His statistics may not be the sexiest among members of the Penn men's soccer team. In fact, in any given season, senior midfielder Henry Chen would probably be able to count on one hand the number of shots he takes on goal.<P> The Mount Laurel, N.J., native's contributions to his squad do not often show up in the boxscore when a match is completed. <P> But when the Quakers decided to elect a team captain, they had no trouble choosing upon whom they'd bestow that unique honor.<P> Chen will lead the 2000 Penn team into battle this year as the unanimously elected and officially designated leader of the Quakers.<P> To Penn mens' soccer coach Rudy Fuller, the choice of Chen was a no-brainer.<P> "When you have a guy that's a quality person and player like Henry, over time, you can't help but see that, and that's what has happened with the guys on the team," Fuller said. "It's not as if Henry has scored 20 goals or saved 20 penalty kicks. It's just that he has consistently performed at a high level, and he's a guy that his coaching staff and teammates know they can count on."<P> Chen's fellow senior and close friend Mike McElwain agreed.<P> "Henry's just by far the best leader," said McElwain, who led the Quakers in goals, assists and points last year. "He's really confident on the field and he's confident off the field, the type of guy you can approach at any time. [He's] always there and is easy to talk to. That's why he's the captain."<P> While the modest Chen was happy that his teammates chose to acknowledge his leadership, he downplays his own importance on the squad.<P> "I feel honored," Chen said. "It was kind of hard to believe that I was the only one [who was considered].<P> "I'm not really even doing that much. All the guys are so easy to talk to, and they all know what to do. I think it's just a title. That's it. You really don't even need a captain on this team."<P> That's not to say that he won't be one of the Quakers' anchors. Chen will bring his considerable talent to the center midfield position. Last season, he centered the backfield and scored two goals -- the first two of his collegiate career.<P> Chen, who played midfield in his freshman season, is not worried about the transition.<P> "It's not that big of a change, I don't think," he said. "I always felt comfortable in that spot.<P> Fuller is also confident about the switch, as he feels that midfield is probably Chen's natural position.<P> "Last year, he really did well in the center of the back line for us and led our team from the back line," Fuller said. "[He] really was a kind of mentor to a lot of the young guys playing in front of him in the midfield.<P> "We had a lot of freshman starters last year, whereas this year a number of those freshmen are now sophomores and a lot of them play in the back, so we're able to put Henry back in his natural spot, which I think is in the midfield."<P> Now, at midfield and with offense on his mind, Chen is crystal clear about his team and personal goals for this, his final season with the Quakers.<P> "I'd like to score a few goals in there to help the team," Chen said. "I think our team goal is definitely to win the Ivy League championship and get an automatic NCAA berth, and hopefully get some Ivy wins for coach Fuller. He's been here for two years, and he has yet to have one. Mike [McElwain] and I only have one, in our first Ivy game, and we're kind of eager to get a couple more."<P> Chen also said that he would like to make the All-Ivy team. If he were to succeed, he would be the first Quaker to do so since Mike Constantino earned the second of his two first-team All-Ivy selections in 1988.<P> McElwain, for one, seems convinced his teammate can accomplish his goal.<P> "I think Chen's a tough kid. He's always looking for an open goal, looking to start throwing people around, start breaking people in the middle of the field," he said, smiling. "He's a good guy."Comments powered by Disqus
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