Student-athletes and playing their last seasons

Edgar Ayala – Sports Writer

There comes a time in a student-athlete’s career when serving their four years of college athletics arrives, and stepping down to let younger players take over the program begins.  

After the student-athlete has completed their four years, it’s never easy to say goodbye to the team, coaches and teammates they’ve met along the way. This was the case for student-athletes at Southern Connecticut.  

Redshirt senior Tyler Naef said playing for the Southern soccer team has been the best years of his life. Naef added that every time he played, he took full advantage of every minute he was on the field, as he didn’t want his college years to pass by.    

“It’s shocking to see how fast time flies and out how quickly each fall season goes,” said the captain, Naef. “It’s going to be hard to walk away at the end of the season knowing I am not coming back. But I know I will keep the friendships that I’ve made, and come back to watch some games from the sidelines.”

Naef has been known to be the supporting player that has helped his teammates do the scoring. From his time playing for the Owls, he tallied up seven assists and registered two goals.  

In addition, Naef has played and started in every of the 16 regular season games since his freshman year.  

Yet, without missing a regular season game, there still raises concerns of who will fill the midfield and captain role that Naef implanted on the soccer program.  

“Southern soccer is a trophied program with a great historic record,” said Naef. “The coaches know the types of players they need to bring in to be successful. These players may be young and inexperienced, but the soccer program is capable of having a good season again, next year.”

Kameron Tedder is also on his way to playing his last regular season game for the football program. The Owls take on Merrimack College this Saturday in their season finale game where Tedder, the defensive linesman, will have the chance to make his last tackles in college football.  

Tedder heads into last game of the regular season with a season-best of 29 tackles. He said as the final game approaches he still feels the need to play competitively after this year is over.  

It’s a bittersweet moment,” Tedder said. “I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to play college football during my entire academic career. And thankful that my path lead me to Southern, and to the people that I’ve had the pleasure to play with.”

Likewise, Tedder agreed with Naef that the team is in great hands for next year, as there’s always going to be players stepping up to perform. But he also said there were multiple things he’ll miss about Southern’s football program.  

“A few things that come to mind is running out of the tunnel before the game: being around the great coaching staff and most importantly my brothers,” said Tedder.  

As the last couple of games approach Tedder and Naef, both show much passion for their sport; both said they want to keep playing even after they graduate.  

“Nothing compares to the experience I’ve had with this team,” Naef said. “It will be hard to let go and walk away, but that is life, and look forward to future endeavors.”

Photo Credit: Kari


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