Hartford’s senior defender Jorge Rodriguez, able to play under the University of Hartford soccer program for all four years of his collegiate soccer career, experienced the program’s transitions through different coaches.
“I thought we’d do okay, I didn’t think we’d do so good,” said senior Jorge Rodriguez about his teams impressive run through the American East Tournament, which ended in a tough loss to Stony Brook in the finals 4-2.
At the end of the ’10-’11 season Hartford announced that Tom Poitras would be the new head coach of the men’s soccer program, at no surprise to Rodriguez.
“I voted for him on the board, I liked his resume and I was expecting him to be our coach and I was very excited,” said Rodriguez.
A new found intensity surrounded the team throughout the first season under the new skipper, which turned the previously relaxed soccer team in previous years on the field into one with a new found focus and aggressive mentality.
“With Poitras we were a little more direct, and we were able to scores goals and we had a lot more organization in the back,” said Rodriguez about his new coach.
Poitras helped Rodriguez shine as the team’s senior defender and guided the team through a very up and down season.
Once the American East Tournament started, the team had one goal in mind said Rodriguez, “our goal was to win it, not just win one game, once we got the first game we wanted more.”
After fighting through two tough tournament victories it came time for the Hawks to take on the Seawolves who they’d beaten a few weeks ago in the American East Championship game.
Both teams came into the game as the top two scoring teams in the league and this game would provide no shortage of offense.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, Rodriguez suggests that it was their overconfidence that cost them the victory.
“I think we came in a little too confident, we beat them 3-1 in the previous game, and we thought it would be the same team out there, but it wasn’t.”
Even with the loss to the Seawolves, the Hawks finished the season with an incredible accomplishment of making the championship and Jorge knows the loss won’t be affecting the outlook on the season.
“I see [the season] as a big step for the program and a step for the future, and the guys next year have to take it home,” said Rodriguez.
But the four year tenure at UHa won’t be one that Jorge will forget anytime soon, having said “it has been great here, it went by so quickly. I live 15 minutes away and always wanted to, come here as a kid, soccer means a lot to me and it was great.”
Rodriguez will leave Hartford with the legacy of a strong defender for all of his four Hawk years.