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Austin DaSilva is the Star Men’s Soccer Needs to Succeed

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Sophomore star Austin DaSilva has been putting on a show for the University at Albany men’s soccer program in 2019.

DaSilva was raised in a soccer household where his father used to hold him up to kick a soccer ball before he could even walk.

Since he started playing organized soccer, his family was at every game and he said seeing his family gave him that “extra drive” to be the best player on the field.

He played three years of high school soccer in Brookfield, Connecticut before elevating to a higher level. He was also part of the Beachside Soccer Club, where he was awarded the Eastern Conference Player of the Year in 2017.

After high school, DaSilva chose to play for the UConn Huskies, his dream school since he was a sophomore. He wanted to be close to home so he could “be the hometown hero,” DaSilva said. As a Husky, he started in all 18 games, scored twice and collected three assists.

Prior to beginning his sophomore campaign at UConn, he realized the program was not the right fit for him. That fall, he chose to take the semester off.

“It just didn’t really work out,” DaSilva said. “There was nothing they did wrong, or nothing I did wrong. I am grateful for the experience.” 

The following January, DaSilva moved to Albany, rooming with current team captain Reid Conde and formed an “inseparable” bond. He transitioned into life in Albany while studying, training and forming friendships with the players on the team.

“It’s a really close group,” DaSilva said. “We spend so much time together. It’s like brotherhood.”

In soccer, when a team clicks, the wins follow. The team is starting to play with confidence and their most recent victory against Dartmouth solidified the team mentality. In their past three showdowns against Dartmouth (2013, 2015, and 2018), the Danes were shutout in all three games. 

“Coach Gorman told us we’ve never beaten them and that was a huge motivation,” DaSilva said. “We wanted to beat them on our home ground. We knew we had to come out with a lot of energy.”

With goals from DaSilva and Conde within two minutes of each other in the first half, the Danes had the momentum. They held a 4-0 lead in the second half and ended up surrendering two goals, but still comfortably won 4-2.

The two goals improved his team-lead to five, three more than anyone on the team, and his team-lead in points to 11, six more than anyone on the team. His five goals rank tied-second in the America East, his 11 points and 12 shots on goal rank second.

Following a very close loss against the No. 2 nationally ranked Kentucky Wildcats earlier in the season, it took a few games but the team analyzed their loss and worked out the kinks.

“We knew we could play with any team in the country,” DaSilva said with confidence. “We need to keep the same mentality.”

With games against conference teams next on the schedule, DaSilva and the team look forward to the challenge.

Continuing to play the same tactics and focusing on the end of the season, the team sets their eyes on the America East conference title and a shot in the NCAA tournament.

“[We are] ready to run through a wall,” DaSilva said about the upcoming conference play.

Despite a 1-0 loss to Hartford to begin conference play, UAlbany outshot their opponent 20-7 – though only four were on goal. After a 1-10-5 record in 2018, Hartford is a much-improved 6-2 this season. Although the Danes fell short, they still have six conference games remaining and are 3-1-1 in their last five games.

The men’s soccer team will return home on Oct. 8 against Hofstra University.

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