Nicholas Poblete/Asst. Sports Director
For the undefeated men’s soccer team, the new season presents a dilemma: recovering from the loss of seven seniors.
“You can’t replace them [seniors], and we are not going to replace them, but we’re going to continue to develop with the guys we have here,” head coach Kevin Nylen said.
Among those seniors who led the team last fall was Paul Marie. Since his fall graduation, Marie participated in the 2017 Major League Soccer combine, held in Orlando, Florida. The French native was then drafted by the San Jose Earthquakes in the first round of the MLS Superdraft, chosen as the 12th overall pick.
Marie registered eight goals his senior year, with six assists. Marie has yet to make his MLS debut. Currently, he is playing for the Earthquakes affiliated United Soccer League team, Reno 1868 FC.
The spring season allowed the coaching staff to discover those players that will lead the team this upcoming Fall.
“Guys will now be forced and asked to become more of a senior or a leader in their own way,” Nylen said.
The men’s soccer team count on players who are now entering their final collegiate year, and will be looked at by the under classmen to inspire and lead them. Goalkeeper Hugo Fauroux, defender Simen Olafsen and forward Santiago Patiño comprise the spine of the team.
Fauroux played 1,507 minutes for the Panthers last Fall and registered three shutouts, with 55 saves. The French goalie will be a pivotal component for the Panthers this upcoming fall. His leadership from the back will help the team keep its composure.
Olafsen played 1,249 minutes last fall and received five yellow cards. Olafsen, who transferred to FIU last summer, created an exceptional partnership with now graduated Marvin Hezel. Now its Olafsen’s turn to lead the backline and use his experience to help the younger players.
Patiño, who was awarded many accolades during the fall, will be in charge of leading the team from the frontline. He scored 15 goals in 1,161 minutes played, assisting on five occasions. His physical strength will give the team a strong presence pressuring the opposing defense.
Life goes on, and it wouldn’t be prudent to dwell on the loss of the seniors, which is part of the evolution, Nylen said. The head coach did not disclose who the captains for the 2018 fall season would be.