After an onslaught of departures at the end of last season, Seton Hall men’s soccer head coach Andreas Lindberg and his staff left no stone unturned when scouting and recruiting for the 2019 season. Six prospects from across England, Sweden, Egypt, Israel and Malta comprised most of the nine-man freshmen class while seven transfer students also joined Seton Hall during the offseason. This whirlwind of incoming and outgoing players has not harmed the chemistry within the side, however, and Lindberg feels they are even more unified now than when he initially took charge last year.
“I’m very happy with where we are as a team at the moment,” Lindberg said. “I think we built a good base, and the team comraderie has been really good. I feel we’re more like a team this year than we were last year, and we’re starting to really create the culture we want.”
Culture, especially a positive one, is a difficult off-the-field aspect to create and maintain within a program which has not seen a winning season since 2006. The inclusion of players from all different backgrounds and corners of the world has undoubtedly contributed to the cultivation of the team’s culture, and this incoming group will continue to build upon it. Yet, despite the contrasts that make this group so unique, Lindberg relies on one common quality to be the glue between all of them.
“We want to have good people,” Lindberg said. “We say it all the time that the team does not necessarily need a bunch of rules, we just want our players to be good people. If you’re a good person then it’s going to go a long way, and then good people tend to attract other good people and that’s what we’re trying to do.
“The fact that we have a lot of international players is good for those players and for the domestic playewrs to kind of mesh. Soccer is a world game, but it’s not necessarily just playing styles and it’s also about being a good person. When we recruit, we focus heavily on that.”
The losses of David Arvidsson and Nico Andersen on defense and Tomas Greco in midfield will admittedly be hard to fill, and Lindberg sees anywhere between three to five freshmen fighting for starting positions along with the transfers and returning cast. Changes to the Pirates’ style of play will likely occur throughout the season but more so to help build around the current core group rather than hold out for players who can play in the same fashion as the likes of Arvidsson, Andersen, and Greco.
With a recruiting haul as fruitful as the one Lindberg had at LIU Post, though, there is little doubt that Lindberg’s emphasis on character as well as talent is a recruitment strategy that works.
“The absolute preferred system of play is the winning one,” Lindberg said. “We have to make the best of [the players we have] if we’re going to increase the chances of us winning. I don’t think we are a program that can go out and specifically pick a specific left-defender that’s going to play exactly the way we want them to in the formation and style we want yet. We’re still trying to piece that together.”
Turning a Div. I college sports program into a winning dynasty is no easy puzzle to solve, but Lindberg’s belief in his players and staff to do such in undoubtable. While trials and tribulations will come and patience will be tested, the men’s soccer team looks in good hands heading into Lindberg’s second year in charge.
Justin Sousa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @JustinSousa99.