When I was younger, I watched Chris Apple play soccer for the UR men?s team. I was excited to recently learn that Apple will be the new head coach for the men?s team. Like Apple, I also had the opportunity to play for the UofR (for three seasons from 1994 until 1996). For a number of years, whilst I was an undergraduate and after, I believed that the men’s soccer team should be able to win the NCAA Division III tournament. Indeed, we should have won the NCAA playoffs during both the 1995 and 1997 seasons, but quite honestly, the coaching staff was immature and could not adequately assess the abilities of the team. The coaching staff made poor choices on a number of instances. For example, the players themselves did not pick their captains (which often resulted in low moral because the best players are not always the best leaders); the players never knew who would take penalty kicks during shoot-outs (this resulted, I believe, in first-round NCAA losses to Ithaca during 1995 and 1997); and there was a general sense that the coaches thought certain players were better than they actually were, and gave them the most playing time, although the rest of the team did not agree. As a result of these actions, and numerous others, the teams I watched and played for never made it beyond the first round of the NCAA tournament. I firmly believe in Chris Apple?s abilities as a coach and support his efforts. I hope that players like Ben Cross and Jeff Parrinello will prove useful this fall, particularly since the time is right to display the greatness of UR men’s soccer. Chris Apple and the team are off to a wonderful start, according to the team’s web site. We should wish them luck this fall and support their efforts.
Best wishes,Joel Helfrich (1998)