Midfielder Harry Cooper ’22, who’s having his best season yet, led the men’s soccer team with three goals in its 6-0 shutout victory on Tuesday, September 6. As a senior, he hopes to shape his team’s culture as one of enjoyment and high-quality play.
“It was cool. It’s more goals than I’ve scored at Bowdoin. I only had two before that,” Cooper said. “Two [goals] fell to me, and then the third one, I thought ‘alright screw it, I’m gonna go for it.’”
The first goal occurred not even four minutes into the match and the final kick was a bar down free kick that capped off the final score.
While his hat trick was a career highlight, Cooper said it came as a result of a team effort.
“[It was] us as a group putting pressure on the other team … The balls are going to pop out to somebody. It popped out to loads of people–we scored 6 goals. It was a lot of fun, and it was a good way to start [the season].”
The game was the team’s season opener and had Cooper, along with the rest of his teammates, eager for more.
“We are more oriented to goal scoring and capable than we’ve ever been. We’ve been fired up to say, ‘screw it, we’re just gonna score as many goals as we can,’” Cooper said. “Everyone’s been really positive about making it about walking off the field happy and having enjoyed what we’ve just done.”
Cooper and his teammates are hoping to recuperate after a disappointing season last fall. The team missed qualifying for the NCAA tournament, despite beating both of the teams that ended up in the final match. For Cooper, it seems as though looking back is a way of looking forward, as he views last year’s results as more motivation to succeed this year.
Cooper attributes his triumph on the field to the support he has had off the field.
“[I had coaches who] made it about enjoying playing the game,” Cooper said.
As a kid, he looked up to his older sisters, who played soccer before him. He fondly remembers sitting on the sidelines at their games and looking forward to getting on the pitch himself. It was his parents who made sure that his athletic success was always paired with a good time.
“My dad would always tell me, ‘try hard and have fun,’ and I had the most fun playing soccer,” Cooper said.
Cooper is trying to make having fun while working hard a priority for the team this year, especially since it is his last season. Cooper matriculated into the Class of 2022, but he took time off in order to play another year of soccer. Cooper added that, though he loves the sport, he is most excited to spend the remainder of the season with his teammates.
“I think I’m just excited for every single game we get to play,” Cooper said. “These are my last 13 games. Now I get to play, and it means something.”