Sydoney Clarke is one of the strong returning players for Monroe College (307795)
Credit: Monroe Athletics

Although Jay Myers was named head coach of Monroe College women’s soccer back in December 2019, he makes his official debut this Friday in Rochester, N.Y., as the Mustangs take on Salt Lake Community College. He admitted that training a team filled with new players and a few returning players who haven’t played competitively in almost two years is challenging.

“Surprisingly enough, the core of this team that lost the national finals took classes online remotely from whatever countries they were hailing from [Monroe has numerous international student-athletes], and instead of accelerating their education until they graduate and move onto the next institution, they opted to return for one more semester,” said Myers.

The Mustangs were runners-up for the NJCAA Division I National Championship in 2019 and won the title in 2018. Although Monroe is a four-year college, the sports programs play against two-year institutions. Many of the student-athletes transfer to four-year institutions after making names for themselves at Monroe.

Myers had started training the players in early 2020 in preparation for the following season but had only gotten through about eight training sessions before the campus was cleared due to the pandemic. Although some schools played their fall sports this past spring, Monroe did not.

“Now, we’re back here together with an enhanced roster,” said Myers. “I like working with the international students in a different set of challenges that allow me to experience and enjoy parts of [soccer] that I maybe hadn’t experienced previously. Developing and helping young players stay on a path that is positive and productive that will shape their future, it’s great to be able to help them on that journey.”

Among the returning players is Sydoney Clarke, who Myers has known for some time because she lived in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where he also lives, and he saw her play through a club program. He said she’s a very good player, and he expects her to go onto a four-year college or university after this season. Like her teammates, she’s eager to see action this weekend.

“The players are very excited as is the coaching staff,” said Myers. “We’re also managing expectations.”

Monroe already had a couple of scrimmages, including one against Columbia University. The Mustangs remain in Rochester for the weekend, taking on Monroe Community College on Sunday.