For the first time since 2012, the Gallaudet University men are playing soccer again.
Budget cuts led to the suspension of the program for the last two seasons and first-year head coach Pedro Braz is attempting to rebuild. Braz joined the Gallaudet staff last November to begin the process.
“A new beginning is the same, no matter where you go,” Braz told Gallaudet’s official Web site. “To me it’s more about getting to know and understand each other, the players understanding what I expect and me getting to know them.”
Gallaudet is the only university in the United States with programs and services specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students. During the soccer team’s two-year hiatus, the school was seeing prospective students choosing other schools in order to play soccer. This contributed to Athletic Director Michael Weinstock reversing his decision to cut the men’s soccer program.
The Bison have resumed playing in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) and can immediately qualify for the conference championship and NCAA tournaments. In their last season in 2012, Gallaudet finished 3-13-0 overall and 1-9-0 in the NEAC.
The Bison have three top players returning from the 2012 team this year in seniors Eric Setzer, Zachary Seguin and Gabriel Carino.
Setzer played two years at Gallaudet in 2011 and ‘12 and also has played for the U.S. Deaf National Team since 2011. The goalkeeper has traveled to Turkey for the World Deaf Men’s Soccer Championship. Seguin, a defender, started all 16 games in 2012 and is a co-captain with Setzer. Carino is a midfielder and also started all 16 games in 2012, when he scored one goal and had one assist.
“I have high expectations for these student-athletes, not only athletically, but also academically. It’s something that we as a coaching staff hold these student-athletes accountable to.” said Braz.
Gallaudet has started the season with a 0-1-1 record. The Bison tied Christiandom, 2-2, in their opener and lost to Hood Saturday, 3-0. The two goals were scored by Conrad Baer and Brian Espanto.
Wisconsin-Oshkosh dropping men’s soccer
On the other hand, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh will be dropping its men’s soccer program after the fall season.
Decreases in state funding were cited as the reason for dropping soccer, which was selected partially due to the fact that the their conference (Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) does not earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Alumni and supporters of UW-Oshkosh men’s soccer have been campaigning for a reversal of the decision, but to date the university has insisted the decision is final and will not be revisited. The school is also cutting men’s tennis.