He brings stability. He brings skill. He has brought hope to a Seton Hall men’s soccer program that has seen its fair share of struggles in recent years. He is Andres Arcila, and this season, he has established himself as not only one of the best players in the Big East , but across the nation.
For Arcila, the journey to South Orange began back in Colombia when he was just 4 years old.
“I used to come with my dad to his games,” Arcila said. “I would come every Sunday morning and I would watch and I would kick around.”
His love for soccer grew as time went on, and he took his passion to the next level when he was 6.
“It’s a little different in Colombia,” Arcila said. “You don’t really play for your schools, you go play for clubs and academies. My first academy was when I was 6 and since then I haven’t stopped.”
Arcila said he age of 13 was when he really began to see his play improve significantly. It was soon after that coaches began to take notice. SHU head coach Gerson Echeverry was one of those coaches, and he knew that Arcila would be a player that would make a solid impact on a struggling program.
After being deemed ineligible for his freshman year, Arcila has had a memorable first season on the pitch as a sophomore for the Pirates. As of Oct. 26, he leads the team in points, goals, and is tied for the team lead in assists. He’s also tied for 85th in the country in points with 16. Arcila credits much of his ability to his passion growing up, with his interest in the sport being so strong.
“I cannot explain to you how I feel when I play,” Arcila said. “It’s just…what I love to do. It’s something inside me that drives me to come here every morning, when it’s cold, when it’s hot. I just enjoy this.”
Echeverry is pleased in what he’s seen from the sophomore this season. He knows Arcila is only going to get better.
“A guy with his talent and the things that he’s capable of doing, there aren’t too many guys in the conference that can do it,” Echeverry said. “It’s just now a matter of making sure he does it at a rate that’s more beneficial for us.”
Arcila’s impact is shown on the field, as the Pirates have shown much more promise this season after a winless campaign last season. Much of this can be contributed to Arcila, whose contributions on and off the field have changed the atmosphere surrounding this team. Still, Arcila noted that the team has a ways to go.
“It’s weird because I feel happy with myself but at the same time I wish the team could do better,” Arcila said. “We give good performances sometimes and we just can’t get the wins.”
Arcila’s focus is on this Seton Hall team and finding ways to improve over the next several seasons. While aspiring for this, Arcila also has his long-term goals set: to play professionally. Echeverry sees the drive within Arcila, and knows he has what it takes to accomplish his dream.
“His goal is obviously to try and play at the next level and he has an understanding of taking care of his body and hopefully that’s rubbing off on some of these guys,” Echeverry said.
Arcila will look to finish strong over the final two games of the season. Though this year has been another letdown for the Hall, one thing is for sure: Arcila has brought a feeling of excitement to this men’s soccer program that hasn’t been felt in a long time.
Matt Ambrose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mambrose97.