- Osvaldo Godoy
College soccer captain previews their fall season amid recent changes
Palm Beach Atlantic University's men’s soccer captain Andrés Flores previewed their 2022 fall season. The Chilean midfielder, who played for the PBA Sailfish for the past five years, talked about the team’s expectations toward a new tournament.
“Every year the conference is quite competitive,” Flores stated. “The most important thing is to help new people adapt well because I think that, in the end, that's what makes the difference in order to have a good performance during the season.”
Flores wanted all the transfers and freshmen players to understand the way they play and how they do things.
“I think the process has gone pretty well, so I'm feeling positive towards the conference tournament.” Flores said.
The school program won the Sunshine State Conference last year, claimed as co-champions with the University of Tampa. PBA held a 13-1 overall record and a 9-1 within the conference. The SSC is arguably the toughest NCAA Division 2 conference in the nation for soccer, since the highest ranked colleges are usually fighting for the national title.
Along with the new players that arrived this year and those who left, the biggest change that the team experienced was the arrival of a new head coach. After eight successful years of coaching PBA’s men’s soccer team, Brian McMahon stepped down in June. During that period, McMahon became the first coach in 24 years to win the SSC “Coach of the Year” award in 2017 and 2018, giving the program six consecutive NCAA national tournament appearances, plus one NCAA south region championship.
“I'm really grateful to him,” Flores said about McMahon. “Personally, he made me evolve as a person and as a player. He also brought this high-achieving culture to the school. Definitely the good results that we've had, along with that mentality of going for the conference and aiming for the nationals, came through him.”
Lucas Martorana assumed McMahon’s place as the interim head coach. In 2017, Martorana was chosen as PBA’s assistant coach, and three years later he became the associate head coach. Matthew Iles assumed Martorana's old position as the assistant coach this past August.
“The change of coach came with bad timing perhaps, but the truth is that the team responded very well,” Flores mentioned. "Lucas (Martorana) is someone who knows the program, he knows how we have done things, but he also adds his personal touches, which in the end is always good to add things and find ways to improve.”
Regarding the soccer team's objectives this fall season, the Sailfish captain says his intention is to pursue that long-awaited national title.
“That's the goal that is always top of mind throughout the season, but obviously having a long-term goal can backfire a bit sometimes,” Flores added. “If you focus on something that is so far down the road, it suddenly makes you stop giving importance to the present. Our most important goal is always the next game.”
With this in mind, the PBA men’s soccer team is looking forward to another successful season with Flores as team captain.
By Osvaldo Godoy