The Men’s Soccer team’s season ended eight days ago at the hands of Midwestern State University, and now the team looks ahead to the off-season to prepare for another crack at success in the fall of 2011. However, for two particular members, the story is a little different. Senior captains Jacob Juett and Trevor Braun have completed their career and look to their post-soccer future. However, to merely pass over these two players and move onto next year would be a huge mistake. It was these two captains who helped to lead and guide the Orediggers to one of the best seasons in program history. During the 2010 campaign, the team posted its best record ever, its first NCAA tournament victory and the first CSM squad to be ranked number one in the nation. And while the team was composed of 23 players besides Juett and Braun, the seniors created a winning atmosphere that was respected by coaches and players alike. “Trevor and Jacob did a great job of being captains,” coach Frank Kohlenstein complimented, “and they have mirrored our philosophy on and off the field.”
For Juett, who looks to graduate in the Spring of 2012 with a Electrical Engineering degree, and Braun, who completes his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering in the spring of 2011, their work is now done on the soccer field, but their influences are sure to echo among future Oredigger teams. For their dedication and leadership this year, Juett and Braun are this week’s Athletes of the Week.
[Oredigger] How did you view your roles as leaders on the team?
Juett: We had a lot of young players coming in who didn’t know the program. We would try to help them to transition and get ready to play.
Braun: We’d try to get the younger players to bond with the team. Freshmen come in and they can be shy and nervous, so we would try to help them feel comfortable. When Tesho [Akindele] came in, he was really quiet, and it’s kind of funny, because he got so loud and won’t shut up.
What is it like to witness the development of those younger players?
Braun: It’s fun to see that really. As a team, the first two years I was here, we weren’t that close. Last year we really bonded a lot, a became like a family.
With so much success and spotlight on the team, how did you help the team retain its focus?
Braun: It was difficult at times not to concentrate on the season as a whole. We just tried to win our first game, and then win the next game, and then win the next game.
Juett: As a team, our motto was to “get better every day”. We knew we had a good team, and that we needed to stay grounded and not get a big head. But ultimately you just got to stay focused and not worry about getting attention. If that happens, it happens, and you just have to go out and win the next game.
In the midst of playing in such important games, how did you stay balanced in school?
Braun: It’s a lot of time management for homework and tests. I would just talk to teachers and would try to get as much homework done before the games. For [the NCAA tournament game against Midwestern State] I actually did no schoolwork on the road trip.
Juett: It’s really difficult. We had a guy who had a test while we were gone, and he was supposed to have someone proctor him during the trip. But he ended up not taking it; we just didn’t have any free time to do it.
What was it like to spend several years together on the soccer team?
Juett: At St. Edwards [Juett’s previous school], the team wasn’t as close. It’s kind of nice to have a family set up. I didn’t live in the dorms when I first got here, so soccer was where I made my friends. It’s nice to see how people grow, on and off the field.
Braun: When you spend four years with the same people, you tend to get close. And senior year, you feel a special bond, a little different than everyone else. After we lost, the seniors were a little more disappointed than the rest of the team. They still have next year, but for us, it’s over.
Jacob, How was St. Edwards College different from Mines?
Juett: (laughs) I didn’t do nothing at St. Edwards. I played Call of Duty, Modern Warfare like, nonstop and I took a bunch of really bad classes that didn’t transfer. It was a complete 180.
What were some of the highest and lowest points of the season?
Braun: My favorite was when we beat Fort Lewis 4-2 at their place because in the other three years, in their place, they beat us pretty badly. And they have such a strong crowd, 500 to 600 fans at every game. So it was nice to shut them up for the first time in six years. Our low point was definitely after we lost to Regis. It was probably a good thing, though. When we met them in the first round, we wanted revenge and we played well.
Juett: Favorite was probably when we beat Ft Lewis the first time because they were ranked number one at the time and it was the first time someone beat them in 21 games. Also, the penalty kicks to win the RMAC tournament [against Fort Lewis]. That was pretty awesome too.
Now that you are done with soccer, where do you see yourself in the future?
Juett: I’ll find another sport to play. It’s weird now, not just that soccer is done, it’s just that you’ve always had something to do, and now there is so much extra free time that I don’t know what to do with.
Braun: Soccer has always been apart of me. But I’ll probably look for a new hobby (Juett: ‘Hobby’? You sound like a such an old person). But this week has been really boring. Soccer takes up three or four hours of the day, and it’s weird for that to just be gone.
Looking back on your time at Mines, what is one thing you have learned?
Juett: It goes by really fast. Take advantage of it, you never know when it’s going to be over, whether by injury or end of the year. You never know, so take advantage of it.
Braun: You get a lot of discipline here, from playing and working on time management. My first semester here was probably the worst. But I learned to manage time better and it picked up.