As the season reaches its mid-point for the Manhattan Jaspers, the 10 freshmen Jaspers are no longer new to the team and fans.
Three of the freshmen who have been quite impressive early on are Joe Hulme, Jose Meza and Luke Greaves. Understandably so, Manhattan head coach Jorden Scott said all of the freshmen have been excellent.
“They’ve all came in and been really mature, which is really pleasing to me,” he said. “And for them you just hope they pick up enough that they can contribute. If they don’t pick up enough then it’s going to be a tough season for them.”
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The one thing about the freshmen that Scott said he noticed was how much they’ve bought into each other.
“The greatest thing about them is that they’ve all gotten along, they’re all pretty tight,” he said. “I mean they don’t know each other from a hole in the wall. And they’re all living together, playing FIFA in the evenings, hanging out together, eating together and joking together on the field.”
From Across the Pond
Aside from adjusting to leaving home for the first time, starting at a new school and being on a new team with new teammates, Greaves and Hulme, both from Bolton, England in Lancashire County and played on the same team together there too, have needed to learn a new culture.
Hulme said it’s been quite an easy transition. For Greaves, it was a little different.
“It was definitely a shock,” he said. “I’m still trying to get used to things.”
They’re each being helped by some of the upperclassmen and coaches on the team and fellow England natives Alex Coates McDowall (York), Tommy Amos (Liverpool), Scott (Scotland), and Assistant Coach Gary Adair (Liverpool).
“It’s obviously a big transition coming from England,” said Hulme. “But I’ve enjoyed the experiences so far and the lads have been good, so I feel like I’ve settled in quite well to the environment and the team.”
Freshmen Expectations This Season and Beyond
This season hasn’t played out as the Jaspers planned so far, especially having been shutout for 587 minutes until Alex Shackley netted two goals on Oct. 15 against the Fairfield Stags. There’s no blame to be thrown around for the offensive struggles because the burden can’t and shouldn’t be be placed on any one player.
For now, with the problems they face on offense, Scott said he plans to keep things simple for the freshmen by focusing on the general concepts now and specifics in the spring because the returning crew have to step up.
What he has made key to them to work on is aggression and style of play, said Meza. But he knows there’s much more to come.
“As a freshman there’s still a lot to learn,” he said.
Another thing the Jaspers have faced throughout the season is the injury bug. Injuries to some of the upperclassmen has allowed more playing time for freshman to prove themselves and Scott said it would be good long-term for the program.
“As a collective group they’re definitely going to have an impact, and that’s been the most impressive thing,” he said. “I can count on them to go on the field and contribute whereas in years gone back maybe I haven’t felt like that group of players has been able to go on and be that player.”