“The season we had as a first-year team was unreal,” said Paul Stewart (Fr., NY). “Home opening was definitely the highlight. Everything about it—the way we came back, the way we won, and then a freshman scoring the winning goal in overtime and beating the number one team in our league!”
That double overtime win over Trinity Baptist College, from a kick by forward Nick Standridge (Fr., OH), brought the campus together in support of the squad.
From the beginning, the Eagles soccer team, under the leadership of Coach Fred Johnson and assistant coaches Joe Liwosz and Ryan Kennard, has earned a reputation for being an extraordinary first-year team. With hard work and humility, they quickly made their way to the top of their division, consistently ranked in the top four teams throughout the season. “The team’s spirit is humble, and the guys really work well together,” said Curtis Campbell (Soph., AL), who has several friends on the team. “They respect their coach, they respect each other, and they have respect for all the other teams they play.”
For most of the Eagles, the chance to play intercollegiate soccer was a dream come true. Some, like Adrian Torres (Jr., Mexico)—who made NCCAA II Player of the Week during the season—came to PCC never expecting the opportunity to play. He said, “God answered a prayer in my heart since I was little—I’ve been wanting to play college soccer for my entire life, and it just means a lot to me. It’s something where I can grow as a leader and person. I’m really grateful PCC took that step, and hopefully it can be a step to different opportunities in order to impact the world for others and especially Christ.”
Others, like Paul Stewart, came to PCC eager to pursue a spot on the team and tried out during College Days last spring. “I’ve played on a lot of different teams—but this team is the most special,” he said. “I’ve grown as a player, but especially as a person. On the field, so many guys have your back—I’ve never been on a team quite like this.”
Goalie Taylor Jensen (Jr., ID) said, “My favorite part about being on the team is the friendships I’ve built this year. Spending every day with the guys has been a great experience—we have a lot of unique people with different backgrounds, and it has been fun to get to know all of them.”
Not all the Eagles soccer fans had the ability to make it to the games. Many of the players’ families enthusiastically cheered for the team from afar. Tracy Jensen was the mom who never missed a game when her son was growing up. She said, “As a parent of a player, it’s been so fun to watch the games that are streamed live. We live in northern Idaho and can’t really pop over for a game. I’m grateful to still be able to watch many of Taylor’s games—I still get nervous on game days!”
The Eagles soccer team is a young team with real potential. Coach Johnson—who received the 2016 NCCAA II Coach of the Year Award—believes the team could very well be competing on the national level much sooner than previously anticipated. He said, “We finished 10–8 in our first season and 1–1 in our first postseason. I have heard of college teams starting that don’t win a game for 2 or more years, so our start was exceptional. My goal is to play the best we are capable of and honor the Lord in doing so; that in itself is true success.”
The Eagles finished the season ranked fourth in the NCCAA Division II league.