With fall sports postponed until the spring, the Collegian has decided to look at how Kenyon athletes are navigating these difficult circumstances. Each week, we will provide an update on one of the fall sports teams. This week, we are highlighting the men’s soccer team.
As they attempt to stay healthy, the Kenyon men’s soccer team has managed to stay in positive spirits. With primarily first years and sophomores on campus, the dynamic of the team has undoubtedly changed. Due to the pandemic, they have been forced to make adjustments to how they train, as well as how they socialize.
In accordance with Kenyon and NCAA guidelines, the Lords’ training protocol was divided into phases. In Phase 1, their coach split the team into two practice groups. Neither group was allowed to interact on the field, only coming into contact with one another in the locker room. Each team member had their own ball, water bottle and exercise band in an effort to keep equipment separated. In Phase 2, the teams moved from independent drills focusing on ball skills and juggling to passing drills with more contact. Phase 3 was supposed to start on Monday, Oct. 4, and would have included live scrimmaging, but the College required teams to stay in Phase 2 until further notice due to recent violations of COVID-19 protocols.
As for the dynamics of the team, center-midfielder David McCrory ’23 has mixed feelings about a season without his upperclass teammates. “It’s tough, but not having the juniors and seniors around adds a bit of responsibility,” he said. He explained that the team felt closer before social distancing was in place. Now, as Joey Martens ’24 says, the team “rotates through people’s rooms to get to know everyone” and members “eat dinners outside, doing group activities, following guidelines.”
Though he acknowledged the difficulties of navigating the season without upperclass teammates to look up to, Martens felt that the team was making the best of it.“The team here is amazing, the guys here are great and a lot of them have stepped up into leadership roles younger than they might’ve normally,” he said. “We haven’t lost the competitive side of it, even with masks on.”
The Lords are hoping to return to competitive play in the spring semester. For now, they are appreciating the opportunity to play amongst themselves.