By MICAH McVICKER
Georgetown did not receive any votes in the 2012 National Soccer Coaches Association of America preseason poll. That didn’t stop the Hoyas from finishing last season in Hoover, Alabama, a couple inches shy of a national championship.
“Right after the fact, we are all obviously a little bit demoralized by the whole thing,” said GU forward Steve Neumann. “It’s always tough getting so close to a title like that, to not win. But it was, at the same time, kind of bittersweet because we knew how far we came as a team, from being unranked at the beginning of the season all the way to the national final. We knew that we easily could have tied or won that game.”
That knowledge has fueled the Hoyas’ offseason preparation.
“The offseason’s basically just been us working extremely hard to try and get back to that,” Neumann continued. “Once you get a taste of the College Cup, you just want to go back. I think that’s been a been motivator for the team.”
Senior midfielder and defender Joey Dillon said this offseason, he and his teammates lived in the past as they worked to achieve the goals they set for themselves in 2013.
“It’s something during the offseason I think we’ve tried to remember that feeling after the game,” Dillon said. “Also, the feeling after all our success. We realize all the work that we put in the last year—it didn’t just happen by chance. It was a lot of hard work.
“We’re going to have to work even harder now because we’ve been on the national stage and people know who we are now. We’re not going to sneak up on anyone. We’re going to have to play with a target on our back all year. It’s going to be even harder now, but it’s something that we obviously want to do again and get back to the national championship and win it this time.”
Georgetown won’t be sneaking up on anybody this year. They enter the season ranked No. 2 in the SBI Top 25.
In 2013, the Hoyas must replace four members of the most successful class in program history. The San Jose Earthquakes selected defender Tommy Muller 15th overall in the 2013 Major League Soccer SuperDraft in January. Midfielder Ian Christianson and defender Jimmy Nealis were second-round picks.
Neumann said this year’s Hoyas team is working to develop a tradition of program success on the national stage.
“We’re bringing in freshmen that are high-quality players that want to be pros,” Neumann said. “We want to maintain that professional level that we have in training and that we maintain in games. The seniors last year did a great job maintaining high quality in training and in games. I think that’s something that we definitely want to uphold.”
Dillon praised the way the departed seniors provided examples on how to handle themselves on and off the field.
“We’re gonna be young, but we have a lot of experienced young guys as well,” he said. “Guys who have played under a big stage from last year. We have a lot of leaders on this team, a lot of guys who have played big minutes that’ll help us lead the team as well.
“We might be named the captains, but I think we have a full team of leaders.”
Dillon said that now a lot of Hoyas have professional soccer aspirations.
“It was not always like that,” he said. “It just goes to show how the far the program’s starting to come. We want to build off the success those guys had individually, but we also want to have the same kind of team success that they experienced here at Georgetown.”
For that success to continue, Dillon said the Hoyas will have to rely on their young, yet experienced players.