By Danielle Achin, Staff Writer
This year, the COVID-19 outbreak forced all Framingham State fall sports to come to an end.
Sophomore Dante Mancini was crushed to hear his soccer season was cut short.
Mancini arrived from Hopedale and had been playing soccer since he was about 3 years old. He decided to continue his athletic career at Framingham State, and has been representing the uniform since.
“When I was younger I played a bunch of sports. I was into soccer, lacrosse, football, and basketball sometimes,” Mancini said. “I played soccer and lacrosse for seven or eight years just before high school started, and I stuck to just soccer.”
Last season, the team took home victory in the MASCAC championship game against Salem State, 1-0, and were determined to make it there again.
They played their final game Nov. 16, where they fell in the NCAA Tournament against Messiah University.
“We were all sad, after our last season we were all excited to play again,” Mancini said. “A Lot of us live for the competitiveness, and we just wanted to fight for another championship.”
Mancini finished last year’s season with a .118 shot percentage, scoring two goals and an assist.
Although they don’t have any scheduled practice times, this didn’t stop the team from getting together on their own to play.
“We still practice at least two times a week – we’re still very lucky to even play,” Mancini said. “Even though we don’t have a season and the competitiveness isn’t there, we still love to get together and continue to play.”
Mancini said the passion his teammates showed for the game and the welcoming community Framingham offered is what kept his spirit going.
“Going into freshman year, I never actually looked into going to Framingham until last minute,” Mancini said. “But with the team, not even just the chemistry, but the way everyone cared about the game, it was one of the only factors that kept me at Framingham.”
He added, “Without my teammates I wouldn’t be where I am.”
Mancini said with COVID-19 having postponed their season, it has brought them closer together as a team on the field.
“We had to stick together as a group and pushed each other on the field,” Mancini said. “Through all that adversity, in the end it paid off. The balance of having fun and knowing when to win and get stuff done was one of the key factors that helped me stick to the group.”
Mancini hopes the season will resume next year, when he can get back to the field with his teammates.
He offered some words of experience to the upcoming members.
“A bunch of us know the feeling of almost not being able to play, so we try to stay positive,” Mancini said. “Keep working hard and make this experience the best, and remember what’s driving us all, four seasons isn’t much in the long run, so just show everything you have.”