Soccer Player Reflects on Season

UWM teams do well in many sports

By Maurice Childs

UWM is no stranger to the NCAA tournament; the university’s soccer and basketball sports both have teams that have been able to enter the tournament and play in the first round. Just when you would think that is enough, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, and men’s track and field have become Horizon League champions as well.

One member of a successful team took the time to reflect on the season with Media Milwaukee.

“It was exciting. When the final whistle blows and you get to put on your Horizon League Championship shirts and hold the trophy you feel like you really achieved something that you have been working for,” says Dustin Ashley, a defender for the UWM soccer team.

Attracting students also becomes less of a problem, administrators say. Successful sport programs have a higher chance of attracting students, which not only helps in recruitment, but also gives the students something to be proud of about their school. 

Director of University Recreation at UWM Steven Mohar says that program success helps the university stay strong, “Success of the athletic program really helps to elevate the profile of the institution. I think that it can definitely help in recruitment and retaining students.”

Although not the largest campus in the state, UWM has had the opportunity to compete against larger schools and its players have not just walked away quietly. When Milwaukee’s soccer team competed in the NCAA tournament, it competed against the Wisconsin Badgers and played well.

Ashley reflects on his battle with the Badgers, saying, “We played them in the regular season here at Englemann; it was a 1-1 game. We actually were beating them in the second half. Laurie Bell had a penalty kick, and he scored and we gave up a goal minutes later and that game was a tie.”

Ashley said the team knew the Badgers would be a “good team to play against the second time and that they would be prepared well; they are a Big 10 team. We feel like we held them pretty well; at the end of the day, we felt like we achieved something special regardless of winning or losing that game.”

With the profile of the school rising, the soccer team is going to be tested against better opponents. This is definitely not surprising but is not shaking the faith this defender has in his team.

“Our strength of schedule has gotten a little bit harder now that we have been doing better, every time we step into a game we expect to win, that is just the culture of our team,” he said.

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