For most student-athletes, their rookie year playing a college sport is spent more on the bench than the field. However, for soccer player Felipe Lucas, freshman year established him as one of the top players in his conference and one of the most valuable players on his team.
Lucas ended the season having scored 10 goals, totaling 22 total points and two assists for the team throughout 17 matches. This was the highest scoring record on the team for the year.
Additionally, Lucas was named the ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) Rookie of the Year and an All-NJAC (New Jersey Athletic Conference) Honorable Mention. He was also recognized twice as the NJAC Rookie of the Week and recognized once as the ECAC Division III Metro Rookie of the Month for September.
Soccer has been a part of Lucas’ life since he was young, and he’s played for a variety of teams and earned some major titles leading up to where he is now.
“I have been playing soccer since the age of eight, and during my time I started playing for a local team named Ironbound Soccer Club (SC). But when I entered Saint Benedict’s High School, I played there my four years and during the off season, I played for Cedar Stars Academy,” Lucas said. “During my time in Benedict’s, I was able to be a part of a national championship team my sophomore year, while senior year I was captain when we won a state and national championship."
After the success he found earlier in his soccer career, he decided to continue his career at Kean after visiting the campus and meeting the coaching staff.
“I really liked the campus and the coach was telling me that it was a rebuilding year, so I knew it was my chance to create something big for myself and the team,” Lucas said.
Going into the season, Lucas set certain goals for himself in order to ensure he had something concrete to work toward.
“My personal goals were to be the top goal scorer for the team, which happened and I am happy about that. Also, I was aiming to become [NJAC] rookie of the year, but without being selfish. I wanted it to come naturally,” Lucas said. “I came short, but I'm happy that I got an honorable mention.”
He also envisioned objectives for the team overall.
“The team goals were to, of course, like any other team win the NJAC and make the NCAA tournament,” Lucas said.
The team ended their season with a 5-9-3 overall record and an 1-7-1 NJAC record. While this was less than they had hoped for, they are using it as motivation for the future.
“We did not have the best season, but as I said before, it was a rebuilding year so there was going to be some downfall. But you live and you learn,” Lucas said. “Hopefully, we learn from this and better ourselves for next year.”
Lucas aims to improve the team’s performance in the upcoming season as well as his own, despite his major personal achievements.
“I want to better myself for the team, get better statistics, help players get better statistics and basically just do anything I can to make the team successful. The team's goals won't change. It is very simple: win the NJAC and make the NCAA tournament.”
He plans on reaching these standards by putting in the work in the off-season to go into the next season as prepared as possible.
“I believe the time you spend off the field is the most critical time. I just have to be focused on my weaknesses by having extra training sessions and bettering myself,” Lucas said.
After graduating, Lucas hopes to continue his athletic career if possible, or find a niche in a field relating to his major.
“Of course, I want to become a professional athlete like every other dedicated athlete. But, if that does not work out, then I want to graduate college with a good and stable job so that I can one day start my own business and become my own boss."