David Saward | Head Coach | Men’s Soccer | Middlebury College

Describe the qualities that your program is looking for in a potential student-athlete?

We want players who are people of integrity and who understand that being a good teammate is about more than just running around out on the field. We hope, that if you make our team, then this will be a relationship that is for life!! Our favorite phrase /Moto here is, “Sports do not develop character, sports reveal character”¬†thus we are looking for players who have great character, both on the field and off it.

Besides these personal qualities we are looking for soccer players who have a good basic level of play and who are coachable!!

Could you give an example of a current or former player who exceeded your expectations, highlighting the reasons that player excelled?

I had a goalkeeper who graduated 3 years ago from the mid-west. I had seen him on a video and he looked OK but in my eyes had some basic technical issues that needed work. He came to us and we put him on our B team, where he trained and played, saw no Varsity time at all. His work ethic was magnificent and we asked him to come and train with us one day because of an injury to one of the other keepers.

He immediately caught our eye because of his determination to never be beaten. He was not over awed and impressed everyone with his shot stopping ability. This ethic and determination continued his sophomore year, until he had the chance to start his Junior year. The rest is history as they say, because we went 18-2-2 that year winning the National Division 3 championship, conceding only 7 goals all year and he won us 3 shoot outs, including the semi-final and final!!! To put in mildly he was fantastic.

The following year his performances were equally good, leading the team to an Elite 8 position, only being eliminated on a shoot out. I look back on his development, and there was something in his work ethic and attitude that separated him from others. Technically, many coaches may have cut him as he was not “technically smooth” but he had the intangible that ultimately made the difference and he ended up a 2 time 1st Team All American and Conference and NCAA player of the year in 2007. – Thank goodness for our B team!!!