Sports Writers: Johann Henning Kunze, Jaxson Douglas, Faith Haren
The 2021 soccer season is upon us, and it opens on Sept. 2 with the Wingate Bulldogs going against Florida Tech. For the first time in 10 years, the teams are meeting for a soccer match. Twenty-two players. Ninety minutes. One winner. Who will it be?
“We have a lot of talented freshmen this year,” says Wingate Senior Daniel Kuper, “But we do not only need talented players, we will need to work as a team. The first games will be crucial”.
Originally from Hamburg, Germany, Kuper appeared in all nine games for the Bulldogs in his junior campaign last year.
“Although he has struggled with injuries the last couple of years, Daniel’s experience in big games will be critical for us,” says Head Coach Gary Hamill. “He has a knack for scoring in the big ones and we will rely on him again this year.”
Florens Van Honk, Marcus Figueroa, and Fabio Rodrigues join Kuper in midfield. Each of the three freshmen are eager to star in the initial formation.
“The most important thing for me is to be part of the starting eleven,” says Rodrigues, “Obviously we want to win the SAC Tournament, but we have to take it game by game. If we are not focused on every single game, we will not be successful.”
Rodrigues comes from Brazil- a country known for producing high-caliber athletes such as Ronaldo and Pelé.
With less than three days until the first game, the pressure is mounting, but the Bulldogs have plenty of reasons to be confident. Last year, they crushed opponents 62-19. Moreover, they are the SAC favorites, ranking sixth in the United Soccer Coaches preseason top 25 and ranking first in the SAC preseason poll.
Fans are excited to return as well since last year’s season was cut short with only playing a total of 10 games.