Luke Stergiou / Senior photographer

Luke Stergiou

Senior Photographer

Playing college soccer is a challenge in itself, especially in your first year. But playing for the reserve team is a whole other hurdle.

For the 2018 fall season, the Keene State Men’s Soccer team has implemented a reserve team, consisting of mostly first-year players and other upperclassmen players that rotate between the first team and the reserves.

It’s a unique and sometimes tough situation for some of the players, as some of them are unsure of whether or not they will play with the varsity team. The reserve team plays currently against other club teams in New Hampshire.

First-year defender Noah Munroe reflected on his first collegiate season with the reserve team:

“When I first got here, I was expecting it to be a tough competition because it’s college soccer; you have to earn your spot. So coming in and being put on the reserves, it was a damper at first, but then when you start to look at it, it’s like okay, what do I need to focus on and what do I need to get better on?” Munroe also added, “Being put on the reserve team, it motivates you. I saw it as a damper at first, and as time went by, I thought I can use this as a negative, or I can look at is as a positive, work hard, and try to earn my spot.”

Glaudi Bangasimbo, a first-year goalkeeper for the reserves, had a similar feeling to Munroe.

“At first, to be honest, I was bummed out that I wasn’t put on the first team immediately. But, everything happens for a reason. At first, I took it as ‘oh he doesn’t think I’m good enough,’ but then I started looking at it like this way: Now I have time to improve.”

Bangasimbo also said, “It’s definitely a motivation. It’s my first year, I came in and they put me on the reserve team, so that means I have to work harder in the off season and come back next year and fight again for the starting spot.”

Head Coach Rick Scott said that the term had a reserve team that lasted for five to six years about 10 years ago.

Scott recognized this as being not the most ideal situation for the first year players.

“They’re great kids and it’s a tough situation to be in. They work very hard, show every day, and hopefully we can get a few more games in for them before the end of the month.” Scott did stand by his decision of having a reserve team and said, “I think it will help them get ready for the next level of the college game. But I think it does help them get ready for that.”

Will Salta, a Keene State soccer alumni, was brought on as assistant coach and the coach of the reserve team. Salta said this was a different experience for him.

“It feels different, in good and bad ways. Some good, that I’m learning more about the game. The kids are actually teaching me a lot of the stuff that I didn’t notice playing, so that’s really nice. Bad, I just want to get back out there and play a little.”

This is Salta’s first time coaching at the college level, but he has had experience coaching at the club level for 2 years.

He said he enjoys this new role, but still has a lot to learn. “I have so much to learn, it’s ridiculous. It’s nice coming back and coaching with this staff and learning where their points are coming from, now that I see it as a coach instead of a player. But, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the rest of it though.”

Although Salta has enjoyed the new challenge, he said that he misses playing more than anything. Salta did add he plans on branching out with this new coaching role: “Definitely. One hundred percent. I think I’ll branch out somewhere else and move on, and then maybe come back. That’s the goal.”

The players are happy having Salta as a coach, saying he sees eye to eye with them. Munroe said: “The way he runs practices are a little bit different. But when you look at it, he sees the game the way you see it. He knows the way the coaches think, he knows what they want, he knows what they like to look for. He shows you through his view what they would be looking for. It’s a huge benefit, I appreciate Will. He helps us a ton.”

Bangasimbo expressed mutual feelings about Salta. “Having a coach like Will, he knows what he’s talking about. He understands us better, and we understand him better because he played last year. Will understands what we need.”

Rick Scott said he’s glad that Salta is a part of the coaching staff: “Will Salta is doing a real nice job with them. He usually has ten, eleven, twelve kids for practice and he keeps them going. They do a lot of good stuff.”

Scott also stood by his decision to bring on Salta, noting that availability and previous coaching experience was a key factor. Scott said: “He has experience coaching at the club level in the past, and we were lucky that he was in the area.”

Scott expressed uncertainty in having another reserve team next year. “I don’t know if we’ll have a reserve team next year. Right now we [have] some players that play reserves and varsity, and then you have to keep track of their games. So there’s a lot to it, but I give these kids a lot of credit. They show up and work hard every day and hopefully they’ll get rewarded with more games.”

Luke Stergiou can be contacted at

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