As senior goalkeepers Pat Breen and PJ Goodwin prepare to play in their last game as members of the Oswego State men’s soccer team before graduating, they have been taking a look back at how their soccer careers started. Two completely different paths brought them to Oswego State, where they have pushed each other to be the best that they can be.
Breen joined the team as a freshman in 2008, while Goodwin transferred to Oswego State in his sophomore year in 2009. The two have been in constant competition for playing time since then, while both assuming leadership roles. Despite having two very different definitions of leadership, both Breen and Goodwin have helped push this young team to the doorstep of the playoffs.
Goodwin leads by example and hopes that the effort he shows on the field serves as a guideline for the rest of his teammates. His biggest goal as a leader of this team is keeping the younger guys in line and having them understand how to be part of a college soccer team on the field.
“I mostly lead by example on the field, making sure that the communication is positive, and that everything is running smoothly,” Goodwin said.
Breen, who was named captain this year, also tries to lead by example, but in a slightly different way.
“In terms of leadership, I try and lead by example, whether it’s on the field, off the field or in the weight room. I kind of let my work ethic do the talking,” Breen said. “You’re going to find me in the weight room at least three or four times a week. Every practice, I like to stick around a little bit and put in some extra work and some guys take notice and stick around as well. I also like to keep track of some of the guy’s injuries and check up on them in the training room to see how they are feeling and whether or not they’re going to be in practice. The team has to benefit and that’s all part of being a captain.”
Breen is as much of a leader off the field as he is on the field. He takes his leadership role off the field very seriously. He helps keep players in line by making sure they are attending their classes and keeping in touch with them throughout the week in an effort to keep them out of trouble.
“I understand that we’re in college, so I’m not going to be the bad guy and tell guys they can’t do this, and they can’t do that,” Breen said. “I just try to maintain order within the team in an effort to keep guys out of trouble.”
Breen’s road to becoming a leader has been turbulent. After being recruited by head coach Robert Friske, Breen joined the soccer team with high hopes. Once arriving at Oswego State however, he was surprised to find out that he was one of six goalies on the roster. He did not see any playing time his freshman year.
After working hard in the offseason, Breen entered his sophomore year confident he would gain more playing time. But, it became apparent to Breen that he was not going to get much playing time during the season, which began to get to his head. He recalls wanting to step away from the team in an effort to clear his mind. He took the 2010 season off, and after rigorous offseason training, he returned in 2011 and finally earned a role on the field.
“My first start last year against Hamilton, it was rainy day and unfortunately we lost 2-0, but I was very happy with the way I played. It was huge for me because the experience in goal definitely helped me get better and put me in the position that I’m in today,” Breen said.
Breen has appeared in six games this year, but has yet to log a victory. Looking back on his career, he points out this season’s overtime thriller against New Paltz. Despite losing in double overtime, Breen registered an outstanding 11 saves, while only allowing one goal.
Coach Friske has noticed how much Breen has grown throughout his career at Oswego State.
“Breen has done a great job in every regard, since his freshman year. He has really excelled this year,” Friske said. “He put in a lot of work in the off-season and he’s kept it up during the fall. Breen has been exceptional during this time, showing great dedication.”
Goodwin’s path to Oswego State is very different than the path traveled by Breen. He arrived at Oswego State as a transfer student from Wilkes University his sophomore year. Once he decided he was going to transfer to Oswego State, he contacted coach Friske and expressed his interest in playing for the soccer team. After making the team, Goodwin started his career trying to put the ball in the goal, as opposed to protecting the net.
“My first year here I played in the field rather than in goal. I played striker, so cementing a spot was just mostly waiting my turn and fighting for playing time,” Goodwin said.
He played in 12 games his sophomore year, starting six of them. He scored his first career goal against Geneseo. After a strong start to the season in the field, Friske decided to try Goodwin out in goal. He impressed and earned some time in goal. He appeared in four games as goalie, starting two of them, and compiled a 1-1-0 record. His performance put him on top of the depth chart the following year.
Goodwin started 15 games and posted a record of 5-9-1, recording 64 saves during the 2011 season. He recorded three shutouts during the course of the season against Nazareth, Roberts Wesleyan and RIT. Goodwin was recognized for his strong play and was named Oswego State athlete of the week Oct. 8.
The 2012 season has seen Goodwin and Breen split playing time throughout the course of the year. Goodwin has started nine games and has posted a record of 4-5-0, while Breen has started five games and has a record of 0-4-1. Breen has 35 saves on the season and has not allowed more than two goals in a game. Goodwin has 38 saves on the season and has compiled three shutouts. He was recently named SUNYAC defensive player of the week after posting back-to-back shutouts against Fredonia and Buffalo State.
Coach Friske is not surprised that Goodwin has been recognized for his stellar play this season.
“PJ can make great saves and he has been an excellent goalie during his time here,” Friske said.
Looking forward, both Breen and Goodwin have great futures ahead of them. Breen is going to graduate with a business administration degree, while Goodwin is going to leave Oswego with a degree in education. While they will no longer be players on the soccer team, coach Friske hopes they will keep in touch.
“I hope they continue to support the program through our alumni events,” Friske said. “They know that future success is for all alumni, not just those that are playing. We are a big family. I am sure they will be great professionals and citizens. They will be excellent ambassadors for Oswego.”