As of Sept. 20, the Lancers hold a record of 2-4-1. However, they are not intimidated by living up to their success last season and look forward to returning to the field.
“It’s not intimidating coming back after a winning season,” said Leo Mendez, senior finance major, striker and wing for the CBU men’s soccer team. “I am very excited for this season and the group that we have. We do have pressure on our back after last season but we mainly see it as motivation and standard for CBU men’s soccer to do better every season.”
Most players are excited to return to the field but for Nolan Premack, senior biomedical science major and goalkeeper, it is also a return to his passion.
“I am most excited to be back on campus and playing games at CBU Soccer Stadium. Also, I am returning from injury, so getting back onto the field and playing the game that I love is always a great feeling,” Premack said.
The Lancers have exciting games coming up, including the Crosstown Showdown at UC Riverside that will conclude the non-conference schedule. Conference play kicks off on Sunday, October 1, against GCU at the CBU soccer stadium.
Last year, CBU men’s soccer had a dynamite season that culminated in victory at the WAC Championship.
“Winning the WAC was exciting as it is but being able to share that experience with our fans and the CBU population was very special,” Premack said.
Building that momentum takes time, especially early in the season when most teams try to find their rhythm.
“Personally, I think our moments of greatness were overcoming adversity early in the season and coming together as a unit and turning our season into a winning season,” Mendez said.
Fans would have witnessed all the ‘moments of greatness’ in between as the soccer team began building its momentum. The men’s soccer team did something truly amazing that season, setting a precedent in their Division I era with their success this past season. With such an inspiring story behind them, they can move forward confidently.
Thomas Beecham, senior biomedical engineering major and center-back on the team, shared, “I think the highlights for me were winning the WAC championship and being the first team in the school to play in the NCAA tournament. Although we lost to UCLA, the support throughout these games and after the season from everyone was unreal and really special.”
The key to the men’s soccer team’s success is their commitment to excellence and personal responsibility. As student-athletes, they know their success depends on more than just wins.
Premack described greatness as “achieving at a very high level” and pursues that ideal in all areas of his life.
“I try and maintain greatness throughout my life by consistently pushing myself to be the best I can be. Athletically, that looks like extra work on the field, extra reps, extra film sessions and studying film. Academically, that looks like sometimes sacrificing my social life to ensure I am prepared to succeed in the classroom and I am setting myself up for success. In my opinion, greatness is achieved by being in a relentless pursuit of excellence in whatever aspect of life you are focused on,” Premack said.
Beecham shares that his responsibility as captain influences his pursuit of greatness.
“To me, greatness is being able to achieve something special and the ability to inspire and improve others along the way. I always try to progress daily towards short-term and long-term goals on and off the field, and I try to surround myself with people who help push me in the right direction to achieve this. Being a senior and captain of the team, there is more responsibility for me to get the most out of all my teammates and I think this also helps hold me accountable to lead by example and set the right standard to help the younger guys grow in the same way.”
Achieving greatness is not easy and requires dedication and hard work.
“Greatness does not come overnight,” Mendez said. “There’s a lot of things that you must sacrifice to achieve your goals.”
While back-to-back titles will not be easy to achieve, the team is capable. The Lancers will surely deliver this year on the reputation they’ve built.