Men’s soccer coach looks ahead to 1st season

Nick Bays, Men's Soccer Reporter

New Eastern men’s soccer head coach Ronnie Bouemboue was in high spirits when speaking about his team and noted that even during the pandemic, he and his team are going forward with positive attitudes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has limited the team’s ability to grow and develop together on the field, especially considering 10 new players are being added to the roster with 15 returning players from last season.

However, Bouemboue said he is not too worried about that lack of time together. Instead, he views it as a unique position that allows him the opportunity to build a strong foundation with his players for the spring, which is potentially when the soccer team is expected to play its season.

With this being Bouemboue’s first season with the Panthers, he said the idea of building a strong foundation for him was key. Even amid the pandemic, he still wanted to promote growth from all of his players and emphasized the importance of academic, athletic and personal development along with the idea of engaging in community service.

With last semester moving to online classes halfway through, Bouemboue said he was proud of his team for still having an average GPA of 3.58 and hopes to replicate that academic performance again this year.

When asked about his objectives for this season, he said he wanted to make sure he is helping his players grow as people, and he is focused on individual and group development from his team. With practices set to resume later this week, Bouemboue said his team is excited to be back out on the field again working toward success.

He said his team is feeling “a little bit of everything,” given what is going on with the pandemic. However, he said the team is just excited to “get the ball rolling,” and he is looking forward to getting his team ready for the season that lies ahead.

Bouemboue is approaching this first season as an opportunity to establish a competitive, winning culture, even with having to adjust to the new safety guidelines. He said that he has a “clean slate” to work with for his first season and even though he is still evaluating his team, he believes this gives him a chance to really implement an effective, attacking style of play that focuses on disciplined defending while still applying pressure on the other team.

Bouemboue said he has accepted the fact that with the pandemic raging on and having to practice this fall with his team not being able to play this spring, these factors may make it difficult to find motivation amid the chaos. However, he said that he is so proud of the players for how they have handled themselves, adding that their attitudes have been exceptional.

He also said his time working with other coaches at different universities has helped him learn a lot, and he hopes to bring that knowledge and wisdom to Eastern. When asked about what to expect from the Panthers this season, he said everyone should expect to see a team that is going to work hard and competing night in and night out. The team will start practicing later this week.

 

Nick Bays can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]