Men’s Club Soccer proves itself capable at first ever tournament


Image: Photo provided by Juan Munoz

Men’s Club Soccer Team.

Kyle Mullins, Sports Editor

The Mercer men’s soccer club team has only been around for as long as this year’s senior class, but the amount of growth they’ve seen in the past year puts them as possible contenders with schools like the University of Georgia.

The executive board of the team, President Juan Munoz, Vice President Myles Harris and Treasurer Paul Miletto, are the fortuitous captains responsible for this new redesign the team is undertaking.

Why “fortuitous”? That’s because their appointments to these roles were not by any planning.

The three players were sitting in class when they heard from a friend the women’s club team had already begun practice while the men’s team had not even voted yet on who their new captains were going to be since their old president had to abdicate his position to focus on his senior year.

Their old captain had tried getting people to apply to be part of the leadership so a vote could be placed, but no one had shown any interest for weeks.

“Everyone loves the team, granted,” Harris said. “But everyone just kind of wants to play.”

It was only after hearing that the Women’s team had started practicing that the three of them decided to take action.

“We put in the GroupMe, ‘We’re the president, vice president and secretary now’,” Harris said.

Nobody dissented, so the three of them inherited their leadership positions and have set on making the most of it, even taking the team to its first ever tournament.

“We’ve done round robins before. At Kennesaw last year we set up a round robin, but that’s like a one day thing,” the team’s president, Munoz said.

The team travelled to Auburn to play from Sept. 23 to Sept. 24. To their own surprise and the surprise of team’s they faced that weekend, they showed they could compete against the larger schools present.

“We had amazing results considering the size of our school versus the size of the schools we played,” Munoz said. “We played Alabama, and we tied them 1-1.”

In fact, the team only lost one game over the weekend.

Munoz said that for the first time, he is excited about the prospect of the team being able to play in the national tournament.

“Depending on how the season goes there’s this national tournament which is through NIRSA. They host a tournament for all the schools that finished first and second in their league,” he said.

If the season continues as it started, “like a bullet” as Munoz likes to describe it, then it’s not far fetched to believe there is a fair chance they can make it to the national tournament. They even managed to beat the Kennesaw team 5-1, who just in the past year had made similarly easy work of the Mercer team.

As far as the tournament goes, “It was the most amazing experience we’ve had with the club team as far as administrative roles for us,” Munoz said.

Miletto said he has found stepping into his role as treasurer to be challenging, but also rewarding. He said the team has to go through their financial director, Todd Thomas, to approve their purchases for any trips or equipment.

They don’t get a credit card or cash so they can’t spend their money independently, but Miletto said Thomas has made the experience much less stressful.

All three agreed that a huge part of the team’s success is from the influx of freshmen who came in dedicated to working hard and wanting to win.

“In past years, we haven’t had a huge interest in club soccer. We wouldn’t get the numbers we wanted at tryouts,” Harris said.

“All the freshmen have been a great addition, but two [that] stand out have been Heath and Hunter Henry. They’ve got the telepathic communication between them and they set up so many plays for us,” Munoz said.

Miletto said the team’s overall dynamic is great and that they do a good job of representing Mercer.

“We don’t bicker at each other. There’s never a time we’re yelling at each other. It’s always fun,” Miletto said.

In the end, for them and everyone who is involved with the team, the main goal is to have fun—though all three agreed that it’s much more fun to win.