Men’s Soccer season in review: Eagles look to change culture going forward

A substantial amount of changes could soon be occurring for the IVCC Men’s Soccer team after an abysmal 2018 season.

The team finished the season with a record of 1-17-1, losing 4-0 to nationally ranked Triton in the first round of the regional tournament. Though injuries were a factor throughout the season, Coach Tim Cottingim stressed more of a need for commitment going forward.

“We need a higher level of commitment,” said Cottingim. He stated that there were players on the team that were either missing games, on or off the team, or quitting the team throughout the course of the season.

The two big issues for the team this season was the lack of scoring and bad defense. The team only averaged 1.25 goals per game this year, while giving up an average of 3.81 goals per game. “We had three of our starting four defenders returning and what we thought to be better goal keeping,” said Cottingim. “For whatever reason we never did get it right for very long during the season.”

Cottingim is unsure if that will be an issue for next season, though he plans to make defense a focal point of the recruiting class for next season. He said that it is a work in progress.

As for the offense, Rafa Puga led the team with five goals and 12 points. Outside of Puga, the team lacked a natural striker, which created problems when he was forced into the net.

“A lot of people were playing there by committee and when [[Puga]] had to go into the goal full-time, we just did not have enough firepower to find the back of the net often enough,” said Coach Cottingim. He plans to recruit more players to remedy the problems on offense and defense.

As for freshman next season, Cottingim has faith that Puga, Ruti Arteaga, and Fidel Mora can be counted on to “provide experience for us.” Mora finished the season second on the team in assists with four. Coach Cottingim also named Oscar Pizano as a name to look out for next season. Cottingim noted that Pizano “improved as the season progressed but needs to step up next year.”

Although this season was forgetful, Coach Cottingim is looking at what he can do to change the culture for the team. “We just need more players to compete, more depth,” said Cottingim. “We need more competition within practice.” Cottingim also stated that there will also be more accountability going forward to prevent the commitment issues from happening again.

“It won’t be tolerated when someone does not comply with their minimum standards academically and hopefully, we have the depth to not tolerate a lack of performance, Cottingim said. “It may sound harsh, but that is the goal, and frankly, we need to have all of that to be competitive.”