BRYN MAWR, Pa. – The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) men’s soccer team kicked off their fall 2023 season with a match against Harcum College on Friday, Aug. 18. The game took place in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and ended with a loss to Harcum College, 6-1. Despite the opening loss, the Hawks’ coaching staff and players have high expectations for the upcoming season.

CSM men’s soccer co-head coach Amine El Hachimi expressed optimism before the game, emphasizing the team’s preparation during the off-season. “As we head into the upcoming season, our team has been diligently preparing during the off-season, focusing on refining our strategies, style, system, and honing our skills,” El Hachimi said. “I believe we’ve built a cohesive and determined group ready to work together and face any challenges that come their way.”

The team features a blend of experience and fresh talent. Four returning players – Austin Rye, Joe Sampson, Elijah Saleik, and Nomen Felix Mbia Sampson – and a group of promising newcomers provides versatility and adaptability.

“One of our key strengths lies in our versatility, adaptability, and togetherness,” El Hachimi stated. “Austin, Felix, Eli, and Joe have proven themselves as valuable assets to our team. Their experience and leadership will be instrumental in guiding our newer players. I expect them to lead by example on and off the field.”

Regarding the new players, El Hachimi said, “Our group of first-year players brings fresh energy, talent, and infectious enthusiasm. I have high expectations for Eliass, Bailey, and Bilal and believe that their exceptional talent will significantly influence the team’s performance.”

Last season, the Hawks finished with a 5-9-1 overall record, failing to reach the postseason. However, the ambition for the current season goes beyond surpassing last year’s performance. The Hawks aim for individual and collective growth, contending for the region championship and building a solid foundation for the upcoming year.

“Our main message leading up to the start of the season is centered around unity and ‘all-together,'” El Hachimi emphasized. “Our collective effort, focus, and commitment to our shared goals will ultimately determine our success.”

The Hawks’ 2023 schedule includes a challenging match against CCBC Essex, ranked No. 2 in Division II, which will be played in La Plata on August 22.

“I’m particularly excited about witnessing the evolution of our team throughout the season,” El Hachimi said. “The progress each player makes and the memorable moments we create together truly define a successful season. I can’t wait to see the passion and determination of our players culminate in a thrilling and rewarding journey.”

Though the start of the season hasn’t been victorious, the team’s focus, unity, and ambition set the tone for what promises to be an exciting season for the College of Southern Maryland’s men’s soccer team.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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