Men’s soccer seeks first-ever win in New York against Columbia

Paul Sherman/Daily
Buy this photo

By Minh Doan, Daily Sports Writer
Published September 4, 2014

Being an out-of-state student at the University means there are few opportunities to go home to see friends and family.

But for six players on the Michigan men’s soccer team, they will get to don the Michigan jersey in front of their most loyal supporters.

For fifth-year senior midfielder Tyler Arnone, sophomore midfielders Brett Nason and Michael Kapitula, freshman defender Billy Stevens, redshirt freshman midfielder Tyler Anderson and freshman goalkeeper Evan Louro, they will get the chance to do just that when the Wolverines travel to New York to take on Columbia in the Lions’ season opener on Saturday.

“This is the first opportunity I’ll have to play in front of my friends and family,” Arnone said. “Most of them haven’t seen me play since high school. I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am.”

Assistant coach Tommy McMenemy will also be going home — Columbia.

Ten years ago, McMenemy played for the Lions, where he was a two-time first-team Ivy League selection, as well as a captain his senior year.

While none of the coaches he played under are still at Columbia, McMenemy coached under current head coach Kevin Anderson before coming to Michigan.

“(Anderson) was a mentor for me earlier in my coaching career,” McMenemy said. “We worked together for four great years.”

But while there will be some players returning home, there will also be other players visiting New York for the first time.

And the city natives are just as excited to show the newcomers around.

“I could go on and on about New York City,” Arnone said. “Times Square, Central Park and the World Trade Center Memorial are three places I want to show the guys.”

Michigan will visit New York for only the second time in its 14-year history. The first visit came seven years ago against St. John’s — the same school where Arnone used his redshirt season before transferring to the Wolverines — where it lost 2-0.

And while Arnone couldn’t give any insight on Columbia’s team, he did reminisce on his youth playing in New York City.

“I played in the city pretty much my whole youth soccer career,” Arnone said. “It was always on turf with the city skyline in the background and it’s where I’m comfortable.”

But as excitement grows for the trip, Arnone is wary that the Wolverines (1-1) can’t have the same “jitters” as they did in their season opener against Florida International — who they lost to 1-0 — if they want to come away with their first ever win in New York.

“Saturday, it’s all about going to New York to get a win,” McMenemy said. “It’s just another game on the schedule.”

For Michigan, the allure of the Big Apple awaits. But the Wolverines aren’t going to New York for sightseeing; they’re going there to earn their second victory of the season.

“At the end of the day, it’s a business trip,” Arnone said. “We’re there for the result.”