Fall Sports Preview: Leading by example

Nine seniors on the GW men’s soccer team have experienced tough times during their GW careers. The Colonials never won more than five games in the veterans’ freshmen and sophomore years. Now they look to go for it all in their last season together.

After Dayton knocked GW out of last season’s Atlantic 10 Championship in the first round, the team returns with a new field and hopes of making this season their best yet.

“We’ve been through a few years of hardship, and we’re looking to change that this year,” midfielder Michael Goldman said. “We’re basically just following the lead of Nick Parypinski. He’s the biggest key to everything.”
Parypinski, the senior goalkeeper, played every minute last season and finished ranked 14th in the nation with more than six saves a game.

When asked about being the senior leader of this year’s team, Parypinski deflected the praise, saying, “It’s a big responsibility, but there are a bunch of us on the team who are leaders.”

Other seniors who play in the backfield include Ted Tucker, Bjarni Thrastarson, Fridrik Omarsson and Gregg Friedman.

Senior Jason Holloway, a forward who ranks second on the team with 30 career points stresses the importance of defensemen. Even if he can’t always understand them.

“Bjarni is one of the most talkative players on the team, even though when he got here I couldn’t understand a word he was saying,” Holloway said. Thrastarson is one of the two Colonials from Iceland. “He’s definitely a leader on the field.”

Holloway described the muscular 5-foot-10 Omarsson, the team’s other Icelander, as the team’s intimidation factor.

“Fridrik is somebody who I wouldn’t want to go against if I was on the other team,” he said. Omarsson has started every game in his GW career and scored his first goal last season.

Like Omarsson, Ted Tucker has provided leadership with his performance on the field.

“Ted’s a person who leads by his actions and not his words,” Holloway said. “We feed off his play.”

Holloway said Friedman is respected for the technical skills he brings to the defense.

“Gregg has a lot of experience and is very mechanically sound,” Holloway said. “He provides stability when he is in the game.”

Holloway considers midfielder Bucky Bennett, who started three games his freshmen year, a key to the team’s chemistry.

“Bucky is a person with a lot of experience who always keeps the spirit up at practice and makes sure everyone is working hard,” Holloway said.

Next year’s team will have an entirely different makeup after the nine seniors graduate. But while they are here, the veteran players are teaching and giving advice to the younger, more inexperienced players.

“Most younger players are not ready for the pounding their bodies are going to take on a daily basis,” Goldman said. “Just being able to be pulled through is a big part of being an upperclassmen on this team.”

Goldman should know. He sat out last year with a knee injury and credits his teammates for helping him return.

Goldman said he has not made post-graduation plans.

“I have a couple leads in the Czech Republic, professionally, and I am following those,” he said. “But also, I am looking into the management-consulting business. I might try to play over there for a few years.”

The veterans are making an effort to ease the life for the freshmen players. Holloway said this is luxury he was never afforded but knows what it can do for team performance.

“As seniors, we treat everyone with respect, which wasn’t always the case in the past,”he said. “Were a fun group of individuals. And when you’re having fun, you play better.”

So just how far do these seniors believe they can go with their new field and core of veterans?

“We have some work to do, but I think we could probably win the A-10’s,” Parypinski said.

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