The news site of UNC Wilmington

The Seahawk

The news site of UNC Wilmington

The Seahawk

The news site of UNC Wilmington

The Seahawk

Men’s soccer gears up for postseason

John Levering | Staff Writer November 4, 2014

In 2008, after finishing first in the Colonial Athletic Association and winning their first regular season conference championship, the UNC Wilmington men’s soccer team hosted the conference tournament...

Men’s soccer improvement offers optimism for next year

James Edmonds | Staff Writer February 4, 2013

The UNC Wilmington men's soccer team had a season full of ups and downs. The Seahawks were able to return to the CAA tournament, but it wasn't without struggle. "We knew going into the season that we...

An underdog story: The UNCW edition

McLeod Brown | Sports Editor January 23, 2013

If you have enough motivation, and commit yourself to a cause, it's amazing what you can accomplish. That was the logic behind the UNC Wilmington women's soccer team this year.In a span of 12 months, the...

An underdog rises: The UNCW edition

McLeod Brown | Sports Editor January 23, 2013

If you have enough motivation, and commit yourself to a cause, it's amazing what you can accomplish. That was the logic behind the UNC Wilmington women's soccer team this year.In a span of 12 months, the...

Rose looks to leave her mark on Seahawk soccer program

Louisa Currigan | Staff Writer September 19, 2012

Momentum is a powerful thing. But sometimes it's a grinding halt that ultimately brings us to our destination. Soccer player and Senior Stephanie Rose witnessed this principle firsthand during her first...

Ward leads men’s soccer team into the new year

Charles Cox | Staff Writer September 19, 2012

Last year's season was not the greatest for the UNCW men's soccer. But now, the team is beginning a new year with a new squad that will look to reclaim its spot as one of the CAA's top performers. In order...

Seahawks fall to Binghamton in tournament closer

Marty Simpkins | Staff Writer September 17, 2012

The UNC Wilmington men's soccer team ended the weekend on a sour note Sunday, losing their second game of the UNCW Hilton Garden Inn Classic to Binghamton, 3-2.The Bearcats scored the deciding goal with...

Leaving a Legacy

Marty Simpkins | Staff Writer September 6, 2012

For most college athletes, their last year is their final chance to make history for their program. UNC Wilmington senior men's soccer player Thomas Driver is looking for another chance to be part of a history making team.

"I was here when we won the first and only conference championship and our first NCAA tournament berth," Driver said, "I would like to get back to that and have that as a legacy: making this program a winning one."

Being one of only four seniors on the squad and also being responsible for scoring goals as a forward, the business marketing major feels that there is a sense of leadership that must be made both on and off the field.

"Being a veteran, you need to show leadership and show the younger guys what's going on and how the program is," said Driver.

Last season was an unfortunate one for the Seahawks. They finished the season with a record of four wins, 12 losses, and two ties. They did not win a single game on the road.

"I don't think being away was the main reason we lost those games. It was just our team dynamic and our team chemistry," Driver said. "We didn't really mesh well as a whole last year, but I think this year it's going to be a lot more positive, so things should turn around."

Another reason why the Seahawks lost so many games was because they were outscored in the second half after becoming worn down by the game, something Driver believes the Seahawks have already improved upon.

"We added some size on defense and hopefully that will help," he said. "Most of our goals were given up in the penalty box and that's how we've changed from last season so we can start winning in the box."

The 22 year-old from Greensboro, NC was one of only four players on the team to start and play in all 18 games of the 2011 season. Driver scored three goals and had two assists last year, but he hopes to be even better this season as he plans to go all out for his final year at UNCW.

"I would like to have a great year this season and possibly play professionally afterwards. We'll see if there's something at the next level for me."

The next UNCW home game will be Friday September 14thagainst Saint Mary's at 7 p.m.for the start of the Hilton Garden Inn Classic. The Hilton Classic is UNCW's own tournament that they host every year.

"It's something for us to look forward to and compete, because we want to win our own tournament," Driver said.


Men’s soccer team keeps the faith alive for the upcoming season

Lauren Clapper | Staff Writer August 30, 2012

For men's soccer coach Aidan Heaney, a levelheaded and dedicated approach to coaching has been the key to success for a team that was once at the bottom of its league.

"I decided that if I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this right," Heaney said.

Heaney, 42, a native of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, arrived at UNCW in 2001. He was offered the position to transform the soccer program while he was the coach of Appalachian State's team. Up to that point, UNCW's men's team consistently lost more games than it won.

Heaney began rebuilding the team by recruiting new players. Thanks to his previous job as a coach for the North Carolina Olympic development team, he knew a multitude of young players who would be a good fit for the team.

"We had talented players, but we also had the sense that they were good kids for the program," he said. "It was harder to convince them to take a leap of faith when you had nothing to base it on. They had to show some faith that, yes, they were willing to come on board."

Starting his first season in 2001 with a roster of nine freshmen, Heaney saw improvements from the start.

"We saw changes right away," he said. "We changed the whole expectations of the program. It wasn't just that [the players] showed up to training, but it was also their lifestyle, how they lived."

From 2001 on, the men's soccer team has steadily risen to the top of the CAA. In 2003 the Seahawks reached the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Tournament for the first time in two years, and in 2004, Heaney was awarded with the CAA Coach of the Year Award.

In 2009, the team received their second conference regular season title and won their first CAA championship. That year, they also played in the NCAA tournament, reaching the second round. Heaney attributes these successes to the good character and strong ethic of the players, describing them as mentally tough.

During this past season, however, due to injuries taking out two of the team's key players, the Seahawks did not perform as well as they had in previous years. They did not reach the CAA conference, finishing the 2011 season 4-12-2.

Yet despite this disappointing year following consistent improvement for nearly a decade, Heaney maintains his steadfast style. When asked about this past season, he confidently brushed it off, accepting it as part of the game.

"I think it was one of those years," he said. "You evaluate everything. And the thing that I keep coming back to was that we had a fairly large freshman class; I don't think everyone was quite on board and pushing in the same direction."

Yet he did not let this intimidate or deter him. The same drive that kept players pushing to improve the team in 2001 is alive today, due in part to a combination of Heaney's ability to faciliate excellence and, more importantly, confidence in his players.

"It made me more driven," he said. "You just have to keep the faith that, even though [the team] wasn't good enough last year, we can make it right."

After the season ended, the players received a week off and before they began conditioning and training for the 2012 season, taking a break only during summer vacation. The result was a vast improvement in group dynamic and chemistry between the players.

This, according to Heaney, was something already inherent in the athletes' abilities. As a coach, he merely facilitated the talent within the team, drawing out the best in them.

In addition to training, one of the things Heaney said never fails to bolster the team's spirits and performance is support from the university.

"When you're playing at home, you love to have the advantage of the home support," he said. "It does make a difference when you know your fellow students, faculty and staff support you. It really gives the players a lift. We want to put a good product on the field that [the school] can be proud of."

The team's next home game will be September 14 against Saint Mary's.

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