Fall preview – Men’s soccer starts strong

Having already matched the number of wins for last year’s entire season, the GW men’s soccer team shows few signs of apprehension on the soccer field.

The Colonials have already faced some tough competition including the Virginia Military Institute and Georgetown, and stand at ???. The strong start to the season marks a big turnaround from last year, when the team tied and won its first two matches only to lose 10 out of the next 11 games.

Things are looking up, said head coach George Lidster.

But the Colonials will have to do without the play of team captain Michael Goldman for an undetermined amount of time. The midfielder underwent exploratory knee surgery Saturday.

The loss of Goldman will force the team to make some changes, Lidster said.

It’s tough losing a player of his caliber, Lidster said. It will take us a while to adjust.

Players said they remain positive despite the recent setback.

We can take it (Goldman’s loss) in a positive way, sophomore midfielder Riccardo Forno said. It will force everyone to step up.

The Colonials used their turnaround spirit in their victory over St. Francis College (N.Y.), portraying continued aggressiveness and desire to win.

Lidster said the team’s youth and a new home field will be major factor’s in the team’s success.

Trinidad recruit Sean Ross, junior Matt Pilkington and freshman Fabio Andrade have shown impressive play early in the season. Lidster said he looks to his experienced players to serve as leaders for the younger members of the team.

The new soccer complex under construction at the Mount Vernon campus could attract more fan support.

(The field) will give us something to be proud of, Lidster said. It will give us some security and a big boost.

In 12 years as GW men’s soccer head coach, George Lidster said he has never been happier. He has a young and vibrant team that possesses more confidence and control on the soccer field than seen in recent years.

This is going to be a good team, Lidster said, labeling this as a rebuilding year. We’re very young.

Lidster’s team’s successes come as no surprise to fans who know his history. He was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year after the team’s booming success in 1989 in his second season in charge of the program. Leading the Colonials to its first regular-season A-10 championship in 1992, he was named co-Coach of the Year.

Lidster has won more games than any other coach in GW history. In his first season with the Colonials in 1987, he was selected as the NCAA South Atlantic Region Coach of the Year, an honor that goes to one coach from each of eight regions across the nation.

Lidster’s soccer knowledge comes from his personal experiences on the playing fields of Europe’s top leagues. He began his playing career with New Castle United and then played for Darlington FC.

Despite his team’s significant turnaround early this season, Lidster said his focus has remained the same as it has been in past seasons.

We just have better personnel this year and more stability, Lidster said.

Lidster said he has made a few small adjustments to his coaching style this year.

I’ve been a bit more vocal this year, Lidster said.

Because of this style, Lidster said he has not set any season goals or expectations. The coach wants to stress fitness and intensity.

Every game is going to be hard-fought, Lidster said.

Lidster fosters very strong and friendly relationships with his players.

Players said they feel comfortable with their coach, even referring to him by his first name.

He’s a great guy, Forno said.

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