Humble, experienced and determined.
These words describe the men’s soccer team’s goalkeeper, senior Doug Allan. Following last season’s exclusion from the NCAA tournament, Allan will lead a team that is resolute in its desire to make it to the dance this year — Allan’s final season with the Red.
An All-Ivy selection last year, Allan will serve an important role this season in helping the Red attain that goal. And according to head coach Bryan Scales, Allan is up to the challenge.
“Last year, he saved us in a bunch of games,” said Scales. “The connections that you get from playing games get going after you get some games under your belt. We hope that Doug can save us a little bit until we can get those connections going.”
Allan possesses all of the characteristics of an elite goalkeeper. His athletic skills are exemplary; his talent in organizing the defense is evident to the observer.
“He’s very athletic, he’s good off his line, he can jump, he can catch balls, he can hit balls,” lauded Scales. “He’s very quick.”
Allan, however, prefers to attribute his on-the-field success to hard work and determination rather than natural ability.
“I really don’t think I have that much more talent than anyone else,” he said. “I had the right work ethic and the right mindset. Through that, I’ve learned that goalkeeping is much more mental than it is physical. From watching professional goalkeepers and from watching tapes of your own games, you learn how to think, how to be quick, how to make quick decisions — and I think I’ve been lucky enough to have intelligent goalkeeper coaches.”
High quality coaching began for Allan at a very early age.
While a junior league player in Irvine, Calif., Allan was coached by the then-goalkeeper of the Cal State Fullerton soccer team.
“He had no idea what he was doing, but he would come out to my practices, and he would take what he was doing at the college level and do the same things with me at the ages of 14 or 15,” Allan recalled.
Ability aside, Allan will help the Red in another important way — by setting the tone for a team that is ready to make a move in both the Ivy League and in the national consciousness.
“He has the ability to lift his teammates by making a big save,” Scales said. “And he’s been around the block. He’s had good seasons, and he’s had bad seasons. He knows what both look like. The team really looks to him.”
“That’s Scales’s big motivating factor,” said Allan. “He wants everyone, but mostly the seniors, to impart their personality on the team. I think the more personality [the seniors] can exude, the better the team is going to be. It’s not what you say but what you do. We need to show the freshmen and the sophomores and the juniors that winning doesn’t come automatically.”
And to Allan, imparting his personality means imparting his work ethic.
“When I was a freshman, we had a lot of wonderful athletes. They weren’t necessarily outstanding soccer players. They just worked their butts off and that’s how we won games,” he said. “We still will outwork hopefully any team we play against, but the difference between three years ago and now is that these guys love to play soccer and that’s what they’ve grown up with and that’s what they want to do when they leave, and that’s what they want to do while they’re here. They understand what it means to be a professional player.”
Archived article by Owen Bochner