OU women’s soccer puts ‘team’ first

Sami+Lopez+looking+to+strike+the+ball+against+Cleveland+State+University.+Next+up+is+Robert+Morris+on+Wednesday%2C+March+3.

Photo Courtesy of OU Athletics

Sami Lopez looking to strike the ball against Cleveland State University. Next up is Robert Morris on Wednesday, March 3.

Lauren Reid, Sports Editor

After a delayed season start, the Oakland University women’s soccer team is back in action, most recently having tied 1-1 in double overtime against Northern Kentucky University. The team is currently 1-2-1 with 6 games remaining.

“Our goal since we started the program has been to get [it] back to a championship level,” said Head Coach Juan Pablo Favero. “We’ve been working very hard for four years to get to this point, and we believe we can do that. Obviously this COVID-19 year has been challenging and less than ideal, but we like how we’re playing.”

Favero likes the level and style of play he’s seen from the team thus far. 

“Right now we’ve unfortunately had results that didn’t go our way, but I have peace of mind because we’ve been playing so well that the results will eventually come,” Favero said. 

Oakland kicked off their season with a 2-1 win against Youngstown State University on Feb. 3, with goals coming from sophomore Macey Wierenga and freshman Jackie Reilly. The team’s two losses came against the University of Illinois – Chicago (1-0) and Cleveland State University in overtime (3-2).

“Soccer is the cruelest of sports out there,” Favero said. “You can be playing phenomenally well and outplaying the other team and still lose. In soccer, scoring is so difficult that one little mistake here and there can cost you games.”

Favero said the team is trying to make the best out of this season, play every game and stay healthy. Amid COVID-19, he stressed his gratitude for administration, doctors, athletic trainers, parents and his team. 

“We are grateful for all the work that’s been done to keep us healthy, keep us safe and provide an opportunity for us to compete,” Favero said. “I’m really proud of our team — we’ve been very strict with the COVID-19 protocols. They haven’t complained, they’ve rolled with the punches [and] remained ready for the season.”

Although competing without fans “feels a little off” to Favero, he said the team is making the most of it.

“Our focus is and needs to remain on making the most of this imperfect situation,” Favero said. “We’re playing and we’re playing for something that is meaningful.”

Teamwork is of utmost importance to the women’s soccer team. Favero mentioned the importance of putting the team first — that their strength comes from the whole team and “everybody doing their role with excellence.”

Sophomore forward Vera Asare touched on the team aspect, saying the teamwork atmosphere helps foster loyalty and friendships.

“My favorite part about being on the team is the teamwork environment — promot[ing] an atmosphere that fosters friendship and loyalty between teammates,” Asare said. “[Coach Favero] makes sure every athlete is working great both on and off the field, which includes our academics. [The coaches] are really supportive — always helping us to be accountable of ourselves and that of our teammates, motivating and encouraging us. It’s just like this father-daughter or mother-daughter relationship, the love is so deep.

Oakland’s season continues Wednesday, March 3 at Detroit Mercy, with their next home game taking place the following Wednesday, March 10 against Robert Morris University.