It’s no small feat qualifying for a national tournament at any level, let alone as said tournament’s top seed, but St. Louis Community College’s men’s soccer squad accomplished just that and did so without a loss on their 2017 record.
The team competed in the NJCAA Div. I National Championship tournament this past week in Prescott, Arizona, winning their first game in pool play over Illinois Central before dropping their second contest to Piza (Arizona) and having a great season meet its end.
Talking to 101ESPN a couple hours after Wednesday’s loss, head coach Tim Mosby expressed his disappointment at how it all ended, but also his pride in what the Archers accomplished.
“It felt like at times we could have put that game away and we dominated play and that’s the part of this game that you hate. They finished their couple chances and we didn’t finish ours,” Mosby said. “We were right up there and one of the top programs and this is something to build on.”
And being up there with the top programs is commendable considering Mosby took over a program in 2014 that had just two wins the prior year. The Archers are now 64-20-4 on his watch and had been the top ranked team in the nation through much of October and heading into the nationals. Athletic director Shawn Summe is especially pleased to see an STLCC alum like Mosby lead the program’s turnaround.
“Tim has worked hard to continue building this program in his four years and we have seen tremendous growth,” Summe said. “As a program we have won 12 national titles, but we have not won one since 1989. So to see him have the success as an alum makes it that much sweeter for him.
“The players have worked hard on and off the field and they have really bought into the goal on the field, which is to compete for a national championship,” Summe added. “But it is also a positive to see them compete in the classroom as well.”
Which is something else Mosby touched on briefly in our chat: The importance and the difficulty of managing a program at the less-glorifed JUCO level.
“In junior college we try to help kids who are struggling,” Mosby said. “I got my chance at a junior college and it helped me gain a nice platform to my education. I wasn’t a great high school student, but junior college was great for development and I think it helps these guys as well.”
“I think the two-year schools don’t get enough credit for what they do,” Mosby added. “It’s a little bit easier at a four-year when you can keep guys around three or four years and know they’re coming back. The object of our guys is to make it to a four-year school.”
Like any collegiate-level soccer program STLCC has an international component, which brings with it differing styles of play and personality. These were early season obstacles Mosby tried to nip in the bud.
“You just kind of have to let it play out the first couple weeks and see what you have personality wise,” the coach said. “You’re going to have guys who are fiery and passionate and you’re going to have guys who are quiet leaders. You just have to figure it out.
“I said, ‘We don’t necessarily have to be best friends, but when you’re on the field you’ve got to get along.”
Judging by the Archers’ record under Mosby and surrendering just one loss — at the National Championships — It got along alright on the field. Mosby added that a national title is still the ultimate goal.
“We just need to see where we need to improve to compete with the nation’s best. It’s very exciting to go to the tournament. There are a lot of great teams. Our ultimate goal is to win the national championship and that’s what we’ll try to do.”