photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu
By Anthony Goss
ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — After a long delay, the St. Bonaventure men’s soccer team returns to the pitch.
Though the team’s season usually starts in the fall, COVID-19 concerns delayed its season until the spring. Nonetheless, the team welcomes the return of its sport.
“When you’re away from the game for a while, I think it really makes you think,” goalkeeper Trevor Wilson said. “It made me realize how important it is to me.”
Because of the ongoing pandemic, the Bonnies have a shortened schedule this season, consisting of only eight games in the regular season.
“I think college soccer, in general, is pretty unorthodox,” Wilson said. “I wouldn’t say its concerning, you just have to adjust.”
Though the team plans to adjust to the strange season upcoming, head coach Kwame Oduro has kept the same mentality throughout the extended offseason. He wants his club to treat this season just as any other.
“Nothing has changed in what we are trying to accomplish,” Oduro said. “We take this season as serious as any season.”
Luckily for Bona, they have several returning pieces with a foundation in place. The additional time before playing games granted the team the opportunity to develop their chemistry on the pitch.
“Last year, most of the guys, including myself, were new and hadn’t played together a lot,” Wilson said. “We’ve come together in terms of knowing our system better, knowing how to play together.”
One of the notable players early, Shea Currey, a senior, scored two goals in SBU’s first two matches. His leadership and playmaking have combined to give Bona a boost to begin the season.
“He’s been one of our best players, not just a good leader,” Oduro said. “He’s always under control, calm on the ball, and it allows us to play through him and keep possession.”
Along with Currey, Coach Oduro noted the development of senior Jaaziel Thompson and junior Cuneyt Vardar.
“[They are] two guys who have stood out so far in our season,” Oduro said.
The Bonnies won all three of their non-conference matches, doing so in dramatic fashion. All three were decided by one goal, and two matches had at least one overtime period.
“I would rather just win, not in the dramatic fashion, I just want to win,” Oduro said. “But to do it the way we are doing it shows that we are mentally tough.”
With much of their season still to go, the Bonnies believe they still have room to grow. Coaches and players have stressed hitting their “peak.”
“I’m very excited to see what we’re capable of, because I think we have a lot of talent,” Wilson said. “I don’t think we have hit our peak yet.”
Oduro also expressed excitement in his team’s search for its peak.
“I don’t think we’ve played a complete game with everyone playing well,” Oduro said. “If that’s the case, and we’re winning, when we hit our peak, we can be better.”
The Bonnies have amassed a 3-2-1 overall record. They lost back-to-back games to Duquesne and Saint Louis to begin Atlantic 10 play before working to a 1-1 draw at Dayton.
Bona will continue to search for its peak, but COVID-19 will continue to be the threat lurking outside the lines. Oduro has acknowledged the significance of the pandemic, but realizes his role in keeping his team focused on the season in front of them.
“Whatever obstacle we encounter, it’s my job to find a way to get through it,” Oduro said. “We can’t use the pandemic as an excuse to be mediocre; we have to rise above it.”