By Dan Marro
The expectations never change for the Sacred Heart University men’s soccer team according to head coach, Joe Barroso who is embarking on his twelfth season at the helm.
“The expectations are always to make the playoffs,” said Barroso. “You are trying to win every game, but also trying to get the team ready for the conference games because at the end of the day, that’s all that is going to matter other than the record.”
However, Barroso understands and embraces that with a team made up of mostly underclassmen, it is going to take some time to reach the ultimate goal of making the playoffs.
“We know it’s going to take some time because we are so young and the NEC is top notch. There have been teams that have made it to the sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament so we compete with the best,” said Barroso.
For fifth year senior defenseman Callum Smith, the time is now to make the playoffs.
“I think we need to make conference playoffs, I haven’t made any playoffs since I have been here so I’m really hungry to go out and compete against the best teams in the conference,” said Smith.
Smith also sees just how much potential the newcomers of the squad can bring to the table.
“I think we have a very promising team with loads of talent and I’d have to compare this team to the team from my freshman year which was the best team in my opinion we’ve had during my five years here,” said Smith.
Smith echos his coach who spoke highly of his youngsters.
“I would say 90 percent of the incoming players that came this year will be a part of this team, half of them already start,” said Barroso.
“The other ones have the potential of starting so I would say this is easily my best recruiting class,” said Smith.
For a young team, veteran leadership is always necessary in order to get the most out of the newcomers and it is a major key for the team this year.
“That’s one of the reasons why I love Sacred Heart,” said Barroso. “We recruit those types of student athletes that not only help on the field but also off the field and it becomes one great big family.”
“As an older guy it is important to make sure they feel appreciated and an important part of the team because they are just that,” said Smith.
Although the team is 1-4 through the first five games there is plenty to look forward to, according to Smith.
“There’s always something going on during our games, we fight until the very end and we have been scoring a lot more goals this season. It’s extremely entertaining to watch,” said Smith.