Athlete Spotlight: Q&A with Jacob Cuccia

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Photo Courtesy of CSUSM Athletics

Cuccia reflects back on the tough season for men’s soccer.

Tania Ortiz, Editor-in-Chief

Athlete Spotlight: Q&A with Jacob Cuccia

Jacob Cuccia is a fifth-year biological science major at CSUSM. He plays as winger/forward on the men’s soccer team. The 2021 fall season marked his fourth year playing on the team and his last in his collegiate career. Cuccia reflects on playing for the men’s soccer team and their season, which ended abruptly after losing against Cal State San Bernardino on Nov. 4.

 

 How did it feel to be back on the field after the year-long break due to the pandemic?

It was amazing. That was really the driving force that kept a lot of us motivated and focused through the pandemic and the long break that we had. Just that feeling of being back with the team, being back on the field, and just doing what you love every day.

 

Did you have any goals that you wanted to accomplish during the season? As a team? Did you get to achieve those goals?

 As a team, we have major goals that we’d like and want to accomplish, but this season didn’t go as well as we had hoped. But we did just come off a very long break, so you kind of give some leeway to that.

But as for individual goals, I just wanted to go out since it was my last season. I wanted to give everything I had and go out on top, personally and with the team, end the season and career off with a bang.

 

You mentioned that this was a pretty tough season for you guys. How did you all keep up the energy and morale from game to game?

Yeah, definitely. When you take some hard losses and some hard results, it’s kind of a little bit shot in the heart at times. But you have to have very good teamwork and communication between everybody and just make sure everyone’s on the same path.

Even with the number of losses, just kind of not forget about it but move on from it. Just look forward from there and look forward to the next game because the longer you dwell on the bad stuff, it sticks. You want to get rid of it when you have a short season and a bunch of games to play.

 

Did this tough season impact the team dynamic at all?

Not really. Everyone’s pretty strong-minded, and we all were brought into the major picture. So, if you get a bad result here and there, you just move past it. The team was good with that this year. Everyone’s morale was high week-in and week-out, and everyone just wanted to keep grinding to get those big results when we needed them.

 

Were the coaches also a big help with keeping that energy up?

Yeah, absolutely. Every practice, they would just say, “trust the process, trust what we’re doing here.” They were like, “we’re going to get through it,” and that we’re going to get the results, and luck is going to turn our way eventually. “Just keep your heads up and keep going,” that was kind of their message.

 

Do you think that there’s anything that you all could have done better this season?

If you look at this season, overall, there are probably things you could pick out and say we may have been able to do this better. But at the end of the day, bad luck came our way a little bit. We lost some close results and tough games that made the season go from here (high) to here (low). So, it’s not anything we did wrong. It’s just more that we didn’t get the results when we needed them. That’s just kind of how it is.

 

Are there any tips you would like to give to any prospective players interested in playing at CSUSM? 

First and foremost, it’s a great program. Coach Ron runs a tight ship; he runs a good show. It’s all team first. Everyone is a family; it’s definitely a good place to be.

As far as soccer-wise, he wants us to play the right way. And in college soccer, it’s more like bigger, faster guys kind of sending the ball up, and they’re just running after it. But the way that he wants us to play is more possession-based. It’s more fun on the ball when you’re playing around the field. You’re not just kind of running around chasing the ball.

So, you know, we’re on the right track. And we’ve been practicing a bunch of the tactics that we want to do. It’s a program going in the right direction, that’s for sure. 

What has been the best part about playing for CSUSM?

The best thing is just j being around your best friends every day. Your teammates become your family and truly your brothers because we’re with each other six, seven days a week, for multiple hours for months straight in. Most of the team even live with each other.

 So, you come home from practice, and you’re around the same guys you were just with practice. It just builds like a nice family dynamic. And you meet a bunch of people from different backgrounds, and everyone just becomes your brother for the rest of your life. You make a family here, so that was probably the best thing I would take out of it.

 

The Cougar Chronicle: The independent student news site of California State University, San Marcos