The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

80° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Soccer’s ‘super seniors’ becoming super leaders

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona Wildcat soccer team hosted the University of San Francisco in a college soccer game Sunday, Oct. 3., 2010, at Murphy Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona rode two second-half goals to hold off the Dons in a 2-1 victory.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Arizona Wildcat soccer team hosted the University of San Francisco in a college soccer game Sunday, Oct. 3., 2010, at Murphy Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona rode two second-half goals to hold off the Dons in a 2-1 victory.

How long is five years?

Consider what life was like in 2006 when Arizona soccer fifth-year seniors Macke Mutz, Alex Davis, and Becky Barry arrived on campus — Lebron James appeared as if he would never leave Cleveland, Brett Favre hadn’t retired for the first time yet, and Jersey Shore was still just a place to vacation.

It’s no surprise that when the three self-proclaimed “”super seniors”” were asked if it had felt like a long time since they first laced up for the Wildcats, all three responded at the same time, “”Yep,”” in a tone that implied it had been awhile.

“”It feels like it’s been a long time, but part of it feels like it was yesterday that we were freshmen,”” Barry said.

They call themselves “”super seniors”” not just because they’re the eldest players on the team, but because in their five years at Arizona, Mutz, Davis and Barry have all faced their share of adversity on and off the field.

Head coach Lisa Oyen, who was part of the recruiting process that landed the three seniors in Tucson, said that with these seniors at the helm, she knows that the team with 12 freshmen is in good hands.

“”What we try to tell the underclassmen, [Barry, Mutz, and Davis] show them everyday. Honestly, I think this team wouldn’t be the same without them,”” Oyen said.

“”For me personally, it was amazing to have them here because I did recruit them, and none of them had a smooth transition. They all had injuries, and they all dealt with ups and downs of not playing and earning their spot.””

The trio of Wildcats have all redshirted and missed significant time due to injuries. Barry did not play in 2006, and appeared in just three games in each of the next two seasons before playing in nine games last season while still battling pain from injuries.

It took Davis, a midfielder, two years before she could find the playing field after redshirting her freshman year and missing the 2007 season due to injury. Mutz, also a midfielder who acts as Arizona’s field general with a strong vocal presence, played in just six games in 2007 before being shut down.

“”We’ve all been through a lot, and have gone through different experiences from injuries to everything else,”” Barry said.

If injuries weren’t enough hardship, the super seniors endured turbulent times off the field as well.

Dealing with the backlash of struggling to find success on the field—UA’s last winning season was in 2005, the year before Barry, Mutz, and Davis arrived—former head coach Dan Tobias resigned last year in the middle of the season, leaving Arizona soccer to navigate rocky waters ahead.

Several former players left Tucson due to instability over the past five years—Davis said that over 20 former teammates had left the program in her time at Arizona—and the seniors acknowledged moments of doubt about their future as Wildcats.

“”It was hard because we had a lot of teammates and friends who quit, moved, or transferred,”” Barry said. “”Just to have close friends leave is hard because you ask yourself ‘should I stay?,’ but in the end I think it was the right decision for me. I’ve enjoyed it.””

In their final year as Wildcats, the seniors’ commitment to rebuilding the program is undeniable, as each is healthy and contributing on the field as starters in 2010.

Davis and Mutz both scored goals in Arizona’s 2-1 win over San Francisco on Sunday, and Barry is finally healthy and leading Arizona’s improving back four.

“”It was definitely worth coming back for a fifth year,”” Davis said.

The seniors have taken it upon themselves to build a name for Arizona as one of the best places to play college soccer, and they want to see it happen this year.

“”It’s setting high standards, we don’t what this to just be a soccer team. We want this program to eventually have some type of reputation of making the tournament and being successful,”” Barry said.

The dedication and perseverance that Barry, Mutz, and Davis have shown Oyen over the past five years makes them “”super”” in every sense of the word.

“”They’ve been through some ups and downs in this program but they stuck it out and believe in this team just as much as the coaching staff does. I couldn’t say enough about them,”” Oyen said.

More to Discover
Activate Search