Letter to the Editor: Soccer article depicted team too negatively

To the Editor:

I am a senior on the men’s soccer team.  I just finished reading your article in The Bucknellian this week (Oct. 7) regarding our recent games against American and UMBC, and wanted to take the time to thank you for what is an unmistakably poor account written by someone who ostensibly has no competent background or understanding of the game of soccer at all.  Let me expand on this in several ways.In light of what is written below, if I have misread the tone of your article, or have made accusations that are inaccurate or inappropriate … I apologize.  I am merely expressing my disappointment in your account, while keeping in mind my own expectations for a journalist writing about his own school’s soccer team.The men’s soccer team has won two consecutive Patriot League Championships, broken several records in the past two years, and continues to demonstrate a capability of playing with the top teams in the country (See 2011 games against #10 Notre Dame, #6 Indiana, and #25 Monmouth, if you find this hard to believe).  We recently shutout a UMBC  team that advanced to the second round of NCAAs last year, and has one of the top attacking duos in the country (their roster is online …#9 and #10, if you are curious) … your coverage of the UMBC game went no further than mentioning that we have been “unable to break [our] winless streak”.Our recent losses in the Patriot League have come against two very good teams … both of which happened to be losses in my sophomore year when the team went 17-6 (a program record), won the Patriot League Regular Season Championship, and the tournament, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championships … I may be wrong, but I believe that this is further than any other athletic team at the University in recent years.My problem with your article is grounded primarily on the fact that it appears as though it is written by a journalist from another school.  You apparently saw no problem in using phrases such as “the struggles continue” and “men’s soccer was unable to break its winless streak” (it’s a two-game losing streak for God’s sake … with a tie against one of the top offenses in the country).  What bothered me even more is the tone you use in actually complimenting the American team in last Saturday’s game.  I quote: “American answered with a goal by Seth Goldman after a beautiful pass from Cristobal Soto.”

As I write this, I’m still confused as to whether you are a writer for The Bucknellian or the American University school newspaper.

In an article about your own school’s soccer team, you managed to include the names of four American players … and four Bucknell players … a ratio which I hardly deem appropriate or fitting for a journalist covering his own school’s athletic endeavors.

In the future, I want to ask you to please consider the implications of writing an article in which you (perhaps indirectly) castigate your own school’s soccer team after two heartbreaking losses.  I want you to try to understand that, when students and faculty read The Bucknellian, an article like yours isn’t very conducive to bringing fans to games or encouraging support for the athletes.

Thank you for your time, and the attention/commitment you have put towards framing our season in a negative light.
Please feel free to come to our next home game against Penn State (10/26).  Hopefully, we’ll be able to turn this “winless streak” around by then. 

All the best,

Ryan Sappington ’12
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