To the Beacons Family:
The past few weeks have brought us much joy, and some stumbles. We have continued to reach new heights of competitive success, with our third straight LEC conference soccer title and the first two NCAA Soccer Tournament wins in program history. But we have also experienced adversity and great disappointment during this playoff run.
On Sunday November 13,2016 there was a hard fought NCAA soccer tournament game hosted by Haverford College with the University of Massachusetts Boston and Haverford competing for the right to move on to the sweet sixteen. The game was intense and hotly contested, as a tournament game should be. In that game, a few of our players made very poor decisions regarding their on-field conduct.
In the course of the match, two of our players received red cards and were removed from the game. The university took swift action against both players and penalized them to the fullest extent possible under our student code of conduct. After the match, the Haverford representatives went through the video looking for other possible violations by UMass Players. They found an un-carded head butt by a UMB player and shared that with the NCAA and media outlets. Once the officials at UMass Boston saw the video, the player was immediately suspended indefinitely for un-sportsman-like conduct. The actions of the three players will not be defended or condoned in any manner. However, I will defend the character and reputation of the remaining 27 players and the coaching staff.
We know all of our players were put in a difficult position and hostile environment in that game, but the simple fact is that being an athlete means rising above adversity, not just that presented by opponents on the playing field but also that presented from the stands. The inexcusable actions by a few players, I know, did not represent our team as a whole, and we took appropriate actions to ensure that everyone understands that this was an unusual occurrence, which also required a strict response.
As athletic director, I know that our 300 student-athletes model good behavior and decision-making both on the field of play and in their daily lives away from athletics. I want you to know that the behavior of a few players at that game does not reflect you—their teammates, coaches, and staff—nor does it embody the values of our program.
Under the direction of now fourth-year head coach Jake Beverlin, the Beacons have become one of the most successful and diverse programs in all of Division III men's soccer. I believe that our conference and regional opponents will tell you that our soccer team always competes hard with great intensity and respect for the game, their opponents and game officials... they play to win and do not exceed the average for yellow cards in a soccer match. In 2016 UMass Boston Men's soccer received one more yellow card than their opponents and only two players received red cards the entire season. I refuse to allow the entire team to be painted by the unacceptable actions of a few in one match.
I am proud of our 2016 team, which posted an 18-2-3 season record and won the LEC regular season and conference playoff championships. We won our first ever NCAA soccer tournament game; a trip to the sweet 16; earned a final national ranking of #10/15; and had five players selected to LEC all-conference team, four members of the UMass Boston men's soccer team were invited to participate in the 2016 New England Intercollegiate Soccer League (NEISL) Senior All-Star Game on Sunday at Brandeis University. Our seniors posted a 59-20-6 record over their four years and earned three consecutive LEC conference championships. Our team consists of a large group of first-generation college students who have worked tirelessly to achieve educational and athletic success. I am extremely proud of these young men.
We will not allow the mistakes of a few to tarnish the accomplishments of the many. Instead, we will commit to learning from this experience and continue to ensure that every Beacons squad that takes to the field of play is mindful of the high character, standards and competitive spirit that are the true hallmarks of our great program; that exemplify the Beacon.
I truly thank you for your commitment, passion, and sacrifice. And I thank you for your competitive spirit that has, over the course of the past few years, raised the profile of the UMass Boston Beacons as a national contender.
Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics