Holy Cross soccer squads prepare for home openers
Jimmy Ward | Friday, September 6, 2019
The Holy Cross men’s soccer team has gotten off to a strong start on this season. The Saints are 2-1 thus far and are still looking to improve as they continue to prepare and train for their home opener matchup against Indiana University East this Saturday.
The Saints have named 2 out of 3 of their captains for this season. Junior goalkeeper Lewis Tomlinson and senior midfielder Nate Mendez, will return as captains after serving in the role last year. Saints head coach Omar Gallo spoke about his decision making process when it came time to choose the captains.
“First and foremost we want individuals who are going to be leaders off the field first, so in the community and in the classroom specifically and both Nate and Lewis do a tremendous job volunteering their time in the community,” Gallo said. “All of our captains present good character. Now from a soccer standpoint you don’t necessarily need a captain that is very skillful. It’s more of just a leadership role but we have captains that are very talented on the field which does go a long way at times as well.
”I think that they earn their respect by being quality soccer players. That being said based on their character, their personality, their academics, their involvement in the community and just how serious they take soccer, you know it is a passion for them and that is one of the reasons we chose them as our captains.”
The Saints associate head coach Duma Magagula spoke about some of the lessons the staff tries to teach their athletes.
“We are just trying to teach them to be human beings first,” Magagula said. “Human beings come in a lot of ways. We just want to teach them that life is so much more than soccer, and we want them to be a person in the community, in the classroom and on their team. I think it helps if the person can be just a human being coming on to the team. It helps with a lot of things.”
Gallo added that he tries to teach his athletes to maintain a positive attitude.
“Understand it is never going to be easy,” he said. “Always stay humble, appreciate what you have and it is important to put others first.”
Magagula also reflected on what lessons his athletes have taught him over the years.
“We have to be patient with those kids,” he said. ”At times we kind of forget how old they are and then we look back like ‘Wow, we were doing the same things when we were these guys‘ age.‘ So we always try to reflect in a lot of ways. You learn a lot by just being patient, just learning how to reflect in a lot ways before making a decision, look at the situation, listen to them and what they have to say.”
The Saints return to South Bend for their home opener this Saturday at Wilbur and Fern Ganger Field at Holy Cross College at 3:30 p.m.
After finishing last season with a 3-12-1 record the Holy Cross women’s soccer program is looking to make a turnaround this season, bringing in 17 new athletes to overhaul the roster. The Saints have already jumped to 2-1 on the new season.
The women’s captains from last season will remain on the squad. However the Saints have found a new leader in Eleanor Boothman. The junior midfield transfer from Lake Tahoe Community College hails from Peterborough, England and will serve as one of the Saints‘ captains alongside junior forward Marijka Lynch-Pastoor, and senior midfielder Jhade Avila.
Gallo gave his reasoning for sticking with Marijka and Jhade as captains.
“With both those girls they have dealt with adversity, our women’s program has dealt with adversity and I think in their personal lives they were able to deal with adversity,” Gallo said. “We knew there were going to be growing pains as we wanted to implement the new culture and philosophy. We needed two girls that could kind of keep the girls believing and whatnot and those were the two girls that we felt were fit for the job.”
Gallo went on to praise Boothman and explained how the junior transfer earned a captaincy right away.
“Eleanor, honestly has been a tremendous captain,” Gallo said. “Just the leadership role her presence on the field, how vocal she is, how much she holds the girls accountable. She is never complacent.”
He explained how a brand new transfer could earn a captain‘s spot.
“We had fitness tests at the beginning of the year and she passed them all,” Gallo said. “She didn’t have to run again, but she chose to run with the girls who didn’t pass, just to encourage them. … That’s something that I think this program has been missing.”
Both the men’s and women’s teams are diverse, representing nearly 10 different countries. Gallo spoke on the importance of this diversity.
“Learning about their culture I think is very important for us,” Gallo said. “Learning the styles of play on the field is a lot different. So we are learning how maybe a player from Brazil might come in and want to play compared to a player that is coming in from England, compared to how a player coming in from Ireland likes to play.
”We have to learn how to adapt to those skill levels and try to put everything together so in a way it is unique but in a way it is difficult. So the patience not only reflects what Coach Duma is saying, but also patience in regards to the style of play we want to create here at Holy Cross College and being able to put all those kinds of different cultures of soccer together.”
The Saints return to South Bend for their home opener against Indiana University East this Saturday at Wilbur and Fern Ganger Field at 1:00 p.m.