Campus Currents

Healthy competition gives men's soccer its edge

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For the UNH men's soccer team, competitiveness is a lifestyle on the field, in the classroom—and just about everywhere. The coaches think it helps their game. "Part of our jobs as coaches is convincing these guys that they can do more than they think they can do," says head coach Rob Thompson.

Last fall, 16 of Thompson's 26 players earned a grade point average of 3.0 or better. The team's cumulative GPA was the best among all men's sports teams at UNH. "We compete when it comes to soccer but we also compete in class," says Brad Hilton '12. "It makes you want to do better when you see people around you doing well, and I think that's positive for our team."

On the field, expectations are high for next fall, since nine starters are returning. Last season, the team went undefeated (6-0-1) in America East and won its first conference championship since 1994. It was supposed to be a transition year, as UNH fielded a young team. "We weren't expected to do well at all," says Joe Corsello '11. "It helped that everyone did their job."

This is a team that understands its job and the nature of work in general. Thompson recalls a community service project in which his team was picking up trash along the roadside. Characteristically, they turned it into a game. It became "Who picks up the most trash?" and "Who picks up the best trash?"

"We want our guys to be competitive all the time, as long as it is in a good competitive spirit," says Thompson. "The more competitive they are, the better edge they'll have on the field."

New recruit Mathew Weinstein is coming to Durham from Anchorage, Alaska. He says playing Division I soccer at UNH is a dream come true. Weinstein has a 3.5 GPA and is graduating with honors from high school; he likes the dual emphasis on sports and scholastics at UNH. Competitiveness? "I think that's great," he says. "If one kid sees another with a higher GPA, and thinks he can do as well—you couldn't have a better influence on each other."

Sounds like Mathew Weinstein will fit in just fine.

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