After four quick seasons, the men’s soccer team is graduating nine seniors in the spring of this academic year.
According to Head Coach James Greenslit, the class of 2020 has been the backbone of the team for the duration of their time at RWU.
“They’re unbelievable,” Greenslit said. “They were my first recruiting class. They’re the guys that really bought into the school, the program, me, and they really made a commitment to making this a better program and a better place.”
When the class of 2020 started playing for RWU back in 2016, they began pioneering the Hawks soccer program to its present glory. In 2018, their junior season, they carried the team to the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) finals where they fell to Gordon College, marking one of the most successful seasons in RWU soccer history.
“They’ve really gone through some highs and some lows in the course of their career,” Greenslit said. “But they were really dedicated to changing the culture of this program. Where we are and where we were a couple years ago is all dedicated to the hard work and the attitude and mentality of our senior class.”
On Oct. 19, the Hawks had their senior night match against Nichols College, which they won by a margin of 4-1. Goals were scored by two seniors, Stathi Panagiotidis of Norwalk, Connecticut and Garrett Bolton of Candia, New Hampshire.
Looking back on their time playing for the Hawks, the seniors all cite their succession to the CCC finals in 2018 and their trip to England during their sophomore year to be some of their favorite memories. In addition, Bolton said one of his favorite memories was ringing the victory bell at Bayside Field after every home win.
As for plans after college, the seniors are looking forward to a multitude of different opportunities. Matthew Bacon of Paget, Bermuda, plans on moving to London to work in the insurance industry, while Spencer Thibodeau of Kennebunkport, Maine, wants to find a career in public health and eventually get his masters degree. Bolton, however, has other plans.
“I think I am going to travel for a while, maybe live in a van,” said Bolton. “Who knows.”
Post-college, the Hawks reflected on how they’ll carry their experience playing for RWU with them in the future.
“Soccer has been a part of my life since I was five years old,” Thibodeau said. “Not only have I had the privilege to play my favorite sport for Roger but I have also learned many valuable life lessons along the way.”
“Football has always been a big part of my life, as it will always be,” Bacon said. “It’s helped me manage my time and learn how to deal with different personalities and opinions.”
“Soccer and sports in general taught me the value of hard work and the importance of setting personal and team oriented goals,” Bolton said. “It’s also taught me that hard work does not necessarily equal success. Competition is essential for growth and there is no better feeling than winning, especially at Endicott.”
It’s safe to say that the end of the 2019 season will mark the end of an era for RWU soccer.
“I couldn’t be more thankful for everything they’ve done for this program,” Greenslit said.