The Student News Site of Schoolcraft College

Schoolcraft Connection

The Student News Site of Schoolcraft College

Schoolcraft Connection

The Student News Site of Schoolcraft College

Schoolcraft Connection

Returners and newbies

Soccer teams see big turnover, but stronger than ever

The fall 2023 sports season is underway and the Schoolcraft Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams are looking forward to playing with their teammates again, or for the first time. Both teams are off to a fast start. The Men’s Soccer team is 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) conference while the Women’s team is 6-3 overall and 4-1 in the MCCAA conference standings. Both teams are displaying a preview of what is to come as the season progresses.

Sophomore Tommy Mittelstadt carries the ball up the field during a recent game against Muskegon. (Photo courtesy of Schoolcraft College)

Men’s soccer left back, Diego Ayala, a returner from last season’s 2022 NJCAA Regional XII Division 1 Men’s Soccer Championship squad said the team is bonding extremely well and hopes the team will do even better than how they did last year. 

“Probably the connection with each other [is the most special thing about this team.] I think everyone is looking and going in the same direction; like the national championship and [career path. Because of this,] we are competing with each other and getting everyone better, but it’s still a really positive competition.”

Relating to Ayalas, center mid Gavin Brose, who is quoted as a “mega returner” with this being his third year on the team, notices a tenacious switch in the dynamic of the team compared to years prior. 

“This year, we have a lot more technical players in the front half of the team; a lot more goal scorers and overall a possession-minded team. With 15 new players coming in each year, I think Coach Larson has to kind of mold the team with what he has and experimenting to see what works. After beating Morton and getting a good fight against Northeast with two men down, I think that we’ll definitely be National contenders. I think that being humble and not getting overconfident is going to be a key point in our journey.” 

For the 15 newcomers, Bros recommends prioritizing managing schedules and preventing burnout early, as well as maintaining a sufficient load to be mentally stable through the season. 

Striker Tommy Mittlestadt, a transfer student from Northwood University, is used to the college athlete scene but new to the Schoolcraft culture. 

“I’ve met a lot of new guys just within the past month and to see how fast we’re getting to gel and play together well is so different. I haven’t seen players come together so fast,” said Mittlestadt. “I think a lot of the guys are very open arms, want to help each other and they want to see everyone else do well: there’s not much that can compare to just playing with your friends every day and being able to represent the school you’re playing for.” 

The Women’s soccer team has also had the same number of returners to newcomers, which for sophomore outside back Bella Elliot seemed daunting and difficult to find a rhythm with the team but even so they have been able to develop a great rapport and familiarity with each other. 

“Honestly, it hasn’t been hard. I feel like everyone’s gotten along really well and we’ve made friendships so it doesn’t seem like we’re such a brand new team,” said Elliot. “We’ve kind of gotten close early on. Everyone’s making friendships, figuring out what each other likes, how they play, so the chemistry has been easier this year.” 

Transfer junior forward Kyra Brandon seconds Elliot’s viewpoints of the team, with a different perspective as she is new to the team. 

“{As] this is my first year playing soccer [on this team], I’ve been getting along with all the girls, just

Freshman forward Kyra Brandon controls the ball from a Delta College defender during the Sept. 8, 2023 match. (Nolan Gerou)

having fun playing soccer. We’re getting the work done, and we’re [definitely going to] make the [nationals] trip [this year.] Just have to give it our all and have fun.” 

With the dynamics and optimism that are on each of these teams, there is a great chance they will go deep into the postseason. Each member of the team has noted the absolute privilege they feel to have the opportunity to represent their school, as well as to play their sport. 

Whether it’s continuing to stay humble, prioritize balance and take care of self, these athletes only wish to stay healthy for themselves, and for each other. 

For schedules, scores and highlights, visit https://www.schoolcraftocelots.com/landing/index. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Kathryn Wenske
Kathryn Wenske, Editor-in-Chief
Hi, hello, my name is Kathryn. I was a homeschooled child and an athlete in two sports who actually didn’t enjoy English classes and writing. It was not until I started taking specialized classes after my Honors English classes in high school that I started to grow a passion and affection for writing and reading. I think the feedback I received from my instructors and mother also very likely contributed to the enjoyment I got out of those subjects; which is why I am so thankful for my instructors and mom.  As an undergrad planning to pursue Law and Legislation, My Editor-in-Chief position has greatly contributed to the teamwork, collaboration, leadership, product management and problems solving skills necessary for that field. I also love the voice the newspaper gives, not only to me but to a diverse variety of students to speak on subjects they are passionate about and want to bring awareness to. I am indebted to the team that I have and am looking forward to seeing where everyone’s passions take them! 

Nolan Gerou, Content Manager

Comments (0)

All Schoolcraft Connection Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *