Anticipation hung thick in the air on Wednesday morning as Men’s soccer coach, Clovis Simas, gathered the team to announce which of the two players brought in as goal keepers this year would be starting for the season.
“Every year we bring in two or three players who will compete for the starting position as goal keeper,” said Simas. “Both of our candidates this year have an excellent understanding of the game.”
Both hailing from Brazil, Igor Luczensky, senior sports management major and Pedro Haniel, freshman pre-med major, have put forth their utmost efforts alternating as goal keepers for the first few games of the season.
“In Florida, we each played one game so the coach could watch us in action,” Luczensky said. “This is my last year to play so I really would love the opportunity of starting as goal keeper. However, whatever the decision is I am still going to do my best for the team and will respect it.”
After reviewing films from both games, both Simas and Scott Sinclair, assistant coach, came to the decision that Luczensky would be starting this season.
“The selection is about performance, experience, technique, understanding of the game, and reading of the game,” said Simas. “Luczensky is older and more mature in terms of playing the position. He has good experience, good understanding, good anticipation and is good on his feet.”
After having played soccer at a higher level for several years after high school, Luczensky played at Coffyville Community College. He was named all-academic in the Kansas Jayhawk Conference, and also earned the National Junior College Athletic Association Award for Superior Academic Achievement. Off the field, he was a PTK Honor Society member, and says he is honored to end his collegiate athletic career starting at Union.
Meanwhile, Haniel will continue to attend daily practices and will sub in for Luczensky in case of an injury. As a freshman, his opportunity for exerting himself and perfecting his understanding of the game presents him with the likelihood of starting in subsequent seasons.
“Haniel is an excellent goal keeper and has a good understanding of the game,” said Simas. “He will continue to train hard and is an integral part of the team. This season is an opportunity for him to show his hard work and be ready to jump in.”
“Both Haniel and Luczensky are very technical players,” said Simas. “They both worked hard for the position and this year’s decision was very hard.”