Although early in the season, the men’s soccer team has already shown improvement from last year. In the 2020 season, The Maple Leaf Men’s Soccer team won zero games, posting a 0-5-3 record.As the team prepares for conference play, they have improved to 4-3-3, already winning more games than they did in their COVID-19 season.

Senior Tristan Smucker explained how the team is “hungry” to prove themselves in the crossroads league and how being an underdog is something that the team looks to embrace.

 “The guys and I are all super excited for conference,” said Smucker, “We have the feeling that we need to prove something…Being underdogs in almost every game is a good advantage for us, because we have nothing to lose, “

Smucker pointed out how much harder the conference competition was than the pre-conference. Instead of being nervous, though, the team chooses to be excited.

Junior Luiz Matteus Pontes also explained the frustration with not being able to make a conference appearance in the recent past.“We are happy that the season has started, but we are training hard to have a great season,” said Pontes. “We have wanted to make a conference for a few years…so every game, we must play our best match with no hesitation.”

Going forward, the Maple Leafs have one goal in mind, which is to make the conference tournament. With 2017 being the last time Goshen has made an appearance in the conference tournament, it is clear that the hunger to get back is real.

Smucker attributed the changes between this year and last year to the coaching staff, saying, “Coach seems to have a better grasp on the team this year, and he was actually able to bring in his own recruits. We are able to follow his directions, and his tactics are working very well because we can understand them.”

For Tristan Smucker, this will be his last shot at making this tournament because he is a senior; however, he has taken this ultimatum with a grain of salt. “I try to just take it one game at a time. I’m trying my best to make this year special by helping the team in any way I can to help us make the tournament.”

Looking forward to conference play, the Maple Leafs will travel to the University of Saint Francis on Saturday, October 2nd, and a week later travel to Bethel University on Oct.9th before they host Grace College the following Wednesday, Oct.13.