Wilson reflects on path to Bona soccer program

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Dustyn Green

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — Dreams.

Every kid has them. They will change, cause stress and lead them down a life-changing path.

In the world of sports, one of the most common dreams is to play collegiately on an NCAA Division I team. For most, this is the culmination of four years of hard work on and off your high school team.

However, that was not the case for St. Bonaventure men’s soccer goalkeeper Trevor Wilson.

“I only played one year of high school soccer,” Wilson said.

Before taking off for a development program with the Portland Timbers, which did not allow him to play high school contests, Wilson earned first-team all-league as a sophomore in high school.

His experience continued by playing on an Olympic development team, where he represented the state of Oregon.

“I played on a regional team that consisted of players from 13 states on the West Coast,” Wilson said. “The idea of it is to get to train in as professional of an environment as you can every day.”

Wilson said spots on the team are very limited, which means there are no guarantees. Players develop at a higher and faster rates due to the environment.

It goes beyond the physical training and stretches into the mental aspects of competitiveness and edge. Ultimately, these aspects are what led the senior marketing major to four years of collegiate soccer.

Wilson spent his first two campaigns at DePaul before transferring to SBU for his junior season in 2019.

Wilson wasted no time impressing the Bona faithful, or the SBU coaching staff, in his first season at SBU. He started 10 contests for the Bonnies, including a game at Dayton, in which he had a career-high of eight saves.

Wilson averaged 2.31 goals allowed a year ago, and had saved 69% of the shots that he faced.

Like most college athletes across the nation, Wilson was affected by the COVID-19 cancelation of the 2020 fall sports season, and had to grapple with the decision of how he wanted to pursue his future.

As of now, he plans to return to SBU for a fifth year.

SOCCER FEATURE: Currey enters senior season leading by example

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Anthony Goss

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — In the uncertain times of a global pandemic, the most important things to have on any athletic team are leadership and experience.  

As the St. Bonaventure men’s soccer team prepares for an unusual season, it turns to older players such as Shea Currey to set the tone for the program going forward. 

“He has a big part to play, on the field and off the field,” said Kwame Oduro, head coach of men’s soccer at SBU. “He has been an excellent role model for our young guys and the new guys coming in.” 

Oduro spoke very highly of the senior midfielder, who has developed his own methods of leadership on the team.  

“He’s kind of a guy who does it quietly, on the sideline or in the locker room individually,” Oduro said. 

Currey was named by the team as a captain for the season, which is scheduled to start during the spring semester. This is his fourth and final season as a Bonnie. 

Currey’s journey to St. Bonaventure has not been an ordinary one. He and his family moved from Liverpool, England to Orlando, Florida, where he attended Montverde High School. 

Leaving Orlando to come to SBU presented some challenges, but he wasn’t alone.  

“From the beginning I felt like I always I had friends, family, people I could rely on,” Currey said. 

The years at Bona’s have been very special for Currey. He has been on the soccer team for the past three years, and now in his last year, he is looking to give back.  

“Now as a senior, I am just trying to give back what I’ve been taught from the seniors, and just keep traditions going, and keeping that family feel,” he said. 

COVID-19 has posed many problems for student-athletes and coaches in all sports. Despite this, Currey looked toward the positives of the current situation and was thankful to be back out on the field.  

“We’ve got to make the most out of our time on the field and try and get better for when the games do come back,” he said.  

Improvement has been something Currey has focused on, and Oduro has seen the developments in his game. 

Oduro wanted the team to stay motivated in a strange offseason. Specifically, for Currey, he wanted him to clean up his first touch on the ball. He raved about the strides Currey has made in the offseason.  

“It’s been miles apart in [his] technique and work rate, and just the cleanliness of [his] touches and [his] passes,” Oduro said. 

Currey acknowledged the improvements he has made, but continued to keep a selfless approach to the season and staying ready for when the time comes. As a captain, he believes he will be prepared and knows his job in making sure his team is ready as well.  

Currey also described his experience with fellow senior and teammate Francesco Caorsi.

Caorsi and Currey each play midfield, and compete against each other often in practice.  

“For me, I just like going up against him because he is really good,” Currey said. “He definitely helps bring out the best in me for sure.” 

Whichever way the season turns out, Currey will be ready to lead by example and take the improvements he made in the offseason and translate them to game action on the field.  

“I’m just going to keep working hard, keep doing what I’m doing, and just try to perform my best when the time comes,” he said. 

Bona men’s soccer adjusts, trains during unusual fall

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jonny Walker

ST. BONVENTURE, NY — This past week, the St. Bonaventure men’s soccer team was cleared to enter phase three of the university’s COVID-19 return to play action plan. 

The plan allows the team to resume contact drills, which were explicitly banned in phase two, but restricts them to training within smaller groups rather than intermingling with the whole team. 

Players, who are still expected to wear face coverings when not actively participating in a workout, were split up into their respective groups based on multiple factors, the most important of which being their proximity to one another on a normal field of play. 

For instance, a left-center back and a left back would be placed in the same group based upon them playing positions that line up adjacent to one another on the field, while also often working together.  

The Atlantic-10—the conference to which all of St. Bonaventure’s NCAA Division I sports programs belong—officially announced its decision to indefinitely postpone all conference-sponsored games and championships way back in July. However, men’s soccer has sought to maintain some semblance of normalcy throughout this fall. 

Despite the lack of games to prepare for, the team has held to a relatively rigorous practice schedule amidst the pandemic, holding training sessions five days a week.  

According to head coach Kwame Oduro, this idea of training for a game that is an indefinite amount of time away works both for and against his squad. 

One of the main points of any practice from a coach’s perspective, Oduro said, is to ,”Implement your philosophies and your principles.” 

The lack of competition for the foreseeable future enables the sixth-year head coach to “Take (my) time getting those principles and ideas to our players.” 

On the other hand, Oduro believes that there is no true way to evaluate where his players are currently at in that process without the test of real, game-time action against an actual opponent. 

“The things that we do in training, we’re not getting to use them in a game,” Oduro said. “Playing against your teammates is one thing, but it’s another thing when you have to play against different competition, which, sometimes, you know very little about. It forces you to actually develop and grow faster.” 

Optimism surrounding the possibility of games being played this fall may be at an all-time low, as, when asked, Oduro said that he does not believe his team will be able to play until at least 2021.

“That’s the bottom line,” he said.

He did, however, point to competition resuming in the spring being much more probable. 

A vaccine, alongside learning from the example of other sports that would have already returned to play by that point, such as football and basketball, has Oduro excited about the possibility of spring soccer.  

Oduro also said that he does not take the COVID-19-related restrictions being imposed upon his team to be over-bearing or unnecessary, and that he and his staff are very much appreciative of the efforts to keep him, his players, and the community safe. 

“Let them know that we thank them for giving us the chance to be able to train and play and do the things that we love the most,” he said.    

Sports at SBU are back… kind of

photo: Nic Gelyon/The Intrepid

By Nic Gelyon

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — It’s unlikely that there will be a fall sports season at St. Bonaventure, at least in the traditional sense.

But that hasn’t deterred student-athletes from working diligently over the last six months, preparing as if there will be.  

University athletics have come a long, long way since March. When St. Bonaventure sent students home last semester due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the athletic department faced the same cloud of uncertainty that has shrouded society for the better part of the last six months.  

The university did not, however, use this uncertainty as a mask for dormancy, or to wait for all the answers to appear out of nowhere.

Coaches and administrators decided, wisely, to get a head start. They immediately began to gather as much information about COVID-19 as possible. 

 “Before school shut down, me and my assistant coach sat down and started doing more research on COVID,” said Kwame Oduro, head men’s soccer coach at SBU.

Oduro was referring to the time in between when his team returned from their winter trip to England and when school went remote. 

“This is a pandemic, man, this is no joke,” he said. “There’s no way we can keep coming to school. That’s when it hit me.” 

The information gathered was relayed quickly to student-athletes to keep them updated, especially as new layers were added weekly to the university’s COVID-19 return to action plan.

“When [Coach Oduro] would get any news from the A-10 or the NCAA, he would just tell us immediately, like schedule a meeting or a Zoom call,” said Cuneyt Vardar, a  junior midfielder on the men’s soccer team. “It would be pretty immediate.” 

In addition to effective communication, realism became a priority for the St. Bonaventure athletic department. 

The department’s actions would display practicality, not perfection- a mindset that is a necessity in 2020. 

“We could have the best laid plans,” St. Bonaventure athletic director Tim Kenney said in a video statement provided to The Intrepid. “But we can’t be naive to think it’s not going to sneak onto campus.” 

The university’s protocol was split into three phases, according to Kenney. 

Phases one and two included activities such as off-campus quarantines, on-campus quarantines, coronavirus education and the gradual progression of strength and conditioning work. 

It might as well have been known as St. Bonaventure’s Coronavirus training camp. 

But training camp is over now. The third phase is pregame. 

In a perfect world, game time for fall sports would be right around the corner, and phase three would involve the actual playing of games. 

For now, though, it is simply an exercise in keeping the athletes fit, gradually increasing intensity in practices. That, of course, is also dependent on the impact that COVID-19 is having on the university. 

Same-sport athletes have been deliberately placed in dorms with each other for this reason. In theory, if athletes surround each other with other athletes, they will, for the most part, stay within similar environments.

Many student-athletes know they will face strange challenges in this new world. Vardar told me that athletes probably will not be allowed to use locker rooms – at least not all at once – or to share towels. 

This does fall in line with the current coronavirus guidelines in the school’s return to action plan. Oduro told me that if fall sports do get off the ground, it will probably only be among teams similar regions, or at the very least teams that are not in restricted states. 

Kenney wants kids to step up in a time of need and take this opportunity to become great leaders. 

“It’s going to take everybody on this campus – not just athletics – in order for us to make this semester a success,” he said. “We can’t let up, and so our kids will have to keep that leadership role and lead by example.” 

Oduro wants the campus community, and especially his athletes, to take this opportunity to reacquaint themselves with SBU and remember how special an experience it is to be on its campus. 

“For all that college experience to still be around, we need to do our part,” Oduro said. “There are going to be some kids that feel like COVID-19 is not going to affect them because they’re young… we have to be a little selfless.” 

Vardar wants to someday become a physical therapist, and the best soccer player he can be. He is going to take the life-changing hand he has been dealt this year and, with hope, make the best of it. 

“I love the anatomy of the body, and I just love to work with people,” Vardar said. “I want to finish my soccer career here at St. Bonaventure.”

Vardar wants to play professional soccer, either in the United States or possibly in Turkey. He has played in Turkey previously, and his uncle has connections to the country. 

“Because of the Coronavirus, (the NCAA) gave us an extra year of eligibility, so for my graduate school at Daeman College,” Vardar said. “I want to play at year of Division II soccer (at Daeman), and that would finish up my college soccer eligibility.”

Fall sports at SBU will continue to practice using safety protocols and COVID-19 testing to ensure the safety of student-athletes and coaches.

And, spoiler alert: According to the NCAA, men’s and women’s basketball can return on Nov. 25.

Bona men fall short to Hartford

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Hayden Robinson

The St. Bonaventure men’s soccer team fell short in a 1-0 loss to the Hartford Hawks on Sunday. his loss brings the Bonnies season record to 1-3. 

Hartford was the first to tally one on the scoreboard, as it scored its first goal in the 11th minute of the first half.  

The Bonnies had many opportunities to score throughout the first half, but none resulted in a goal.  

Junior midfielder Fredrik Hansen had a very good look in the 36thminute, but it was blocked on its way to the net.  

Hansen led the team with two shots in the game. Despite their lack of scoring, the Bonnies outshot the Hawks 7-3 in the first half.  

The second half would result in more of the same for the Bonnies. 

The Hawks would not let the Bonnies score, however, allowing just two shots throughout the second half. There were also some opportunities for Hartford to score, but the Bonnies defense made sure none of them would make it past the goalkeeper.  

The Bonnies accumulated nine shots on the day, outshooting the Hawks, who had six shots. 

The Bonnies have scored just two goals in their first four games of the season. Head coach Kwame Oduro talked about their inefficiency scoring after the game.  

“We have to just be a little more composed in front of goal,” he said. “We’ve got to keep being positive and hopefully the ball will start going into the net for us.” 

The Bonnies will be hosting Little Three rival Canisius on Sept. 17.  

In their preparation for their Tuesday game, coach Oduro said, “What we can do on Monday is just make sure we get the lactic acid out from our boys and then kind of walk through and get ready for Canisius which is another tough game.” 

The Bonnies will look to add a win to their record under the lights, as the game’s start time is scheduled for 7 p.m. 

Men’s soccer: Bonnies down Dayton in overtime thriller

(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The last sequence of St. Bonaventure’s 1-0 overtime victory over Dayton on Senior Night had just about everything: controversy and chaos, agony and exultation, all in an 18-yard box.

Was Dayton’s deflection of sophomore midfielder Kosi Nwafornso’s initial shot a handball that would have resulted in a penalty kick? Did the game-winning goal by Nwaforno’s classmate, Isaiah Wilson, actually go in?

Bona coach Kwame Oduro certainly thought the answer to both questions was yes.

“We’re glad that a bounce went our way, for the first time,” Oduro said with a laugh.

With a little over three minutes in OT, Nwafornso unleashed the shot that referee Dino Sorbara determined had not been stopped with a Flyer hand. The ball found its way to junior mid Kieran Toland, whose shot was also blocked. Dayton was not able to clear the ball on either occasion, setting Wilson up for another opportunity.

The third time was the charm, as Wilson’s shot rattled off the crossbar and found its way over the line for just long enough before caroming back out.

Sorbara and his assistants conferred to make sure they had gotten the call correct, then confirmed it with a “good goal” signal.

A frenzy ensued as the players ran around the field mobbing each other and Dayton coach Dennis Currier emphatically argued the call, to no avail. Senior defender Bonaventure Akinlosotu was one of the most fired up fourth-year guys, dancing around and high-fiving everyone watching from the fence. The 6-foot-3 Akinlosotu missed a large portion of time to injury over his career, but was a major factor in the victory, providing an immediate boost the instant he entered the contest.

Somewhere in the scrum, sophomore goalkeeper Luke Iacobellis was receiving some well-deserved recognition for keeping the brown and white level throughout regulation. The Toronto native made seven saves, all crucial to preserving a tie until overtime.

With 15 minutes remaining in the second half, Dayton freshman forward Bennett Lehner was able to get past the defense in the attacking third and find himself on a breakaway. Iacobellis came out of his net to meet Lehner, and was able to stop the shot with his foot to extinguish the best chance of the game for either side.

Kick save and a beauty. Kick save and a potential season saver.

“He made three or four saves that actually kept us in the game,” Oduro said. “I think he had a complete performance today.”

Last year, the Bonnies lost six one-goal games. This year, they have won three of that variety.

“I think we’re starting to mature as a group, and when you mature and get experience as a group these games go your way sometimes,” Oduro said.

Oduro described the victory as a gift to seniors Akinlosotu, Eddie Keen, Matthew Lane and Noel Orozco for the hard work and dedication they gave to Bonaventure soccer.

“We told them, there’s no gift we can give you that’s going to be worthy of winning the game today and making it into the A-10 playoffs,” he said. “I told our team, if you’re ever tired, think about those seniors and what they mean to this program. We gave them a gift that no one can ever take away from them.”

The second gift, a trip to the A-10 Tournament, is becoming within reach. Bona is now in a four-way tie for the fifth spot with Duquesne, Fordham and VCU and two points ahead of eighth-place UMass. The top eight teams qualify for the tournament. Three conference games remain, the next being a home match against George Washington on Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s not done yet… the A-10’s wide open,” Oduro acknowledged. “Our team, we only care about what we can do.

“People will write you off any day. (The team is) doing the right things, playing the right way, and it’s going to go in your favor sometimes.”

Soccer: Stats and facts entering conference play

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

As September readies to give way to October, non-conference soccer action is about to give way to conference play.

The St. Bonaventure men’s and women’s soccer teams were both handed the lowest of expectations by league coaches in the preseason, as both were picked to finish last in the Atlantic 10.

The Bona men did not dispel the coaches’ lack of confidence in the first month, going 1-7-1 and scoring just five goals. Davidson and Saint Louis are the only other A-10 teams to have only one victory, but those teams played multiple power conference opponents. SBU’s 1-0 win over Niagara showed the team has potential to win close games.

The women aren’t title contenders, but they did score 10 goals in a two-game stretch as part of a 15-goal, three-win non-conference slate. They were shut out in three consecutive games after that scoring barrage, but a 2-1 win in their last contest against Bryant got them back on track for the time being.

Here are some notable stats and facts as the Bonaventure teams enter the A-10 schedule:

Leading scorers: Junior Danielle Vis leads the women in goals with four, while freshman Jacob Dyck and junior Kieran Toland lead the men with two each.

Keepers: A Bona goalie tops each A-10 saves per game leaderboard. Sophomore Luke Iacobellis has averaged 5.83 saves per match, while freshman Lauren Malcolm is averaging 5.44 stops per contest. Malcolm also leads in overall saves with 49.

Improvements: Two returning women’s players have already scored more than last year. Sophomore Marley Jarvis did not score in her freshman season but has three goals in the 2016 campaign, second on the team. Junior Alex Pochop registered the first goal of her career in the win over Niagara on Sept. 4.

Road woes: The teams are a combined 0-9 away from the Marra Athletic Complex this season.

First goal importance: The men have allowed the first goal in six of their seven losses. The women have scored first in all three of their wins.

Coming attractions: The first four teams the men face (St. Joe’s, Duquesne, Davidson and UMass) have a combined record of 11-22-3. The first four teams the women face (George Mason, George Washington, Duquesne and Fordham) have combined to go 21-12-3.

67 percent of international SBU undergraduate students are athletes

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

Before the St. Bonaventure men’s soccer team faced Bucknell, the Bona sports information department found a creative way to tweet out the starting 11:

When you have five countries represented in your lineup, why not throw some flag emojis in there?

The team has 12 players who were born outside of the United States, or 41 percent of its roster. There are five players from Canada, two from England, and one each from Ghana, Nigera, Scotland, Spain and Hong Kong.

According to Tom Missel, SBU’s Director of Media Relations, there are 49 undergraduate international students at SBU and 33 are Division I athletes: 12 male soccer players, six male tennis players, five female tennis players, three male basketball players, three baseball players, three female soccer players and one female swimmer.

There were also 33 international undergrad student-athletes the last time we did a story on this in 2011, but there were 11 fewer total international students; only five were not athletes.

Men’s soccer coach Kwame Oduro, who was born in Accra, Ghana and grew up in Toronto, said the United States was the obvious choice for soccer players who want to go to college.

“Every good soccer player that wants an education wants to come to America,” he said. “There is no country in the world that combines athletics and academics like the U.S. So if you want the experience of playing high level soccer, receiving a degree and possibly playing in the Major League Soccer (MLS), America is the best place to go.”

Men’s soccer junior midfielder Kieran Toland, a Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland native, came to Bonaventure after completing a year of college back home. He wanted to keep playing, but going pro in Scotland is a tough proposition.

“One of my buddies actually came over before me, and he told me it was the best thing he’d ever done,” he said. “So I looked into it, found a company and I went and did the trial with them. Then I told my mom and dad about it after and they thought it was a great idea and loved the thought of it.”

Out of the D-I offers Toland received, Bonaventure stood out thanks to Mel Mahler, Oduro’s predecessor, who made it clear he really wanted him. When Toland started as a freshman, there were only four international players on the team. Now, that number has tripled.

“It’s a great experience and was the best choice,” Toland said. “There are so many athletes now who want to come to America and play for a school like Bonaventure.”