Lopes rally around big turnout amidst unusual season
By: Maria Adams/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff
The more, the merrier.
Grand Canyon University Men’s Club Soccer adopted that mindset this year as more than 60 students joined the 2020-21 roster. The Lopes faced a year of limited game play and COVID-19 restrictions, but with enough players to make three separate teams full of determined athletes, they still managed to flourish through the chaos.
“I am really impressed by the commitment and the individual responsibility of each player,” said Lopes’ senior Brandon Wishman. “It is always a bit difficult having to work with up to 60 people – especially being six feet apart at times – but when it works, it works really well. It’s been awesome to be a part of.”
With the regular league games and tournaments canceled, Lopes’ Head Coach Petar Draksin put together a spring schedule that consisted of games against several local club and semi-professional teams. Despite struggling to muster up a win on the season, Draksin was impressed by the three GCU teams’ abilities to put up a fight against top-notch competition.
“We did everything we could to give them as many games as possible,” said Draksin. “They were playing some very high-level teams. All three teams battled hard and possessed a ‘never give up’ attitude.”
The real victory was found in the hard work and leadership of the captains on each of the teams.
“Our student leaders were amazing,” said Draksin. “There were times that the coaching staff and I took a step back and empowered them to take control and lead. That’s what it is all about: giving the students the opportunity to grow.”
Regardless of what obstacles the Lopes encountered, their drive and passion for the game propelled them through, and they will continue to lean on these foundations as they enter a more ‘normal’ season next fall.
“They played hard and played for each other,” said Draksin. “It was so rewarding to see these students play the game they love. Now, we are excited to get back into a regular season against other universities next year.”
Interested in adding to the GCU Club Soccer roster? Contact Coach Draksin today!