By Sophie Afdhal, Sports Editor ||
If character and skill are what drive the F&M men’s soccer team, captain Dave Rosenfeld ’15 is the embodiment of that goal. The four-year starter and center-back has been captain for three years and has been described by Dan Wagner, head coach, as the ideal player. To Rosenfeld, the bonds of friendship formed on the team are extremely important and actually what drew him to the team in the first place.
“On my visit I realized the team was a big family,” Rosenfeld said. “I walked into the dining hall and saw them all eating together and that had a big impact on me. Division III soccer allows you a lot of time off the field, either academically or hanging out with the team off the field. You really get to know the other players and form a brotherhood with them. F&M offers a lot of academic opportunities that are not available at other schools. The combination of the brotherhood and those opportunities really attracted me to this school.”
Despite having been a four-year starter, Rosenfeld had to overcome initial adversity in order to reach that position.
“I came in my freshman year with a pretty devastating injury which I had to recover from and missed the first half of the season,” Rosenfeld said. “Once I recovered, I was able to work for and earn that starting position. Over my four years, I’ve progressed as a leader I hope. The confidence over the four years has grown and it has helped me communicate with the other players, letting them know where they need to be on the field.”
The team has recognized that leadership by consistently electing Rosenfeld as captain.
“Captain is voted on by the players and it means a lot that they voted me into this position three times,” Rosenfeld said. “My co-captain Chris Scott was also a captain last year. We live together and play center-back next to each other so it’s an easy transition for us to be co-captains. We know how to handle the team together and what things to do and not to do. Overall it’s been a great experience, and I know Chris is honored to be voted in as well.”
The leadership and team communication paid off for them last year given their success in the conference and NCAAs.
“The most memorable game is easily last year’s Conference Championship game,” Rosenfeld said. “We dealt with adversity in the game but won in overtime and Chris Scott, my co-captain and center back next to me, scored the game-winning goal. I couldn’t really describe the feeling when the goal went in. It was just pure euphoria. We celebrated for a good 15 minutes on the field.”
Following up the Centennial Conference Championship with a run in the NCAAs made for a long and rewarding season.
“It was a great experience, going to the NCAAs for the first time with some of the kids on the team,” Rosenfeld said. “Our Fall season went a month over and then we had our Spring season and then we went straight to South Africa. Essentially we spent six months together non-stop, which resulted in building a lot of bonds to last a lifetime. Going into this season it helped a lot to have this bond and gave us a lot of confidence starting off.”
That trip to South Africa holds great significance for Rosenfeld and served as not only an excellent volunteer opportunity but as another way to become closer as a team.
“My favorite off-field memory is our trip to Africa this summer,” Rosenfeld said. “We have the Chris Campbell Memorial Field there and did a week of work this summer. The whole team went, roughly 24 guys. That experience was life-changing and ranks as my number one experience as an F&M men’s soccer player.”
The tone of the team is set by the coach, and, in the case of the soccer team, it has been set as one of personal and team success with a focus on character. Rosenfeld and Wagner have developed a bond after so many seasons together.
“Coach Wagner was a huge draw to this school,” Rosenfeld said. “He’s a very down to earth guy who supports his players and makes them a first priority. He makes sure that their character and personality is right before their soccer game is, which means a lot to us.
“That is a big character trait that I admire in him,” he continued. “Over the years I’d like to consider Coach Wagner a friend. He’s someone I rely on as a confidant, and he helps me both on and off the field.”
Their collaborative relationship can be seen in the success of the seasons. As this season will be his last, Rosenfeld has high hopes and hopes to go out with a memorable final season.
“My goal is to keep building those friendships this year,” Rosenfeld said. “We keep expectations high for ourself on the field. We’re looking to win the conference again and make the NCAA tournament. We missed the final four by a game last year and the ultimate goal is to make the final four and get as close as we can to a national championship.”
Rosenfeld has established himself as a strong player over the years. The true testament of Rosenfeld’s time on the soccer team lies in his extremely positive feelings.
“I wouldn’t change a thing over the years,” Rosenfeld said,”I’ve enjoyed every experience I’ve had on the team.”
Senior Sophie Afdhal is the Sports Editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.