Archive

ShareThis Page
International flavor makes right mix for Seton Hill men’s soccer | TribLIVE.com
District College

International flavor makes right mix for Seton Hill men’s soccer

402646gtrsetonhill1110218
Seton Hill men’s soccer will play Millersville in the PSAC semifinals at 11 a.m. Friday at West Chester.

From the small campus to friendly environment to seasonal changes and wide open spaces, Seton Hill meets all of Henrik Berg’s requirements for post-high school education.

There’s just one catch.

“Not having a car is such a disadvantage,” Berg said. “I can walk downtown sometimes, though there’s not as many shops and restaurants. Sometimes, someone will drive somewhere outside of town, which is nice, but you really need a car if you want to go somewhere off-campus.”

Berg, a sophomore forward on the men’s soccer team, isn’t alone in his plight. The Asa, Sweden native is one of 19 international players for the Griffins, who play Millersville in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference semifinals at 11 a.m. Friday at West Chester.

Not having a vehicle creates transportation problems, but there are a few benefits, too.

“I really enjoy the school because it’s small and everyone is so nice to each other, especially the soccer team. It’s like we’re one big family,” sophomore forward Alex Dysen said.

Like Berg, Dysen is from Sweden — his hometown is Norrtalje — and both said occasionally being “stuck on campus” with teammates from England, Norway, Greece, Wales, Canada and Australia and, of course, the United States, helped forge a bond that is evident on the field.

It’s helped the Griffins overcome several injuries — Seton Hill has used 12 defenders this season — and the ups and downs of the rigorous PSAC schedule.

“Definitely one of our core strengths is our ability to bounce back. This group has that fighting spirit,” said Dan McCarty, the only coach in Seton Hill men’s soccer history. “With all our international players at the core of this group, we have technically good and technically aware players. There’s just that family feel. These guys don’t want to let each other down. They do unselfish things for the good of the team.”

Seton Hill (7-4-7) is the tournament’s sixth seed, clinching a spot in the postseason with a 1-1 draw against No. 14 West Chester in the regular-season finale.

That fighting spirit was on display against West Chester and also Tuesday night at Gannon in the opening round of the conference tournament.

Archie Lock, a freshman midfielder from Bristol, England, put the Griffins ahead 1-0 late in the second half only to see Gannon score the equalizer a couple of minutes later. The match went to penalty kicks, and Seton Hill advanced, 5-4. Four of the five players — Lock, Colin Watson (Great Britain), Jack Wardale (Great Britain) and John Trollsas (Sweden) — who scored on PKs are part of the Griffins’ large international contingent.

“Winning that way in a shootout, it was pure joy,” Berg said. “There was a lot of relief in winning that game.”

It’s a winning formula that’s been brewing for about a decade.

McCarty credits former Seton Hill player and current volunteer assistant coach Dilveer Chaggar — a native of London — with beginning the influx of international talent. Players such as Berg and Dysen ended up in Greensburg after applying to agencies that help place international student-athletes at U.S. colleges. Applicants pick the type of schools they prefer, whether it’s an urban campus or somewhere smaller. The players attend showcases, talk to coaches and find the right fit.

It’s been a boon for McCarty, who has won 124 games in 15 years at Seton Hill and has led the Griffins to the PSAC final four for the third time since 2014.

“Not only do they bring something to the team and the campus community, as far as soccer is concerned, they train differently. They have higher soccer IQs, and they’ve helped our domestic players,” McCarty said. “For me, the management of the players is a little bit different because they’re different players. We rely more on athleticism here. These guys rely on angles and other things.”

Seton Hill’s top four goalscorers are Dysen (five goals, four assists), Berg (five goals, two assists), England native Joffe Bradley (three goals) and Norway’s Per Stenseth (Norway). The Griffins’ top distributor is Norway’s Tormod Staal Simonsen with eight assists.

And if they continue to play well, Seton Hill could be playing past the conference tournament.

“I think our strength is we play a full 90 minutes and overtime if we have to,” Dysen said. “We always seem to have a bit more to give. Against Gannon, they were tired, but we could keep on going. We pride ourselves on working harder.”

Mike Kovak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mike at mkovak@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MKovak_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.