Wilmington College Soccer Team Retreat

Coaches,

This weekend I had the honor of being with the Wilmington College soccer team. They are coached by Bud Lewis.

Bud Lewis begins his 34th season at the helm of one of the nation’s most successful and respected programs.
With 433 career victories, Lewis is the seventh-winningest coach in NCAA Division III history, and only the 18th coach among all NCAA soccer coaches to reach the 400-victory plateau.

The focus of the event was team unity. It came at the mid-point of their season, after 10 games. They have lost some heart-breakers in 2OT, OT, etc.

Below is also a letter from a former soccer player, an alum if you will. Bud sent out a note asking for Alums to encourage the team - the response was amazing. He received 20 letters in 3 days.

The day ended with a campfire. Players were invited to share something no one else would know about them. It was beyond moving. It definitely helped bring the team closer together.

God bless, Lou

DARE TO BE GREAT

Dear Team:

It is a simple statement, “Dare to be great”, but too many people take the statement for face value and never truly touch greatness. Greatness is hard to achieve as an individual, but greatness is even harder to achieve as a team. On a team you rely on one another, but as an individual you only rely on yourself. There is no greater feeling in the world than achieving greatness as a team.

My team achieved greatness when I played at Wilmington College. For greatness to be achieved one has to put their teammates ahead of themselves. Each player wants his moment in sun, but moments in the sun are only achieved when others are there to sacrifice. I have followed the team closely in the first nine matches and I have come to the conclusion that not enough sacrifice has been made. How many players have stayed after practice and worked on a part of their game they needed to improve on? How many of you are willing to look at your teammates in the face and say I have worked my hardest and left everything I could out on the field in those first nine games? How many players have ran extra overtimes when it wasn’t needed? Or stayed after and worked on finishing? One can go on and continue to question different aspects of the game, but what it boils down to is the fact that not many of you can answer those questions.

I played against each of you in the alumni game and I know for a fact there is a plethora of talent on the team, but do you remember how hard the alumni worked against each of you. Each of you is in your prime. Before you know it, your four years will be over and you will be sitting behind a desk following Wilmington College. Each of the alumni made a sacrifice when we played at Wilmington College. We accepted our roles as a role player, a playmaker, a skill player, or a work horse. Doesn’t matter what your role was you were part of the team. If you were a bench player for four years or a four year starter; the four year bench player pushed the four year starter in practice day in and day out because they knew the effort they put forth would lead to greatness. Each of you can witness the pride that is held in Wilmington College Soccer each day you walk to practice past the pines. Each tree wouldn’t be there if there wasn’t a team behind that player that pushed that player to greatness.

The greatness of Wilmington College soccer is still there, it just needs dusted off. It can only be dusted off with effort. The effort to keep going when the chips are down and you have nothing left. Only then, you will “Dare to be Great”. This Saturday night you start a new season. Your record is 0-0-0. Learn from the past and build on the future.

Sincerely yours,
JR Barnhart #16 Captain Class of 2007