After a disappointing end to the previous season, the men’s soccer team enters this upcoming campaign with a lot to be excited about. The Red Hawks retained numerous key players, added a number of impactful transfer students as well as incoming freshmen, and were ranked number one in the New Jersey Athletic Conference’s preseason poll.
However, the team’s recent trip to Munich, Germany stands above all else as the most pivotal moment in the Red Hawks offseason. It was initiated by head coach Todd Tumelty who believed the maturity and leadership of his roster created the right opportunity for the trip to occur.
“I just thought it was a good opportunity and the right time for these guys. So that’s how it came about,” said Tumelty. “ We have a pretty substantial junior and senior class, and we thought having an opportunity to get some extra training would do the team well. Obviously, they’re a little bit older and more mature which helps when you’re taking teams overseas they understand right from wrong and how the program is run and how things need to be done.”
One player who has earned Tumelty’s trust is junior defender Ian Chesney. After a stellar season last year that included First Team All Region as well as First Team All NJAC honors, Chesney will certainly be a key factor in the Red Hawks season. Chesney spoke about the experience of traveling to Germany.
“It was definitely an awesome experience,” Chesney said. “We got to have a lot of team bonding over there. We got to play two games, train a little bit, and we got to see some sights in Munich. We got to go to a Bayern Munich game. I think it was a great experience to travel with the guys, spend some time together and help improve before we start the season.”
Strengthening the team’s bond was the focal point for the trip both on and off the field. Tumelty chose to focus on bonding and synergy over tactics.
“It was less about tactics and how we wanted to play; it was more of a bonding experience,” said Tumelty. “For some of the guys in the program it was their first opportunity to go somewhere (Internationally) and get away from the country. The reason for it was to bond, and get to know your teammates better and hope that when we step on that field guys are not only playing for the university but playing for each other.”
Senior defender Anir Radoncic, who received First Team All NJAC honors, spoke on how the team’s bond grew from a player’s perspective.
“Being together for a week straight is different because here everyone comes to practice and then they go to classes,” Radoncic said. “So being together for a week straight was definitely different, on and off the field. It definitely helped with the chemistry on the field too.”
The trip also allowed the team more time to train and practice together. The extra time has allowed the Red Hawks to focus on fine details and build chemistry.
“I think the extra games, practice, and fitness will be a big part,” Chesney said. “I think the fitness especially because teams haven’t done training and double sessions for as long as we have. I think that will give us an edge in a lot of games when it comes down to the wire. When you need to make the 100 yard, I think we got that in our bag. Everyone on this team is fit and ready to go.”
As the Red Hawks transition from preseason towards the start of the regular season, a sense of excitement exists throughout the program.
“I’m excited about the season,” Tumelty said. “We’re returning a lot of players. We got a lot of transfers who came in and made a big impact. Our freshman class rounded out really nicely. They all came in fit and ready to go. I think we had a pretty good season last year. We didn’t get the opportunity to go to the NCAA tournament which I think we deserved. Hopefully this year we can do that, and one of the ways you do that is obviously scoring goals. But keeping the ball out of the net is something that we’re going to do a really good job with this year.”
The trip seems to have worked well in the Red Hawks’ favor as they currently sit 2-0 after wins against New York University and Hunter College.
Montclair State will look to stay hot on Friday, Sept. 8 as they take on Babson College at home.