BUENOS AIRES, Argentina —
I’m finally playing college soccer.
Three years after abruptly ending my high school playing days and scraping a living in men’s leagues across the Philadelphia metropolitan area, I’m back to the grind of practice and games 5,000 miles away while studying abroad in Buenos Aires.
The only problem is my team is struggling. In fact, both my teams are struggling.
Penn men’s soccer has been on the wrong side of four one-goal results, including three tough 2-1 defeats in a row at home.
And, with two points in our nine matches (and just five goals) during the spring season, the University of Torcuato di Tella men’s soccer is in danger of being relegated to the ‘B’ division this fall.
For each side, it’s been a rough couple of weeks.
I was really looking forward to this Penn soccer season. I know coach Rudy Fuller would never admit to it, but losing Thomas Brandt, Jake Levin and Christian Barreiro marked the end of an era.
Nevertheless, last year’s Penn squad had hints of a high-pressure, high-attacking style and young talent all over the field, and I felt this would be a strong season, not a rebuilding year. I still believe it.
In my first few weeks at Di Tella, something I have continually heard in small-sided games, in drills and in scrimmages is to keep taking chances.
After a particularly difficult scrimmage in which I missed about half a dozen shots, my Argentine teammate Santi had a great way of putting it: Hey, idiot, keep shooting, nobody can be that unlucky.
The goals will come. Forwards Stephen Baker and Duke Lacroix are natural scorers and it’s only a matter of time before they, along with the rest of the midfield, become ruthless in the final third. The defense will tighten up with more time and the freshmen will come along with a little bit of seasoning. All Penn needs to do is start pulling through in the one-goal games.
Although this is easier said than done, the Quakers still have five games to get going before the Ivy League slate begins, and let’s not forget Dartmouth — the 2011 Ivy Champions — went 1-3-2 to start its season last year before pulling off a remarkable run.
So while it’s been a tough couple of weeks, keep shooting.
Keep taking chances.
It’s guaranteed to turn around.
SUSHAAN MODI is a junior international studies and business major from Demarest, N.J., and is a former sports editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. He can be reached at Modi@theDP.com