New soccer coach for a new men’s soccer team
Published: Monday, October 1, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2012 18:10
It’s mid-season and the Roosevelt University Lakers men’s soccer team’s record is one win, five losses and three draws.
Coach Graham Brennan is leading the new team, part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Brennan has years of coaching and soccer experience.
“My experience in soccer goes back to my upbringing in Ireland,” he said. “My dad was a coach, and I started playing soccer at a young age.”
Brennan played at Loyola University Chicago and began coaching at the youth level in 2001. In 2007, he began coaching at Robert Morris University and the Chicago Fire Premier Development League. In 2008, he was named head coach of the Chicago Fire National Premier Soccer League and led the team to victory at the Under-23 National Championship in 2010.
Prior to joining the Lakers, Brennan traded commodities at the Chicago Board of Trade coaching soccer at the same time.
“I chose to join the Lakers because it was a great opportunity to create a soccer program from the beginning,” he said. “I had the freedom to create the schedule, the uniforms and build a team.”
“[Brennan] is a good guy and a great coach,” midfielder T..J. Armic said. “He recruited a great group of players, which is not always easy, let alone to build a program from the ground up. Off the field, [Brennan] is kind and takes care of things for you. If you need something, he’s always there for you.”
The team practices and has games six days each week. Players practice at Jackson Park, 20 minutes away from the university, for approximately two hours.
“Practices are good,” Armic said. “Everyone puts in one-hundred percent, and we all make each other better. We work on tactics, how to break down the other team and how to move the ball forward.”
“Our plan for this season is to build a foundation and gain valuable experiences for the coming years,” Brennan said. “The current roster consists mostly of freshman. Every minute played this season will help in the development of these players.”
Brennan said the recruiting process consists of watching high school and club soccer games and contacting potential recruits.
“The process becomes more difficult when other universities are interested in the same student athletes,” Brennan said. “We usually lose these players because they get offered athletic scholarships along with academic scholarships and need based aid.”
Brennan did add that Roosevelt’s location and the addition of the Wabash Building were a deciding factor for players.
“Being part of a new team is a bit difficult because there is no soccer culture established,” Armic said. “No one has an idea of how things are done on and off the field, and there aren’t any older players to take you under their wing and show you.”
“The team needs to continue to work hard and develop as soccer players, students and men,” Brennan said. “For most of our roster, time management is probably the biggest skill needed in the first year. Training and traveling between 20-25 hours a week for soccer along with schoolwork and jobs can be overwhelming for a first year college student.”
Armic is one of the few older students on the team, and said he looks to help freshmen mature so the team can make the top seven in the conference.
“Our opponents have already played collegiate soccer for a couple years and have gained that experience,” Brennan said. “We also compete at a very high level in the NAIA.”
“We have very skilled players, and we are all figuring out how we fit in the team best, how we contribute,” Armic said. “Everyone wants to leave their name in the history of this school, so our 21 boys are trying to leave a lasting impression for Roosevelt and to all the schools in our Conference.”
Students interested in playing men’s soccer can email Brennan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Soccer has always been there for me,” Armic said. “All my days have revolved around practice and games. It’s taught me lots of important lessons and values that I incorporate in my everyday life.”
Excited about men’s soccer? The next game kicks off against Robert Morris College! Tweet us your school spirit @RUTORCH