With the Lehigh men’s soccer season underway, the 11 new freshmen who were added to the team during the offseason are taking on elevated roles.
Men’s soccer added six midfielders, two defensemen, two forwards and one goalkeeper to the roster. The new class is joining six sophomores, seven juniors and seven seniors.
The team is currently 0-3-1, yet six of the new freshmen started in the team’s 5-0 loss to Saint John’s on Sept. 2.
Despite the losses, freshman midfielder Ryan Kuldanek said the new class has already made clear goals for the rest of the season, with hopes of getting back to the Patriot League Tournament.
“We all have a high soccer IQ, and we play to everyone’s strengths,” Kuldanek said. “We know when to give the ball to people that are better at things than other people, so it’s good to see we can all take accountability for each other.”
Freshman midfielder Jarman Reilly said the stakes are at a much higher level than high school, and it has been an adjustment getting used to a different level of physicality and energy in the games.
Kuldanek and freshman midfielder Noah Levy shared a similar sentiment, but said the leadership of the upperclassmen have helped ease the transition and allowed the new class to feel welcomed on the team.
“They don’t treat us like freshmen,” Kuldanek said. “We have our freshmen duties here and there, but they see us as equals.”
Due to the transition as both a college athlete and student, Reilly said while it has been an adjustment, the Lehigh soccer program and its coaches have made the workload much more manageable.
“The older guys and the coaching staff have made it super easy for us to balance school and soccer,” Reilly said. “We have a six hour mandatory study hall each week that helps me get all my work done.”
In preparing for the rest of the season, Levy said the new class is ready to take on a larger workload and contribute to the team in any way they can.
The Lehigh Men’s Soccer team played its first home game of the year against La Salle University on Sept. 6, resulting in a 2-2 tie.
“The team is really bought in, and I’m excited to do my best however I can to help the team,” Levy said. “This freshmen class being so big means there’s a lot of guys that have a lot to offer, and I think there’s a lot to be excited about.”
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