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Soccer Standouts Ready for the Season 

 

By: Alyssa Abbonizio Lion’s Eye Staff Writer, aqa5498@psu.edu

 

With fall sports underway, the men and women’s soccer team look to garner winning seasons. The women’s soccer team looks to return to the championship game after making it there in Brandywine’s inaugural year. The men’s team looks to return to playoffs after being upset in the first round last season.

Senior Bill Walleekendeh and sophomore captain James Cellucci lead the men’s team as they are looking to make it to the PSUAC championship. A human development and family studies major, James has been playing soccer since he was little. His parents got him playing as a child and he’s been playing ever since. When he was in high school, his high school coach had a big influence on him and because of him he decided to continue playing in college. Last season, James was named an USCAA All-American and a Second Team All-PSUAC.

“When I heard it I was surprised,” says James. “My friend Joe showed me and I wouldn’t have ever known unless he told me.”

When asked about being named captain, he said,

“It’s pretty cool. It’s an honor and cool to be a sophomore captain.”

One of James’ memorable moments happened in the first game of this season; he scored off a free kick. Being a defensive player, you rarely get chances to score so when he scored off a free kick, it was a big deal.

“I was really surprised and very happy to score my first goal in college off a free kick,” he explains. “Pure shock was going through my head.”

Bill started playing soccer because it’s a major sport in his country, Liberia. He came to Brandywine because of its proximity and he decided to join the soccer team. Bill is the all-time points leader in Brandywine history for soccer and this makes him feel great. “It makes me want to work more and prove I’m the leading scorer and keep doing it when I step on the field,” he explained. “It motivates me to keep working hard.” Bill knew he would play in college but never thought he would make history. He didn’t think it would happen. In his first game of his senior season, he scored five goals against Central Penn. Once he scored his fifth goal, he kept thinking, “31 more goals so I can reach 100 goals in my college career.”

This season he’s looking forward to his first PSUAC championship, scoring 100 goals, going to nationals with a winning soccer team, and graduating. Both Bill and James like the new coach, Jesse Zafiratos, and feel the team has “adapted well with him.”

On the woman’s side, returning sophomore Laura Delgadillo and senior Jen Lindauer are looking to return to the championship game in the program’s second season. A business major, Laura is in her fourth year of playing soccer and wanted to play because she loves the sport and loves high intensity games. Last season, the team lost in penalty kicks to Penn State Beaver in the championship.

“The reason we lost is because the team fell apart at the end,” says Laura. “It motivated the team and me to work better as a unit to be able to compete and win a championship.”

With an almost totally different team this season, she thinks the team definitely has what it takes to return to the championship and win. Laura was a member of the historic inaugural season of women’s soccer at Penn State Brandywine and never thought she would be a part of history.

“I never thought I would be a part of history at this college or through the woman’s soccer team,” says Laura. “But I’m glad I was and hopefully the program gets better and better each year.” Looking forward to the season, she hopes to destroy Beaver and be able to enjoy the championship game with the new freshman and returning players.

Jen’s story is different from these players. She had never touched a soccer ball in her life. She grew up playing lacrosse and never thought she would play soccer in her junior year of college.

“The first time I touched a soccer ball was last year,” says Jen. “So I’m always trying to improve my foot skill.”

Being a part of the team last season, she was a part of history being on the first-ever team at Penn State Brandywine. She didn’t expect the team to make it all the way to the championship in its inaugural season.

“I didn’t think we were making history until I looked back on the season and was like ‘wow’ we’re the first ever Brandywine team,” she explains. “We made it to the championship with players who’ve never touched a ball.”

With a lot of new talent this season, the team works together, Jen and the returning players, are looking to come back with a vengeance and dominate the conference to winning the conference and going to nationals. You can catch Jen, Laura, Bill, and James in action on the field this fall by checking their schedule on Brandywine’s athletic website.

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