Men’s soccer prepares for another season

The men’s soccer team finished with a 2-10-1 record last season and played a difficult, COVID-restricted schedule. 

The Bulldogs did not go down belly up in their losses, however, with eight of their 10 losses being by just a one-goal margin. 

Head Coach Duke Cochran is entering his 17th season at the helm of the Bulldogs and expressed excitement for what his squad can do this season.

“If you look at our roster last year, we had a lot of new guys,” Cochran said. “Just becoming a bit older as a team will help.”

The squad last year featured three senior players, all of which have graduated from the program. 

Cochran also thinks that with more experience going into this season, close game situation management will also be improved. 

“Although we didn’t reach a .500 record last year, we were close in a lot of our games,” he said. 

The .500 record mark is a sweet spot for postseason qualification and is something that the team strives for every season according to Cochran.

Coming off of many heartbreaking losses last season, Cochran sees it as motivation for his team.

“I’m sure we’re gonna be very hungry to improve, especially in a tough conference like the GLVC,” Cochran said.

This season will feature a 16 game schedule, compared to the shortened 13 game schedule played last year.

Cochran left faithful Truman fans with an encouraging message for this upcoming season. 

“I think fans can expect this team to work hard and grind out each and every game on our schedule,” Cochran said. 

Although the Bulldogs played with a young squad who were learning how to play at the next level, the team still had some strong upperclassmen leadership to lean on. 

Midfielder Andrew Brennan is entering his senior year for the Bulldogs and was named one of the captains for this season. 

“It was a big honor to be named captain,” Brennan said. “It definitely gives me a boost to strive for improved performance this year.”

Brennan tied fellow midfielder Sam Newton for most goals scored, with four last spring. 

Mac Knudsen juggles the ball towards the goal. The team played on a COVID-restricted schedule last season, but expect a regular season this fall. Photos from TMN Archives

Brennan has been a staple in the Bulldogs starting 11 lineups for matches the past two seasons, and feels like this next season will be one of further growth for the team.

“I think the young guys who played last year deserved to be out there,” Brennan said. “They had the ability to play at this level even in their first year.”

The Bulldog captain noted that late-game management struggles did occur with some of the young players, but believes that experience will fix this issue. 

A short turnaround for the team from spring to fall certainly places an emphasis on proper off-season workouts as well as team bonding. 

“I think the chemistry so far has been great, even without a real practice session yet,” Brennan said.

Brennan elaborated on the previous point, in which he believes sticking together as a collective will propel the squad to their desired goal. 

The men’s soccer team will open their season up with four straight home games against two out of conference opponents and two GLVC opponents.