Men's Soccer |
Oct. 27, 2011
By Jeremy Powers
What does it mean to be a Bearcat?
For soccer players Sam Klosterman and D.J. Albert being a Bearcat now as a senior is drastically different from when they first enrolled at UC as freshmen in 2008. To them it seems like the four years have come and gone like the blink of an eye.
"This is some place where I come from now," Klosterman said. "It's more than just saying I'm going to be a UC Bearcat like I did when I was first coming in."
"Coming in as a freshman I came in looking at all these older guys that had been in the program and seeing the way they were when they graduated was something I always thought about," Albert said. "Being here as a senior and being a Bearcat is a great honor and something that is going to be with me the rest of my life."
In the midst of a season that has not lived up to expectations, Klosterman and Albert still know that they must remain senior leaders for a team that has a lot of young talent and promise for years to come. They both know what it feels like to mature within a program and want to be regarded the same way the seniors were when they both arrived to UC.
"Now that I'm in a role like this it's changed and now I have the experience that I can pass onto others," Albert said. "I think the different perspective coming from a freshman to a senior is the development of being the person who has been there."
"Your still trying to find your role and how you are going to best help the team, but now you're trying to help the team by helping other guys as well," Klosterman said. "It's now a two fold thing because your still worried about how you are going to play, but also how you are going to help the new guys coming in to adjust to playing college level soccer."
Head Coach Hylton Dayes believes that both Klosterman and Albert share many of the same senior-like qualities because they were brought up together within the program. From their progression on the soccer field to their striving demeanor to succeed in the classroom, both of these athletes are perfect role models for their younger teammates.
"They have really been great ambassadors for the program," Dayes said. "They have both been players who have contributed from day one. They are both guys that lead by example and they go about their work with a quiet demeanor and get it done, they are guys that you can count on."
Along with the relationships with their teammates, the relationship with their coach has strengthened over the past four years. Klosterman recalls sometimes butting heads with Dayes early in his career. Now, their relationship has not only grown stronger, but they are both on the same page with what's important for the program to succeed.
"I think this year he has embraced his role as somebody that can help as a leader and somebody who is willing to play different positions," Dayes said. "In the past Sam was someone who would take a little while to gain an understanding of what we were trying to do, but now he gets it and is willing to pass it off to the other guys."
"We didn't always see eye to eye and had different views on stuff," Klosterman said. "Over the last couple years and especially this year the relationship has really changed. He knows and I know that being a senior here and having the most experience is really crucial to getting through to these other guys. He's been real supportive of me."
Klosterman and Albert will both be featured in a pre-game celebration before their final home game against St. John's at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Both Dayes and the seniors understand it will be an emotional time, but they still realize that this is also the start of more to come in their lives. It's a moment that any student athlete will always remember.
"You're not going to be coaching them, you're not going to be interacting with them on a daily basis anymore," Dayes said. "You're not going to look out there and see Sam and D.J. playing for you, so it is emotional. We always give our seniors on senior day a chance in the locker room to say a few words to the team before we go out and play. It's an opportunity for them to verbalize their emotions on their day."
"Over the past years I have always been the guy that has gotten teary eyed when I looked at my seniors that have disappeared," Albert said. "It's a very surreal feeling. It's a feeling of excitement that I'm almost done, but I'm also going to miss it."