Every game has a storyline, and so does every season. Last year, our season’s story was one of last minute losses and poor refereeing decisions that caused us to miss the MAAC Tournament. But this year, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, our team has gone on an extraordinary run these past four weeks, going from winless in our first four games, to a current streak of 6-0-1 and the top of the MAAC. If anyone was to ask us what changed that caused us to start winning, I don’t think any of us could give a distinct reason for our new found success. We just continued to work hard and knew if we did the little things right, the wins would start coming sooner or later. The most important thing was that we stayed together as a team. No one pointed fingers at anyone else, and everyone knew that if we were going to save this season, we were going to have to do it together.
I have to credit our team for our attitude, because it’s easy to turn up to training when everything is going smoothly. It takes an entirely different mentality to come to training knowing that your going to be run into the ground, or that all your hard work during the week might not translate into a win on the weekend. At the time, it felt like everyone at our school had written us off already, thinking that this was the same team that failed last year. We weren’t proud to say that we were a part of Fairfield Men’s soccer, because for the past 24 months, everyone associated our team as being major underachievers.
I knew Fred and Mike from club soccer, but both played at Trumbull High School, my high school’s rival. I’d never had opportunity to beat either of them during high school play, but during my sophomore year we had tied 1-1 in a match that my high school probably should have won. Three years later, I finally got the chance to beat them both, knocking off Siena 1-0 and then Marist 2-1. This was a personally satisfying moment for me. I felt like I had finally gotten the “monkey off my back” so to speak.
I wanted to close this blog with a quote from the movie “Any Given Sunday” because that’s what the MAAC has become this year. On any given day, any team can beat any other team, it simply comes down to which collective group of players wants it more. Manhattan College snapped its 43 game losing streak last Friday by beating Canisius and then proceeded to beat Niagra two days later. Because Iona, #16 in the country, lost to Siena on Sunday, we assumed sole possession of first place in the MAAC. We play Iona at home on Saturday night at 7, and we know that in order to stay at the top, it’s going to come down to how much energy and passion we bring to the pitch.
“We are in hell right now gentlemen, believe me, and we can stay here and get the sh*t kicked out of us or we can fight our way back into the light. You find out that life is just a game of inches. So is football… When we add up all those inches that's going to make the difference between WINNING and LOSING! Between LIVING and DYING!”