Apr. 14, 2021
The men’s soccer team won the GSAC regular season championship for the first time since 2002 on Saturday, Oct. 31. Senior midfielder Joey O’Keefe credits the Biola University men’s soccer team for producing a unique brotherhood both on and off the field, which has contributed to their success this season.
O’Keefe, a business administration major, played on the men’s soccer team for all four years of his Biola career. He began leading the team as team captain at the end of his sophomore year under the leadership of head coach Todd Elkins, whom O’Keefe believes is responsible for his growth as a captain.
“I had captain roles in middle school and high school and for other teams I played for growing up, but I only knew what a captain was on the field and what it looked like to be a leader on the field,” said O’Keefe. “[Elkins] definitely brought to me the side of a spiritual leader that I never had before, that I hadn’t developed yet. That has helped me so much … to build relationships with those guys being a leader off the field.”
He notes that his time playing for Biola’s men’s soccer has allowed him to develop extremely close friendships with the people on the team. He now lives with seven of his teammates and is especially close to four other seniors, who all played since 2012 alongside O’Keefe.
“Our senior class is extremely unique in the sense that we’ve been the closest class that any coach has ever seen,” O’Keefe said. “We live together, we eat together, we do life together. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. We love each other outside of soccer.”
The men’s soccer team is striving to become closer as a whole, and started out the semester with a missions trip to Japan for a week and a half. This opportunity was especially unique because it was the first opportunity for the men’s soccer team to serve on a missions team in 15 years. O’Keefe believes the trip allowed them to individually grow in their faith and learn to trust in each other as well. Due to the language barrier, O’Keefe stated that the team grew closer by overcoming obstacles during their trip.
“It was awesome because … everyone got to fully commit and fully believe in the system that we were trying to do,” O’Keefe said. “No win, no loss, no accomplishment I’ve ever gotten will compare to the experience I got to have with those guys.”
O’Keefe, a three-time Golden State Athletic Conference all-conference player and 2015 GSAC Player of the Year, wants to set a standard for community on the team and draws inspiration from the friendships he has made while playing soccer at Biola.
O’Keefe credits his teammates for shaping him into the player and person he is today. He notes that the success he experienced is due to the unique brotherhood that he and his teammates formed, and he is confident that their friendships will live long after he graduates in the spring of 2016.
“I know for a fact they’re gonna be my friends — it’s lifelong,” said O’Keefe. “It’s not going to be just these four years and then we’re done with each other. I couldn’t have done anything without them. I attribute everything I have to them.”
They play next in the GSAC Tournament Semifinals at Biola on Nov. 12 at 5:00 p.m.
Written by Angelene Wong. For more information, contact Jenna Loumagne, media relations specialist, at (562) 777- 4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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