HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Southern Miss soccer is just a month removed from the 2018 season, but the impact of their record year can still be felt around the program – and will for years to come.
The Lady Eagles recorded a program-best 13 wins and 11 shutouts en route to the school’s first Conference USA championship game appearance. USM’s historic run ended in double overtime to North Texas in the C-USA title game.
Following his sixth season as head coach of USM soccer, Mohammed El-Zare applauded his team for how they performed on the field but also how they developed off the pitch.
Building character is one of El-Zare’s main goals as a coach and senior Ola Akinniyi made him proud when she received the Conference USA spirit of service award on Wednesday
“We as coaches, we focus on the X’s and O’s,” El-Zare said. “And you learn that it’s not only about the X’s and O’s. It’s about developing people. Here at Southern Miss, we look at sports as a vehicle to preparing people for life after sports. And we look at our student-athletes as not just robots, we’re looking at them as people. These are people so in order for them to maximize themselves, they have to also develop socially, they have to develop personally, they have to develop physically.”