A Breath of Fresh Air

A Breath of Fresh Air

A Breath of Fresh Air

Sebastian Lena

Coming off a 4-12-0 (0-7-0) campaign, the UMass Boston men’s soccer team didn’t have too many reasons to have high expectations this season.

However, only 9 games in and the Beacons have already matched their win total from last year. They currently stand at 4-4-1 (1-1-0).

A big contributing factor is the Beacons’ improvement in goal production.

Last season, the Beacons were only able to net 25 goals in their 16 total matches. This season, the Beacons already have 24 goals through 9 games.

Junior captain Alex Cavallero seems to have an explanation.

“The number one factor has been our improvement in pure finishing as a team,” he said. “We’ve brought in new players that have transformed us into a strong attacking team. Our ability as a team to move forward is producing our opportunities. Our capitalization of those opportunities is what is making the difference.”

Head coach Myles Berry also brings up the addition of new players.

“I believe the new players on this year’s team are more skilled than last year’s squad,” he said. “Some of them are proven finishers. We didn’t have that last season.”

The stats seem to agree with Berry.

Of the 12 players who’ve scored points for the Beacons this season, 10 are making their first stint with the team. Of those 10, 9 of them are either freshman or sophomores.

“When your underclassmen are performing as strong as ours, it brings a lot of depth to the team,” Cavallero said. “But we also brought in a lot of talented players who are stepping on the pitch with a lot of ambition. Talent and ambition can do a lot for the team.”

Berry looks further ahead.

“Seeing the young players contributing early makes me feel good about the future of the program,” he said. “We’ll probably have a few bumps on the road as the season goes on but any experience they gain now will only make us better later.”

Among those few bumps in the road are 3 one-goal losses.

After playing from behind in much of their games last season, the Beacons have finally found a way to hang around in games longer this season. Their focus is now turned onto turning these one–goal deficits into draws, or most preferably wins.

“As a team we have to reach down,” Berry explained. “We need to believe in ourselves and find a way to win a few games when we are behind or being pressured. Successful teams expect to win because they have been there in the past. Hopefully, with experience, we can start to develop the mental toughness necessary for winning these games.”

Berry believes Cavallero is just the guy to help the Beacons achieve that. As a result, he named his midfielder the sole captain of the team.

“Alex has been a very successful player entering his third season,” he said. “He’s been unselfish in his willingness to play different positions to meet the needs of the team. He sets an excellent example for the program both in the classroom as well as on the playing field.”

Cavallero has already noticed his responsibilities start to increase.

“I need to be the most vocal on the field in terms of organization and leadership, he explained. “But more importantly, I need to lead by example. My level of play, endurance, decisions, and inspiration all need to carry over to my teammates in a positive way.”

The Beacons hope it can also carry them towards a Beacon first.

“I truly believe that the team this year can win the conference title,” Carvallero said. “We have a lot of talent, youth, depth and ability. Our chemistry as a team has dramatically improved since the start of the season. Those factors can carry a team like ours to the title.”

That notion might be laughed off from the rest of the LEC.

But then again, the rest of the world probably did the same thing to the US national team in the Confederations Cup this summer.

We all saw how that turned out.

Words to the wise: don’t take these Beacons lightly.