The men's soccer team celebrates in a game this year. Photo / Dylan Hickerson Rowan Athletics

We need confidence every day. Confidence to raise your hand in class. Confidence to make that left hand turn across three lanes. Confidence to submit that paper you’ve been working on. It’s important for building trust with yourself, others and our surroundings.

Confidence is also important in the world of sports as it is a determining factor in achieving goals, as a player and as a team.

“Confidence is a very fragile thing, and it certainly is something that has to start with your mental approach and your ability to respond and stay focused and not allow negative thoughts to enter into your own mind,” Super Bowl champion head coach, Bill Cowher, said. “When you’re successful, it’s easier to expect success. All of a sudden it’s not there, it becomes more of a challenge.”

#22 Rowan men’s soccer saw their unbeaten streak of six games end in Union, New Jersey, as they lost to Kean University 2-1 on Oct. 5.

With obstacles prior to the game, they did not play their best soccer. 

The team had a week off leading up to their next match against New Jersey City University (NJCU). The end result was much better. They took care of NJCU with a 5-0 victory. 

Freshman Chad Yates, who scored two goals in the victory, felt that the team regained their confidence after the tough loss to Kean. 

“Just getting out there on the field and being able to get some goals on the board, that definitely helped us,” Yates said. 

Coach Scott Baker knows that the team’s confidence is always there and does not want this confidence to go higher or lower game to game. For him, he would rather have his team feel “super” confident every game.

“Obviously, every game’s not going to go our way as we’ve already learned,” Baker said. “But if you start the game with the confidence that we should have, because of the level of our players, that’s what we want to see as coaches. We want to take the field [with confidence] and if they do that, that makes us that much tougher than the opponent.”

Yates believes that maintaining confidence will be important with four games remaining. 

“Knowing that we’re able to bounce back after a tough loss and proving we can still put goals away,” Yates said. “Going into the next couple of games, it’s definitely going to be important to carry that on through, and especially throughout the playoffs, we need to keep playing our best [soccer] and making sure we put [goals] away.”

With the team’s confidence at an all time high, Baker still feels there is some room for improvement in order to be a better team with the season coming to a close, especially one with confidence.

“Like every other aspect of our game, I think we can improve in our confidence,” Baker said. “I think putting some wins and stringing some real great performances together will help a lot in [our confidence].”

But Baker believes there’s still a lot left to be desired in terms of finding out what the team’s best looks like, which the team will keep pushing for as they try to finish the season strong. 

“We want the team to realize how great they are, to take the field with that confidence but also with that focus that we’ve been talking about all year and we’ve called it discipline as well,” Baker said. “To take the field and compete at a really high level because that’s where we’re at.”

With four games remaining, Yates believes the team’s mindset going into the rest of the season is focused on coming out to the games and playing at their very best, no matter the result, and making sure everyone is working hard and staying on the same page.

“Each opponent’s different so we’re going to have to make sure we’re studying them and knowing what they do well and what they don’t and what we can exploit when we go to these games and just really making sure we focus and make sure to do the best that we can,” Yates said.

Staying focused for the entire 90 minutes and extra time, if it gets there, will help lead the team to more big wins going into the rest of the season.

“In soccer, it takes one little slip up,” Yates said. “It could be 30 seconds, two seconds, any little thing can mess you up and ruin the whole season, especially going into the playoffs.”

#22 Rowan travels to Camden, New Jersey as they play Rutgers-Camden this Thursday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.

Rowan will be back home to host Rutgers-Newark on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m.

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