both teams.
MacWilliams also played on the Baltimore Blast. He was the best offensive player, a leading scorer, an All-star pick, and was placed on the All-decade team.
With his experience comes a desire to point Temple in a winning direction.
Along with MacWilliams’ experience comes a core of veteran players that balance out the team and an assistant coach who has seen his share of success.
Assistant Coach Brian Kammersgaad is in his second season with the men’s team. He brings with him more than 15 years of experience. The Denmark native coached the Ukrainian Flames, the Upper Bucks Bay Select U-10 teams, as well as four Pennsylvania state championship teams.
The veteran players returning for the Owl’s include Wendell Beres, John Burns, Angelo Di Carlo, Jeff Fisher, Anthony Hood, Justin Kain, Andrew McMenamin, Matt Moran, Jim Raisch, Con Murphy, Justin Sames, Michael Zimmerman, and Kaufman.
Kaufman believes that this year’s team “has good chemistry.”
“We still have things to work on, such as gelling together,” he said. “We have a bunch of new freshmen who have contributed well, but I feel we’re not at the right togetherness.”
Temple’s talented players have yet to really show their ability on the defensive end; they have lost their last four out five games.
“I’m disappointed in the season right now,” MacWilliams said. “We could have easily won three of the games we lost. I think we are a very young team and we’re struggling confidence wise.
“Defensively we’ve given up way too many goals. We need to work a lot harder on the defense part of the game, not just with the defenders but the entire team. When you give up two or three goals a game it’s going to be hard to win those games, especially with a young team,” MacWilliams said.
Temple has shown promise in their youth. Two of their freshmen, Vincent Mountney and Nate Webb, have rose to the challenge of becoming their two leading scorer’s; Mountney with four goals and Webb with three goals.
“Both have succeeded my leading scorer from last year. I would like to see them a little bit more consistent with their scoring,” MacWilliams said.
Temple has six regular season games remaining, with the last four games being played at Temple Stadium. The games they have left to play will determine the fate of their season.