Chemistry between teammates can go a long way for any team’s success. This season, the Oswego State men’s soccer team has experienced these benefits with three players with a connection which precedes their time as Lakers.
Freshman striker Bernard Osei, along with midfielders Adan Raacha and Nyezee Goe, are all from the same hometown and played high school ball together at G.W. Fowler High School in Syracuse.
They trio enjoyed each other’s company, as they are now playing collegiate soccer together at Oswego State.
Raacha recognized the benefits of having familiar faces right away.
“When I came to the team, I did not know anyone,” he said, “but having some of my teammates definitely made it easier for me.”
Having a group of friends early on in a new place is definitely helpful, but the freshman midfielder has also noticed some differences playing with his former high school teammates as well.
“One of the big differences from when we played in high school has been the different style of play,” Raacha said. “It was different in high school too because we played different positions than we do now.”
Back at G.W. Fowler, Raacha said that he and Osei played defense together. Now, Osei is a striker and Raacha is a midfielder.
While the familiarity with the system and positioning has changed, Raacha said that the chemistry has not.
“We still have the same chemistry no matter where we play on the field,” Raacha said. “It just makes it a lot easier to adjust on the field because we know each other.”
Goe, the other freshman midfielder in the group, agreed with his teammate.
“I definitely do think there’s an advantage because we played together,” Goe said. “It is just really nice to know that you have those guys on the field with you.”
Three close friends playing on the same team together in college is anyone’s ideal scenario, but for these three, it’s reality.
Men’s head soccer coach Bob Friske said he is surprised that the three friends are on the same team.
“I had seen Fowler play before, and they have always had exceptional players on their team over the years,” he said. “I am just amazed that we were lucky enough to get three of those great players in one year.”
Luck may not have anything to do with it though, as Friske went on to say that one person may have had as big of an impact on their arrival as anything.
“Having Sandy Bargainnier here really helped,” Friske said.
Dr. Sandy Baargainnier is the newly hired head of Health Promotion and Wellness Department at Oswego State and has a rich history with the trio.
“She had a great relationship with them coming in,” Friske said. “Her son played high school ball with a lot of the Fowler kids, so she helped introduce them to Oswego, and so she is just another friendly face here for them.”
Having an advocate like Bargainnier seems to have been a driving force in the three friends’ decision to be Lakers, but Friske also said that the desire to maintain their friendship was just as important.
“The kids want to go where they know there’s a support group around them,” Friske said. “They also want to go to a place where they can keep their friendships and continue to help each other, so Oswego is a natural fit for them.”