Although the Seton Hall Men’s Soccer season is less than a month old, the Pirates already amassed their win total from last year with the help of a group of transfers, two of whom have found their place in the starting lineup. The Hall picked up two wins in the first six games, boasting a 2-3-1 record as of Sept. 14.
There is nowhere to go but up for a team that went 0-16-1 last season, but for the Pirates, that is in the past. They are focused on this season, especially with Big East play coming so soon. While returning 15 players from 2015’s roster, coach Gerson Echeverry also brought in key transfers that have already seen time, including players at the attacking end of the pitch.
This includes defenseman Pedro Neto (Sao Paulo, Brazil/Monroe College), midfielders Matheus Miranda (Belo Horizonte, Brazil/ Graceland University) and Francisco Alderete (Salta, Argentina/ Florida Memorial University) and forward Jordan Kinoshi (Welwyn Garden City, England/Monroe College). Each played in at least three games this season, and Kinoshi registered his first goal against Lehigh.
For the players, each has had his reasons for attending the University and expectations regarding the season. They have felt welcomed by the other players and coaching staffs, looking to make the most of the opportunities as they find them throughout the season.
“Coach changed my mind really, and his vision was really strong and was what I wanted “ Kinoshi said. “I feel like I haven’t even graced the surface of what I’m capable of doing, but I know that what’s expected of me and as far as the team is to push each other to do the best we can. Pedro and I played this team at our old college and already we can tell it’s a different team, everyone’s more focused.”
Neto, his teammate, also said the family vibe he felt when he visited enticed him to come to Seton Hall.
“I had visited some other universities and I didn’t feel comfortable so when I met with the coaches they really made me feel at home,” Neto said. “In the preseason I got injured, so when I came back I got the chance to go right in and play in a couple of games, and we fought hard and went to extra time and that already shows something, but I just want to help the team win games.”
It’s been a mostly seamless transition for the transfers, each enjoying different aspects of the Hall, whether it is the facilities, the way the coaches have pushed them, or the relationships they’ve built with their teammates.
“I think I’ve had a positive impact on the team but I know I can do more, since I’m coming off of ACL surgery,” Miranda said. “Our team expectations are really high and we’re okay with being underdogs because later on people are going to know who we are.”
The underdog tag will remain, but it fuels and motives the team.
“We play at a high intensity so they want us at a high level of fitness,” Kinoshi said. “The coaches want us to play hard for the full 90 minutes, so between the great facilities and coaches, it’s tough but worth it.”
For all of the players, however, the end goal is simple – become a professional player. However, the team goals prove to be just as important.
“I want to make it to the next level and I want to do everything I can to make sure I’m there,” Miranda said. “As a team, the goal is always to win Big East, but we have to take it step by step, and every game is a final game for us, so we are all ready to play.”
Matt Lamb can be contacted by email at matthew,email@example.com or on Twitter @MattS_Lamb.