The men’s soccer team has started their preparation for next season with a couple of close offseason wins.
Vermont defeated The College of St. Rose 1-0 in a home scrimmage, before travelling to West Point to play Army West Point, winning 2-1.
These games were Vermont’s first under new head coach Rob Dow’s charge. Following his five years as a part of the coaching staff, Dow was promoted to take total control of the head coaching position. Dow becomes the eighth head coach of Vermont men’s soccer program.
“I am extremely excited and honored to lead the UVM men’s soccer team,” Dow said. “The last five years at UVM have been special for my family and me, and we are proud to say Vermont will continue to be our home.”
Dow is hoping that these offseason games will help the team build identity, he said.
“[We’re looking] for us to focus on ourselves and find our identity,” he said. “To carry our traditions of being a hard, gritty team.”
Vermont will be losing a few players who will be graduating this year or have already graduated, including forward Brian Wright, who was drafted by Major League Soccer club New England Revolution.
Wright was one of Vermont’s most successful players, netting 39 goals and 25 assists during his collegiate career.
Dow said that he’s expecting the likes of first-year midfielder Jon Arnar Barodal, sophomore midfielder Clay Gattey and sophomore forward Trevor Colazzo to step it up this season to fill the boots of the graduating players.
Dow has already started utilizing these players and is establishing a new system.
“We are establishing a new system that involves the domination of central midfield and getting our strongest players in the field at the same time,” Dow said.
The spring schedule consists of four home games, in addition to a trip to West Point and a tournament at Virtue Field April 22. The Catamounts will also play host to Harvard, Merrimack, and a UVM alumni team this April.
“Spring is all about developmental time, so players will be asked to do things they might not be comfortable with,” Dow said regarding the spring fixtures and training. “I would say we wanted to give our young guys the opportunity to learn and make mistakes while also being tested”.
Vermont had one of the most successful seasons in program history last year, scoring a program record 42 goals and winning a postseason game on home turf for the first time since 1989, according to UVM athletics.
Despite a few key players departing, Dow said that he believes his team can go on to repeat their success.
“There is a strong strong group returning, with the added element of the new guys coming in,” he said. “So yes, I believe we have the tools to have another successful season.”
Vermont returns home to Virtue Field April 8 to play Harvard University. 14 days later, Vermont is back in action, hosting the Vermont Cup April 22 at 12p.m.