Soccer Coaches Be Like
As the men’s soccer team prepares for the upcoming Homecoming game, Assistant Coach Tim Ebersole reflected with us on how the Fall 2015 semester is going. Due to Scott Fogarty’s departure as head coach, current coach Luke Gibson (who started the position last year) has carefully and actively recruited new players for this 2015 season. According to Ebersole, “Effective recruiting is an essential part of creating a competitive D3 soccer team.” The freshmen have already played a critical role in the soccer team’s success this year, with several of them making incredible contributions.
However, due to the volume of new students, many athlete’s hopes for playing this season were dashed, as the coaching staff had to go through the difficult process of making cuts. Ebersole explained that “No team likes to have to make cuts, but with a limited coaching staff it’s difficult to keep everyone and still be able to provide the feedback necessary to every player.” The cuts were not made for lack of skill, because each athlete worked very hard during preseason. It was very difficult for the coaching staff to have to let them go, but overall they feel it was the best choice for the team. With the soccer team down to around thirty players, this gives a reasonable amount for the coaches to be able to work with and give feedback to each player as needed for their personal growth and for the success of the team.
The coaching staff hopes to accomplish many areas of growth with the team, but especially the development of their goalies, which Ebersole states is “Essential to our success.” There are two promising freshmen goalkeepers that could be a strong defense as they continue to grow and develop their skills with the coaches and fellow players. The staff also plans to have a “Solid defensive team that can effectively counter-attack” (T. Ebersole). This could be done by linking the center of their defense, the two 4 year starter captains Ben Cardillo and Andrew Gordon, with 4 year starter captain midfielder Craig Kikendall. Ebersole believes that this will help to really catch their opponents off-guard in the counter-attack.
While team development is beneficial, the team’s overall goal is to be the first MSOC to make the CSAC playoffs. The team captains strongly motivate the players through the offseason and into the current games as the athletes rally together for this common goal. The team captains, now seniors, are wonderful leaders and really help the new freshmen understand why the team does what they do. Ebersole claims that “It would be great for this group of seniors to become the first Cairn soccer team to make playoffs and potentially win a playoff game.” However, because they are seniors, the coaching staff is actively recruiting for the upcoming 2016 season. Ebersole wants to “Target great players that are mission fit for Cairn,” so those interested in playing for the men’s Soccer team for the 2016 season are contacting Luke Gibson, Tim Ebersole, or Woody Hartman.
With Homecoming just over the horizon, the soccer team is gearing up for their showdown against Summit University, a difficult NCCAA rival for the Highlanders. Not only has Summit University been a good rival for the Highlanders in the past, but this year the Summit team is coached by the former Cairn Assistant Coach Kyle Keltner, pitting past and present Cairn coaches against each other. Aside from Homecoming, the team is also looking forward to their CSAC conference games. Ebersole reported that “Last year most of our CSAC conference games were very close. We plan on turning those close losses into wins this year.”