Men’s Soccer looks forward to February return

Head Coach Eric Pogue and the Oakland University men’s soccer team are looking forward to getting back into competition after a long break.

“We are super excited to get back on the field,” Pogue said. “After a 15-month layoff, the guys are excited to play someone other than ourselves.”

In the 2019 season, the team finished with a 7-9-3 overall record and advanced to the Horizon League Tournament with a 4-2-2 conference mark.

The spring 2021 season will be a season unlike any other — the men’s team will not play any non-conference games, sticking strictly to Horizon League teams.

The team will also only be playing one game a week compared to two to three in previous seasons.

“We only have one game a week because we have to take five days in between games,” Pogue said. “Usually, we play every two to four days. The good thing is that we get to practice a lot more (on those days off).”

The location of the games will be a lot different this season compared to past seasons, as Pogue mentioned. Most of the games will be played in an indoor bubble due to unpredictable weather — six out of OU’s 10 games will be played in an indoor bubble. Fortunately, OU has an indoor bubble on campus where the team can host games.

Although the season will look a lot different than past seasons, Pogue expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to play.

“There’s no precedent for this,” Pogue said. “It’s new for the players, coaches, administrators and referees — but we are going to be thankful to just get some games in.”

During these unprecedented times, Pogue reminds his team of the core values they share: positivity and optimism.

Pogue said everyone is dealing with the same situation and someone is going to win with it. He believes his team has the capability to persevere through these challenges.

Throughout this season’s obstacles, Pogue is relying on his seniors and team leaders to keep the team moving forward.

“The seniors are going to be the ones that make this season go,” Pogue said.

The men’s team has four seniors this year: Noah Jensen, Dylan Borczak, Charlie Braithwaite, and transfer Remco Gielen. Pogue expects these seniors to step up and lead the team into the unprecedented season.

A bright spot for the men’s team is their newcomers. In 2020, OU had the 22nd best recruiting class in the country. Pogue explains that with the senior leadership and talented recruiting class, the team is set up for success.

Despite challenges, Pogue is looking forward to just being able to compete and play.

“I am looking forward to competing to win championships,” Pogue said. “We are two weeks away from seeing the fruits of their labor. I am also looking forward to just getting back on the field, putting the uniforms back on and having the referee blow the whistle.”

Pogue also expresses his gratitude for how the team persevered through these challenging times.

“I am also really proud of our guys as a group, and how they have rallied behind this tough hand that got dealt to them — they have been able to persevere through these past 15 months,” Pogue said.

Oakland’s 15-month break ends on Feb. 4, 2021 when they take on Horizon League newcomer, Robert Morris University.