Men’s soccer senior Pape Seye, Kuda Wekwete, and Jorge Rodriguez can beat you in a number of ways on the pitch. They can burn you with speed. Or break your ankles with moves straight out of a video game. But challenge them to a game of Scrabble, and it’s another story entirely.
“Were all foreigners,” Rodriguez said.
“Scrabble’s not the game to play,” Wekwete said.
While word games may not be their thing, this trio of seniors has excelled at almost everything else on the field this year, providing leadership and experience on a team with over 15 new faces.
“You only hope that when you get guys coming into the program, that they continue to develop and progress like [these three have],” said head coach Bryan Scales. “All three of those guys have been instrumental on and off the field as far as leadership – leading by example, playing hard in games and practice. They’ve been terrific.”
Playing as an offensive midfielder for the Red this year, Seye comfortably stepped into a leadership role for the team. He has been a key component of Cornell’s transition game and his ability to make runs off his fellow midfielders has made him a dangerous offensive threat, posting four goals and one assist this season
“This has been a terrific year for Pape,” Scales said. “He’s matured, he can play fast, he’s stronger, and he’s really developed into a very good soccer player throughout his four years here.”
Starting up top for Cornell, Wekwete blossomed into Cornell’s leading scorer with five goals and 10 total points. With a dangerous left foot and blinding speed, Wekwete has provided several clutch goals this year, including a game-winner against Harvard in the final 30 seconds of the contest.
Rounding out the trio of seniors, Rodriguez has provided an energetic spark in the center of the midfield for the Red this year. Rodriguez, who transferred from Syracuse in his junior year, made the most of his time at Cornell.
Sporting the captains armband in several matches for the Red, Rodriguez has been crucial in midfield defending as well an important part of the squad’s transition game.
“He covers a lot of ground, he’s quick to go pressure the ball, and he gives us another dimension,” Scales said. “He’s also been very good with the young players, bringing the young guys along.”
“I aspire to have a presence on the field, and to be able to intimidate the other midfielders and let them know that this our game,” Rodriguez said.
Cornell’s 3-9-2, 2-4-0 Ivy record this year fails to reflect the impact these three have had on the squad.
“They’ve been part of what I feel has been a terrific first step for this program in heading toward a championship,” Scales said.
While disappointed with the team’s record this year, the seniors reflect fondly on their time with the Red and are optimistic about the future of the program.
“This team has great chemistry,” Rodriguez said. “We’re all there for each other. We not only trust each other, but also help and push each other.”
“I think these guys have a really good team coming up next year and they have great potential,” Wekwete said.
Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Staff Writer