Alejandro Solana // Staff Writer
The defending Conference-USA champions are well into their young season, and the Panthers have plenty of new faces playing alongside a large senior class.
Head coach Scott Calabrese has shown he will not only rely on his eight seniors suiting up for FIU this season, but also expect strong play from his younger and more experienced players.
Players like redshirt-freshman midfielder, Andrew Booth, may not have been able to contribute last season but know they will have the chance this season to play significant minutes.
“Andrew has worked hard this spring and he continues to improve,” Calabrese told Student Media back in February of 2016, hinting toward more playing time for the young Tamarac native.
Through four games of the 2016 campaign, more minutes to younger, newer faces is exactly what we have seen from FIU, specifically Booth who has played in all but one game this season.
Making his first start in his collegiate career at the College of Charleston — a game FIU won 3-1 — Booth played a career-high 87 minutes. Since making his first start, Calabrese has inserted Booth into every game thus far, bringing him on as a substitute in the midfield.
Although he was redshirted his freshman season, Booth is no stranger to action on the pitch. The 5-foot-10 midfielder was invited to train with the Jamaican U-20 national team in February of 2016.
The early part of the season for new starters and role players can be difficult, leading to nerves and bad play on the field. Booth prefers to stay level headed and calm before games, saying sometimes even “too calm.”
FIU gets underway with conference play as the University of Kentucky Wildcats make their way down to Miami on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. The Panthers lost to Kentucky last season, 1-0, in Lexington.