The John Brown University men’s soccer team is undefeated this year, winning 11 of their first 13 games and tying two. The team continues to be ranked as one of the best in their conference. They owe a portion of their success to the eight new players joining the team this year.
Tim Huffine, a freshman defender from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, is one of the new players already making an impact on the team.
“I have been very impressed with Tim’s work rate and his quick adjustment to the college game,” Scott Marksberry, head coach, said.
Marksberry said he didn’t expect Huffine to start at the beginning of the season, but his hard work earned him a spot as a starter for the Golden Eagles. Huffine has one assist so far this season.
Joao Silva, a freshman midfielder from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, said the soccer team helped him make the transition to college life much easier.
“I try to bring the culture of the team of pursuing perfection to the classroom, to the work study, to everything that I do from now on,” Silva said.
Marksberry said Silva is a technical player who is adjusting well to life in the United States and on the soccer team.
“I have high expectations for his growth potential,” Marksberry said.
Steve Teshima is the only transfer on the team this year. Teshima is a junior forward from Honolulu, Hawaii.
“He is very calm and intelligent on the field,” Marksberry said. “[He] has become a key piece of our reputation as a dangerous attacking team.”
Estiven Saldarriaga, freshman defender, is from Medellin, Colombia. Marksberry said Saldarriaga is able to play multiple positions on the field, which is a skill that greatly benefits the team.
“Versatility is valued in our program,” Marksberry said. “Estiven is proving to be one of the most versatile new players on the team.”
Amilcar Gonzalez, a freshman midfielder from Springdale, Arkansas, is coming back from an injury he sustained 18 months ago.
“He has the tools to become a major impact player as he gets closer to his full speed,” Marksberry said.
Connor Christians is a freshman midfielder from Overland Park, Kansas who transitioned this year to playing an unfamiliar position.
“He is learning the job as an outside back quickly, and has the athleticism to do very well in that role,” Marksberry said.
Ryan ‘Gary’ Smith is a freshman defender from Houston, Texas.
“Gary has good size and great combination of technical skills and leadership qualities that our team needs,” Marksberry said.
Marksberry said he believes Smith will be an important player for the team in the coming years.
Benard ‘Mash’ Mwangi, a freshman forward from Kitale, Kenya, is the final rookie rounding out the team.
“Mash has loads of pace and can serve a ball well,” Marksberry said. “He certainly has some tools to use.”
As their season begins wrapping up, Marksberry said he has high expectations for his team.
“One of our team goals is to play the game in such a way that we are able to worship through sport,” Marksberry said. “In the same way that an artist or musician attempts to worship and bring others into worship through their work, we want to worship and bring others into worship through the game of soccer.”