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Controversial Lineup Changes for UNF Men’s Soccer

Head Coach Derek Marinatos talking with players at halftime.

UNF men’s soccer head coach Derek Marinatos changed the lineup after the Osprey’s Aug. 26 home game against Georgia State. Lack of effort from players who Marinatos says have the talent, but not the maturity to play at the college level, led to multiple players being benched.

Players who were docked playing time included midfielder/forward Alex Morell, defenseman Drew Bruce, midfielder Camilo Garcia, defenseman/midfielder Drew Spragg, and midfielder/forward Teddy Mulamba.

“Talent is great,” said Marinatos. “But we’re holding everyone accountable.”

Despite Garcia’s 4 points and 2 goals on the season, Mulamba’s 2 points (1 goal), and Morell’s 4 points, 2 assists, and 1 goal, Marinatos granted playing time to guys he says worked hard in practice and earned their playing time.

“It happens,” said sophomore striker Teddy Mulamba. “Some of the players might have been working harder than I was.”

Mulamba said he knew a lot of legitimate players came into the program as freshman, and he expected individual position competition to heat up. Freshman Camilo Garcia, had high expectations at the beginning of the season.

“Obviously I want to play all the time,” said Garcia. “But [Marinatos] was asking for more switching the point of attack, and was keeping possession [of the ball on offense].”

Garcia said he hopes to get the minutes he deserves, and that he’s ready to get on the pitch.

“Coach always says there are two things we can manage, attitude and effort. If I keep my attitude and effort high, I’ll get the minutes I want,” said Garcia.

Mulamba and Garcia said there was no disagreement in the locker room over Marinatos’ decision to change the lineups. They understood the rationale behind the alterations.

“It’s about doing what we ask players to do,” said Marinatos, a second year head coach at UNF. Marinatos said this expectations include opening the formation wider making the field wider, and being in good defensive shape.

Marinatos said some of the issues that held the team back in the first few weeks of games and preparation included decision-making on the field, citing the two unassisted goals allowed by the Ospreys in the 82nd and 87th minutes of the match against Georgia Southern.

Marinatos said getting back on defense, as well as on field communication prevent such goals and shots.

“(Mistakes) are not at all frustrating,” said Marinatos. “Our players are all learning.”

While Marinatos shuffled the lineups four times in four games, Grady Trimble, UNF center back, said that some players adjusted quicker than others to Marinatos’ coaching style.

“There’s no hiding behind your natural talent,” said Trimble. “The coaches will always be on your case no matter how good you are.”

While the team already tripled its wins from the 2011 season, the growing pains of rebuilding a program showed within the first few games of the 2012 season.

“The young guys have got to learn the right habits,” said Marinatos. “They’ve never played at this level before.”

After defeating Georgia Southern 4-3 on Sat, Sept 8, one player with the right habits made the most of his opportunity. Freshman walk-on Max McDaniel scored two goals against Georgia Southern.

“If you just keep telling players (what they’re doing wrong), and not ever punishing the players, (bad habits) are going to continue,” said Trimble. “I think (benching players) is one way to deal with (issues), and it’s a good way.”

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