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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Preseason predictions from CAA soccer coaches tarnish Stony Brook’s fanbase

Midfielder Bas Beckhoven (8) celebrates a goal against Lafayette with his teammates on Tuesday, Oct. 24. The Stony Brook men’s soccer team was picked to finish in last place, but will instead be the third seed in the conference playoffs. GEORGE CARATZAS/THE STATESMAN

The unpopularity of Stony Brook University’s soccer programs could be irreversible, so long as the coaches from its conference make disastrous preseason predictions.  

The Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) — the conference of which Stony Brook is a member — does not have an established fanbase. The only individuals with investment in it are the actors who are directly involved: the players, coaches, athletic departments and student journalists.

Because of the lack of interest, the CAA understandably does not invest in its soccer programs media-wise. Before the commencement of the 2023 season, only a singular item provided outside sources a glimpse into the upcoming year: the men’s and women’s preseason polls.

Therefore, this list is the only way potential supporters can understand how the conference is shaped and how the teams match up against each other. 

In total, there are 24 (11 men’s and 13 women’s) teams across both leagues. The head coaches were tasked with picking how each squad they compete against would fare in the 2023 season. The predictions were combined and culminated into two projected tables. 

Of the 24 total accurate guesses the coaches could have made, they only made two. On the women’s side, they picked Charleston to finish 11th and Hampton — who has no wins and 21 losses since joining the conference in 2022 — to end up in last place. Safe to say it was a no-brainer pick there.

Now, predictions are wrong constantly. Especially in sports, the unpredictability captivates fans worldwide. Understanding this, leniency should be warranted for the predictions. But the coaches — who are supposed to have the most insight into CAA soccer out of anyone — showed a lack of effort with the poll.

Despite significant roster turnover in teams in both leagues, the preseason polls are eerily similar to the 2022 men’s and women’s final regular season standings. This raised questions on whether the coaches did any research and analysis, or if they just glanced at last year’s standings, mixed some teams around and moved on with their days. 

There is a fine line between misjudgment and carelessness. Many teams in the polls had no business being projected to finish where they did, whether the squads were overrated or underrated by the coaches, which was conveyed in the accuracy number.

It’s a habit for soccer or any other collegiate program to experience yearly roster turnover and, consequently, a change in dynamic. However, this aspect needs to be adequately measured by the coaches so spectators can recognize these changes. There is no excuse for the poll being as close to last year’s regular season table as it turned out to be.

An example that captivates the coaches’ lack of effort is the Stony Brook men’s soccer team. They finished in eighth place in 2022 and had the joint-worst offense and second-worst defense in the CAA. Due to the poor play, Stony Brook went shopping in the offseason.

It picked up 14 new players and is having a turnaround year, as it finished third in the regular season. It also has the second-best offense and sixth-best defense in the conference, being heavily aided by the new acquisitions in the process, as four of the new players are regular features in the starting lineup.

Despite the positive roster progression, coaches picked Stony Brook to finish in last place in 2023 by a large margin.

A more accurate poll would help more than hurt the garnering of fans. It could maintain the involvement of long-time fans even after their formal relationship with the CAA ends. Regularly, an athlete or student journalist’s attentiveness to the conference vanishes as they graduate; the same goes for coaches and athletic department personnel once they leave their post. 

The preseason poll is the only clue into the season. A more thought-out prediction could kickstart outside interest. Instead, this year’s preseason poll intensified an internal issue that keeps fans at a distance.

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About the Contributor
Alex Streinger, Assistant Sports Editor
Alex Streinger is an Assistant Sports Editor of The Statesman. He is a junior majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. He is the beat reporter of the Stony Brook men’s soccer and nationally-ranked women’s lacrosse teams. He interns at Movendi International, the largest independent global social movement for development through alcohol prevention.
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  • M

    Michael H LeimanNov 5, 2023 at 8:19 pm

    Oh, one other thought. If the article is about SB fans having their interest in the soccer team tarnished, shouldn’t you interview a few students who actually do have a negative reaction to the predictions?

  • M

    Michael H LeimanNov 5, 2023 at 8:03 pm

    It seems to me that if you are going to write about how the coaches made their predictions you might want to interview some of them and hear what they have to say. Otherwise, this is speculation.