Freshman year of college is tough for many. Living on your own for (likely) the first time and adjusting to newfound freedom creates a full plate for most freshmen. The ups and downs often happen so fast they leave you scrambling, unable to do anything to change your situation. Unfortunately, this fate also applied to Texas soccer on Thursday night, who heartbreakingly lost 1-0 to Providence.
For freshmen forwards Sydney Nobles and Teni Akindoju, this new time in their lives is made even more difficult with the pressure of being important contributors for the Longhorns. The biggest adjustment for them?
“Time management. And going to sleep early,” Nobles said.
The two come from vastly different backgrounds, yet both find themselves in similar situations on the field. Growing up in Southlake, Texas, and rooting for UT as a child, Nobles is familiar with the Longhorn experience. On the other hand, Akindoju is from Nova Scotia, playing in the same youth program as fellow teammates Julia Grosso and Emma Regan. According to Akindoju, those two are a big reason why she is on the Forty Acres.
“I’ve known Julia and Emma since I was 12, so definitely they were one of the reasons why I came here,” Akindoju said. “Having Canadians on the field gives you a sense of comfort. We have a great relationship. We played on club together, we played on national teams together, so we kind of know how we play and it helps us when we’re here in Texas.”
Depending on the incoming game plan, both usually play anywhere from one-third to one-half of the game. According to Texas head coach Angela Kelly, there is potential for them to see even more minutes as the season progresses.
“Anybody that goes on the field needs to have the expectation that they’re going to contribute,” Kelly said. “They both have had good minutes this year.”
The way Texas has been performing recently, it won’t be surprising to see such changes within the rotation. After suffering their worst loss in years to Monmouth on Sunday, the Longhorns lost a nail biter to Providence on a sudden death overtime goal. Despite more than doubling the Friars in shots 18 to 7, Texas was not able to convert on any of their shots, something that has plagued them for much of the year. Nobles summed it up pretty well.
“We have a lot of chances on goal, but we just need to get them in the net,” Nobles said.
With one more nonconference game before the Longhorns head to Kansas for Big 12 play, the goal for Texas is to blend its young talent into a group that can eventually make a run.
“We have a lot of good players individually killing it,” Akindoju said. “I think now we have to come together and put all our pieces together. We all bring different pieces of the puzzle, and we just have to form it.”