Senior Jabari Danzy, forward for the men’s soccer team, set the Cougars up for success after their opening weekend by being named Missouri Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Week.
Danzy said he is pleased with the recognition, but is more concerned with the team’s performance as a whole.
“I’m happy to have received the honor. I think it’s a good start for me and my team. I just hope it continues throughout the season, along with other honors — I’m more worried about the team itself rather than individual honors, whether it’s myself or my teammates. I’m just hoping for the best,” Danzy said.
Danzy was born in Atlanta, Ga. and raised in Chicago, Ill. and has been playing soccer since he was three years old. He played throughout high school on the Chicago Fire Academy team and went on to play for Northern Illinois University during his first semester of college before transferring to SIUE. Danzy said he enjoys SIUE and the local love for soccer.
“I love it. NIU was a football school, so they took a lot of priority over events and sports and whatever it might have been,” Danzy said. “Coming to a soccer school and city, in regard to St. Louis that thinks so highly of soccer, it’s a big transition. It’s almost black and white from NIU.”
During the opening weekend, Danzy scored both of SIUE’s goals between the two games. Danzy said the Cougars had high confidence going into the game against Bowling Green State University, which contributed to their mistakes.
“We did well in the pre-season, so I think everyone had high expectations going into the first game. Maybe [we were] a little big-headed, along with the first game and [there] being nerves, anxiety [and us] not [being] too sure of what was going to happen. I think that got the [best] of us,” Danzy said.
Although he was able to score in the second half, Danzy said the team could not make up the three-point loss.
“The first half, we got outplayed; we made some dumb mistakes and they capitalized on them. The second half we did better, played our game — traditional SIUE soccer — no worries,” Danzy said. “At that pointwe were down 3-0, so we really didn’t have much more to lose; we just needed to focus on our integrity and playing what we practiced all throughout the preseason.”
Danzy said the second game of the weekend, against Oakland University, allowed the Cougars to show their character. He attributed this to the team no longer being afraid of losing a game.
“The second game was pretty much just a bounce back. It wasn’t really much to it; we knew what we had to do. We had the first loss out of the season,” Danzy said. “Our coach always says that we’re not going to go undefeated, and after losing the first game, that’s even more apparent. Not worrying about losing a game this season is out the window, so we can just focus on ourselves and do whatever we need to do.”
Danzy said his personal objective for the rest of the season is to maintain consistency both on and off the field.
“[My goal is to] continue being a senior and leading the team by my actions. I don’t like to voice my opinion too much, so I just want to lead by whatever I do,” Danzy said.