Last Sunday, Haverford Men’s Soccer faced off against UMass Boston in the second round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer tournament. Coming off a second consecutive conference-winning season, and having beaten their last opponent, Merchant Marine, by a convincing score line of 5-1 in the previous round, Haverford players and spectators alike came into the match with high spirits. The excitement leading up to the events that transpired on Sunday suggested that the contest between the two schools had all of the makings for a great match. What the Haverford community witnessed however, was far from that.
Throughout the match, onlookers were present for numerous episodes of misconduct by players on the UMass team. By the point regulation time had come to an end, UMass Men’s Soccer was playing with nine men compared to Haverford Men’s Soccer’s eleven due to red cards, and they had also accrued a number of other cards and warnings throughout the match. Discontent could be heard from fans in the stands and players on the pitch the same.
The first of two red cards issued over the course of the match came when a UMass player, Joshua Khang, kicked the soccer ball into the face of a Haverford player after having been fouled on the ball. This resulted in an immediate red card.
The second red card of the match came to Ocane Williamson, the goalscorer for UMass Boston, when he seemed to elbow a Haverford player in the face without cause, and then subsequently grab that same player by his neck and throw him on the ground.
Both of these incidents came in a match in which over 50 fouls were called in total – an extremely high number for any soccer match.
Trevor Larner ‘19, a Haverford supporter who was at the match on Sunday, said, “Haverford, despite far and away being the better team, lost the game to a squad that relied on intimidation and aggressive physicality rather than skill.”
Justin Otter ‘19, another onlooker at the match, mirrored those sentiments, stating that “The game was absurd but I’m glad Haverford didn’t respond with the same violence.”
Fortunately, the aggressive and intimidation-laden tactics of UMass Boston were captured and a video of the safety infractions was posted on Youtube soon after the match. The video has now received nearly 85,000 views in addition to attention from the college soccer community across the country.
It did not take long for the footage to make headlines nationwide, having become a viral incident. Online news outlets like sbnation.com and deadspin.com as well as national news sources such as CBS and Fox published pieces on the match – all condemning the actions of the UMass players in question.
Needless to say, Haverford College came together and did what we do best, which is have integrity and stand our moral ground. In the face of a lack of sportsmanship, we show our pride and our Quaker values. The loss against UMass Boston was certainly heartbreaking, but we will be back next year as strong as ever. And if we ever do face UMass in the NCAA tournament again, I am sure it will be a match to remember.
The athletics department declined to comment on the match, or the behavior of the players for UMass Boston Men’s Soccer, but congratulate Haverford Men’s Soccer on a fantastic season.
Shane Rineer, coach of the soccer team, added that Haverford Men’s Soccer had a “great season” and that he is “proud of the members of Haverford men’s soccer.”