MEQUON, Wis. – The Concordia University Wisconsin Men's Soccer program has been a model of consistency for the past 19 seasons. The Falcons have won at least 10 games 19 each season and part of the reason is having outstanding players and great coaches. Another part of the equation is having great leaders, players that play the role of team captain and make sure everyone is doing their part on the team.
In 2013 head coach Tom Saleska named senior Jacob Pope (Muskego, Wis.), junior Diego Campos (Milwaukee, Wis.) and sophomore Paul Stuebs (Neenah, Wis.) team captains. Those three will be looked upon to lead a team comprised of mostly underclassmen to another success season on the pitch.
"All three players are not only outstanding players but bring something different as a leader to our team," said Saleska who has compiled a 257-118-34 record in 20 seasons as the Falcons head coach. "Paul is a quiet, lead by example type, while Jacob is our physical leader and Diego takes a more verbal approach to his leadership."
With training camp a few days in and the Falcons having game one on slate just less than two weeks from today, the trio of captains will be looked upon to help the team gel right away. With several newcomers on board this fall, Pope feels that bringing the team together early can be done by giving the new players a sense of belonging.
"We don't have a lot of time before the season starts so it's very important for us to show that we care and that we want this to be a close team," said Pope, who is now in his second season as a team captain. "Letting the newcomers know we notice them and care for them helps our team grow."
Pope has high expectations for the 2013 Falcons squad and rightfully so considering he has been a part of a program that has won 36 games over the past three seasons, including 24 in conference play.
"I feel we can be pretty good this year despite being young because we have a lot of good freshman," Pope said. "There are a lot of spots up for grabs, and that makes everyone work a little bit harder
Campos also has high expectations for the upcoming season, citing last year's run that saw the Falcons fall 2-1 in the NAC Championship match against Dominican University.
"We had a good season last year and left a lot of chances in that championship game," said Campos, a player who led the team with nine assists last year after transferring from UW-Milwaukee. "We have set the bar pretty high and expect to compete again this year."
While the expectations are set high again in 2013 all three players know that they must lead not only on the field, but off the field as well. Each player has learned from past captains and has taken note of what it takes to be a successful captain.
"We need to set a good example both on and off the field," said Stuebs, who is in his second-year with the Falcons after transferring from North Greenville University. Campos has also learned from past teams that strong communication will need to be a key component for CUW's success this season.
There are several different types of leaders and this upcoming season the Falcons will have three captains who will bring something different to the table. Led by those three CUW should be able to continue the consistency it has shown for the past two decades.