By Caitlin Scott
In three years of playing for the DeSales University Bulldogs, Derek Long has proved himself as a key influence on the team. As a junior captain this season Long has lead the team on and off with field with his dynamic play and work ethic.
Long, after playing two seasons has earned a place on the All-Freedom Conference First-Team as well as Fall Men’s Soccer Sportsmanship Team in 2009 season.
As for this season, Long, an elementary education and special education major, has been named Freedom Conference player of the week three consecutive times for his outstanding performance so far this season. Long earned his eleventh goal of the season by scoring the first goal against Arcadia University in the homecoming game this year.
This year Long said there is something special about their team, “No one is out looking for individual attention this year; we are all in it together.”
Although they are extremely team orientated Long’s recent performance on the field has been a key factor in recent games. Along with the goal he scored at homecoming, Long scored both of the Bulldogs goals last week in a 3-2 loss, to the defending national champions, Messiah College.
His first goal gave DeSales a 1-0 lead and the second tied the game at two. Long, after nine games, currently has eleven goals and an assist, putting him at the top of the statistic sheet with 23 points.
He currently has 28 goals in his college career, putting him tenth on the all-time scorer list.
Long commented on his teammates and their role in his recent success, “We all have the same goal in mind, which is to make it to the playoffs.”
With these goals in mind, Long said the men’s team is working hard to earn the right to get there. “Our practices are intense. We have a deep bench this season and it’s helping us on game day.”
“While watching other teams you can see when the second string goes in because the level of play drops, but not with us. We play consistently with the starters and the guys off the bench,” he continued.
“We are training hard now and getting ready for our conference games—they are what matter when looking to the playoffs,”
Junior Jon Balfour said, “Derek is an incredibly well-rounded individual who brings out the best of everyone, on and off the field.”
Watch for Long to continue to help his team, as the Bulldogs begin their conference play at home against Manhattenville College on Saturday October 2nd.