Averett University Men´s Soccer Program Heading in the Right Direction


Elle Michelsen

Men´s soccer team huddle before the USA South conference tournament semi-final

Baste Hasselgård Endresen, Staff Writer

For the first time in four years, Averett University men´s soccer made the playoffs. The team was ranked 6th in the USA South polls but managed to finish 3rd in the regular season as the program has gone through a complete shift over the last few years. Men´s soccer fought as underdogs throughout the season and proved people wrong, however, the team sadly lost out in double overtime in a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat to William Peace in the USA South Conference Tournament. The season did not end the way the team wanted but there is plenty of positives to take from the spring 2021 season.

“I was extremely proud of the team’s performance overall this season,” Phillip Wilson, Averett men´s soccer head coach, said. “My goal going into the season was to finish top four and make playoffs which we were able to accomplish for the first time in four years. The competition and depth within the squad this year were tremendous. Every player on the roster showed up every day wanting to get better which allowed the whole team to develop week after week. We are extremely fortunate that we return a very large percentage of the roster, and with the addition of some extremely talented freshmen I am confident we can continue to strive for a Conference title.”

Leading up to 2018 the program had very talented players, however, the attitude, work ethic, discipline, and overall culture were not there off the field for the team to achieve success on the field. When recruiting the large freshman class of 15 players in 2018, Coach Wilson and his staff targeted talented players who also had very high character, attitude, and work rate.

“I knew I was going to be relying on 7-8 freshmen to start right away but I knew that because of their character and work-rate they would be able to compete and develop season after season,” Wilson said. “The culture slowly morphed into the current team motto of Hungry, Healthy, and Humble. Having a roster of student-athletes that believe in the process, who show up every day to practice with the hunger to get better as individuals and as teammates but also remain humble and healthy off the field has helped rebuild the program to a conference contender.”

A key factor in the positive change over the last couple of years has been the retention of players that are the right fit for the program. Retaining the student-athletes that enjoy their time at Averett and want to build the program back to where it should be has been crucial to the positive changes on and off the field. Moreover, the team GPA has consistently improved over the last three years along with results and performances on the field which can be observed through the program having its first positive season since 2012. It is safe to say that the program is on the right track.

“Things we should focus on and improve on for the fall season would be keeping everyone healthy and focused during the summer,” Johnny Kummander, Averett men´s soccer captain, said. “It is key that our players come back in a good condition and in the right mindset for next season. In addition, I think that if we can clean up defensively to avoid goals against us as well as being more clinical in final third, we can accomplish finishing top 2 in the conference which I think is and should be everyone’s goal.”