Men’s soccer ‘special’ season ends


IV Leader Photo

Pumi Maphumulo takes a penalty shot from just outside the box during a game this year. Maphumulo led the NJCAA Division III soccer in points and goals this season.

It’s been a long road for men’s soccer at IVCC.

Since the team started competition in 2016, no winning season had been recorded.

That is, until 2021, when the team finished 13-8 overall and placed second in the NJCAA’s Region IV.

This year, the Eagles put together what team members call a “special season,” even though it ended Oct. 30 in a 9-1 loss to Richland College in the Midwest District Semi-Finals. Richland, located in Dallas, Texas, won the NJCAA Division III championship last year and is ranked No. 1 in Division III again this year.

Sophomore Pumi Maphumulo of South Africa scored the lone goal for the Eagles.

The Eagles also suffered heart-breaking loss to Harper on Oct. 23 in the Region IV championship game. The Eagles had defeated Harper twice earlier in the season before suffering a 4-2 loss in the final.

“The other team just wanted it more,” Maphumulo said. “They ran harder, tackled harder, kicked harder and just did everything better than us in the second half and that’s what won them the game. A great lesson for the freshman to take into the next season.”

Maphumulo led the team and the nation throughout the season. He finished with 79 points, 32 goals, 15 assists and 108 shots. He led the nation in points, goals and shots while coming in fourth in assists for NJCAA Division III soccer.

His performance also has led to other recognition.

Maphumulo was named the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region IV Division III Men’s Soccer Player of the Year.

“I was very happy with the recognition that I received this year simply because I always believed that I could do what I did this year, and I knew that I just had to believe in myself and trust that things would work out,” Maphumulo said.

“Having a great team definitely helped for sure especially considering how high the level of competition was and these boys made everything so much easier for me. I’ve never been one to play for individual awards but at times it is nice to know that all your hard work behind the scenes has paid off.”

Maphumulo along with freshman Marc Philavanh of Peru were nominated as the two Region IV representatives for NJCAA All-American Honors.

Receiving All-Region first team honors were Maphumulo, Philavanh and Andre Mendes of Peru. Second team honors went to Zusi-pheyena Gxarisa of Peru, and Drew Garret and Bayron Cruz of La Salle.

Overall, Maphumulo is proud of the team and its accomplishments this year, especially given that the IVCC squad was 13 players while most other teams have double the number of players.

“I also loved knowing that we took IV from being one of the small teams of the region to becoming a team that could compete with and beat the best,” he said. “Since I arrived here in 2019, I honestly wanted to help create something special here, a foundation for the next group to able to join and take the college to the top. I don’t want the next group to do what we did this year, I want them to be better and I know they will be.”

The team is coached by Tim Cottingim.