Last week, sophomore men’s soccer forward Jack Sauls was awarded the men’s soccer WCC Player of the Week. Asst. Sports Editor Nick Rossi met with Sauls to talk about his own personal success and to gain insight into his team’s Cinderella season.
Nick Rossi (N.R.): What has been the key to your own personal success as of late with the Player of the Week award?
Jack Sauls (J.S.): Definitely our system of play: it’s a lot focused on getting the ball out to our wingers and then having them try to find me or Francis [Avoce] in the middle of the field and relying on us to score. I’ve been productive at it lately and he has too.
N.R.: In what areas has your team improved the most this season?
J.S.: Definitely this season from past years — our chemistry. Our team culture has gone up big time. We did a lot of team bonding in preseason. Our style of play changed with the coaching change, that helped also.
N.R.: How have you guys been able to exceed so many of your expectations this season?
J.S.: We rely heavily on culture. Just not getting on top of each other and working hard. We’re just trying to be blue collar [and] work as hard as possible for one another and play good soccer. But make sure we have each other’s back the whole time.
N.R.: Would you say the preseason poll served as a motivator?
J.S.: It definitely has motivated us. One of our coaches gave us a talk right when that poll came out. He was not yelling at us, but trying to get us hyped up for it — to prove everyone wrong. And ... up until this point we’ve done a good job of proving everyone wrong. It was definitely a big motivator for us this season.
N.R.: With the season almost over, how do you feel looking back at it right now?
J.S.: I feel good about the season we’ve had up until this point. We had a few unlucky games where if they went our way we would be really high up in the standings for the country. But ...if we win this weekend, our season won’t be over for a while, hopefully, with the tournament.
N.R.: Looking forward to next year, how can you guys replicate the success you have had this season?
J.S.: We don’t have really any kids leaving. We’ll have the same core of our team and we’ll keep our culture. I think having the same base of our team will really help with next year.