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The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Loyola men’s soccer coach on end of season and future


Loyola men’s soccer won their first championship title this season and are looking to continue their winning form into the upcoming year.

The Greyhounds secured their first ever Patriot League Men’s Soccer Championship title with a 2-1 win over American University, thanks to goals from Kelan Swales ‘22 and graduate student Justin Ingram, as well as an outstanding performance from goalkeeper Chase Vosvick ‘22.

Coach Steve Nichols has been with the Greyhounds since the program’s rebuilding process began in 2014 and is glad to be in double-winning form. “We were finally able to get over the hump of winning five straight regular season championships and then getting upset in the Patriot League Tournament. What we did this season, winning the Patriot League Tournament and making it into the NCAA Tournament where they would fall short on penalties to North Carolina, was incredible and I couldn’t have been prouder of the guys and what they did. I think they made the entire program very proud,” said Nichols.   

Senior forward, Kelan Swales, said it was a surreal experience. “It felt great to finally win the title and I was lucky to play a role in that. It felt like everything paid off, but of course, it’s only enjoyable for so long because then you start thinking about how we can replicate that next season and how hopefully we can go further in the NCAA tournament as well.”

After a winning season, the program’s hope is that the record continues. This is difficult not only because opponents always gun for the top dog, making each game a tougher win, but also because of the graduating starters who will not be returning to play in the fall. Coach Nichols had all of that in mind as he planned ahead to make sure his Greyhounds hit the pitch at a run. 

“You know obviously we are losing a couple key players: Justin Ingram, who was an outstanding midfielder and had the winning goal in our 2-1 win, and Chase Vosvick who is one of the best goalies this program has had. But, we are bringing in a new center back as well as a new midfielder who are good players that I think will help the team next season,” said Nichols.

Incoming players, though, often feel a higher level of pressure than their peer college athletes since freshmen are expected to not only perform well on the pitch, but also do so in the classroom. The more seasoned players are often both athletic and academic mentors to those who Coach Nichols will be counting on to uphold the team’s record.

Swales says his view on being a student athlete might be different from most as he thinks it is not as hard as people make it out to be. “You have so much time in the day that the real key is time management. Before COVID, you had to log in a certain number of hours at the study, so that ensured you already had a time when school was a priority. I think the key is knowing when to switch focus between soccer, schoolwork, and having a social life. There is more than enough time to have all three.”

In terms of next season, Coach Nichols already has summer training in mind. “The guys usually report to summer training around July 15, and work with the captains and our strength coach. They work with the strength coach for about an hour and then play pickup for about an hour and we do this five days a week. They have the weekends off which they use for team bonding, so that way, come the end of August, we already have nearly two months under our belts.”

Swales says that summer training is a great way for the incoming players to start getting used to the team and what living on campus is like. “Summer training is important because the players are able to establish that sense of community. Seeing as NCAA rules don’t allow our coach to work with us until the official preseason, the captains lead the summer training.” 

Coach Nichols has been committed to Loyola ever since he played here himself, from 1989-1991, and knows that the program is in a good position to continue their success. In the nine years since he took over, Nichols has won the Patriot League coach of the year four times and has led Loyola to 18 major awards in the conference.

Loyola’s soccer program has been improving steadily with Coach Nichols’ leadership, and his players believe their coach can navigate the Greyhounds through uncharted territory in the coming year. “I think Loyola is a special place and we have a special program here. I pray that we can make it over the hump again next year and get into the NCAA tournament, and if we do, I think we can accomplish some really incredible things,” said Nichols. 

Featured Image courtesy of Daniel Norin via Unsplash

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Loyola men’s soccer coach on end of season and future