UNF Men’s Soccer Season Preview

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UNF Men’s Soccer Season Preview

Darvin Nelson

Darvin Nelson

Darvin Nelson

Catherine Cavallo

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Video by: Brett Nweeia

After a stellar performance late last season against NJIT, the UNF Men’s Soccer team secured a playoff spot in the ASUN Quarterfinals. Going into this season, the team’s spirits are at an all time high. 

Junior and Team Captain, LJ Estes is excited about this year’s team and its culture.

“Everybody is supporting each other. Everybody has good attitudes, the best we’ve ever had. This past summer we had the most people we have ever had. The culture is growing completely. The past two years I’ve been here it was a rough culture but now we’re really trying to build it up,” Estes said.

Head Coach, Derek Marinatos is entering his ninth season with the team. Last year, the team ended the season with a 4-11-0 record. This year, Coach Marinatos is building the team’s culture around growth.

“The team’s culture has all been about growth, personal growth on and off the field. We’re trying to improve life habits so the guys are eating better, sleeping better, performing better on the field,” Marinatos said.

The addition of Clayton Zelin, Jacob Weinshank, and Eric Bracy to the coaching staff has helped Coach Marinatos shape the rebirth of this year’s team. 

“Everything feels new. I’ve been here nine years and I think right now there is kind of a rebirth in the program. For one, we have a whole new coaching staff under me. Clayton Zelin is our Associate Head Coach and Jacob Weinshank is our Assistant Coach, and Eric Bracy is our Volunteer Assistant Coach . We’ve added a lot of depth and talent now to this year’s group so we’re excited,” Marinatos said.

When asked what it would take for this year’s team to reach the next level, Estes mentioned three key factors that he learned from Coach Zelin. 

“We’re just going to focus on the three things Coach Clayton has been talking to us about; mentality, work rate, and discipline. If we focus on those three things we can win anything,” Estes said.

Senior Jake Hawker is looking forward to taking on a leadership role for the team this year. Hawker shared what he hopes to bring to the table this season.

“As a forward it’s just goals. That’s what I’ve done all my life, that’s what I did at my old school, that’s what they recruited me here for and brought me here to do,” Hawker said.

Hawker did just that this past Friday by scoring the game winning goal in overtime against USC-Upstate. The goal gave the Ospreys a 1-0 win in their season opener. The Ospreys head to Atlanta for their next game against Georgia State on Friday, September 9th. 

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