Leading isn’t just for the seniors

Being one of only two seniors on the men’s soccer team might make some people feel a little lonely, but not Brian Gil.

But how does it feel to be outnumbered?

“I don’t like to think of it as being outnumbered,” Gil laughs.

Yes, there are only two seniors on this team, but don’t worry, that’s just fine with Hunter West.

“We’re up to the challenge of teaching these new guys the ropes,” said West, who led the team with seven goals last season.

Cream of the crop? Sure. Players who hate to lose? Yes.


“I think leadership is a big part of everything,” Gil said. “Being in the center of the field is kind of like you control the flow of the game and everything goes through you, so I think it’s something that I have to work on and try to help out the younger kids and the newcomers and try to be a role model for them.”

With nine incoming freshman, both seniors have their work cut out for them.

“I know we have a young team, but we need to step up and play good soccer and I know we can,” West said.

West, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound forward from Bradenton, was the team-leading goal scorer in each of his first three seasons with the Bulls. But there’s an additional goal for him. This year, West has his eyes set on the NCAA tournament.

“In the three years I’ve been here, we haven’t been in the NCAA tournament,” West said. “Getting to the tournament and finishing in the top two in our division is one of our goals this season.”

Being a consummate team player, Gil acknowledges that there are other leaders on the field.

“There’s more than just me and Hunter,” Gil said. “We have Dane (Brenner), he’s really a senior, but he redshirted. Other than that, I like having youth on the team. They bring new things to the team. With the new freshman that we got in, we can expect a lot of new leadership from them. I’ve played with the returning guys before and I know that we have a pretty good team.”

Gil, a 5-foot-8, 150-pound middle forward from Ormond Beach, plays on a stingy defense that recorded a 1.25 goals against average last season. Being that this is his last year with the Bulls, Gil also has a new goal, very similar to West’s, on his agenda.

“I want to make it to the NCAA tournament and hopefully go far in that,” Gil said. “I want USF to get its name out there so that the returning guys that are coming back will have something to look forward to and hopefully we’ll attract more good players that will want to come to USF.”

Assistant coach and former USF player Ryan Anatol knows what it takes to be a leader and finds that both seniors have what it takes to be great leaders.

“They have a lot of experience between them,” Anatol said. “Just like Dane, Hunter and Brian are very good with teaching the newcomers and building chemistry on this team.”

Leaving a lasting legacy is always near the top of a seniors to-do list, but whom does West want to be remembered as?

“A goal scorer,” West said. “Hopefully I’ll contribute lots of goals, because I’m not only a leader, but also a big goal scorer for the team.”

He certainly can’t be that lonely.