By JOHN STOLLER
Junior Samy Ramadane has been a key cog for the Hopkins men’s soccer team ever since he stepped on the pitch day one as a freshman.
His four goals and nine total points both ranked second on the team while leading the freshman class. As an encore, Ramadane took the field as a sophomore and continued to dominate.
He took home a Centennial Conference Player of the Week Award last season and had several clutch goals, including two within 98 seconds that brought the team back against in-Conference foe Swarthmore College.
The midfielder has been at it again in 2015 and just this past week continued an offensive hot streak.
Against Ursinus College, he scored two goals and chipped in an assist to lead the Jays to a 3-2 victory.
These performance earned Ramadane another Centennial Conference Player of the Week Award as well as the honor of The News-Letter Athlete of the Week.
The News-Letter sat down to chat with Ramadane about his recent success.
The News-Letter: Statistically you had your best game of the year against Ursinus. What did you see in them that you could exploit and capitalize on?
Samy Ramadane: By identifying the strengths and weaknesses of Ursinus’s formation, we were able to take control of the midfield and provide our forwards with a lot of opportunities to score.
N-L: You have started to heat up recently, with your first goal of the season against Gettysburg College and then three goals in the ensuing two games. What have you been focusing on to take your play to the next level lately?
SR: Gettysburg was my first game of the season, as I picked up an injury during the first few days of preseason. Injury can be tough to deal with, but I focused on staying positive and involved in the team growth process so that I could have the most positive impact on the team upon returning.
N-L: What do you think has been the defining moment of the team’s season thus far?
SR: Our game against Dickinson was a hard-fought battle. After a red card saw us go down to ten men, we showed the resiliency that, along with our tactical and technical potential, makes for a formidable team.
N-L: With fives games left, four of them are against Conference opponents. What does the team as a whole feel like it has to do to emerge from this stretch with a playoff berth in hand?
SR: In terms of standings, we are in a solid position to win a playoff spot. However, our goal is to take each competition as a test of our strengths and weaknesses so that we can continue to improve and put ourselves in the best position for playoffs.
N-L: Who are the soccer players you most respect or model your game after?
SR: One of the best parts of soccer is that each player brings his or her own style to the game. I try to learn from the strengths and weaknesses of the players around me and those who play the game at the highest level. In particular, I have the utmost respect for Pelé. I have never seen anyone play the game as beautifully and flawlessly as him.
After missing the first nine games of the year, Ramadane now leads the Jays with four goals and nine points.
The Jays next take the field on Saturday, Oct. 17 on Homewood Field in a bout against top-ranked Franklin & Marshall College.
Though often missing a significant amount of time, especially to injury, slows down a player physical and mental transition back to full-speed game action, Ramadane has not only survived, but thrived, on the pitch. His goal against Ursinus illustrated just how ready he was for live competition: On practically his first touch of the game, two minutes into the contest, Ramadane approached a through ball from Senior Kenny DeStefano at full speed and one touched it past Ursinus goalie Vince Maiorino.