The Georgia State men’s soccer team’s 2016 season has been one of the extremes. Eight games in and this season has already produced exciting, competitive matches, critical game winners, and multiple hat tricks. The season is also bearing witness to an unblemished home record, but a nearly winless record away from it.
One of the biggest reasons for the Panther’s success at the GSU Soccer Complex is the sophomore from Germany, Hannes Burmeister. In the first home game of the season, Burmeister notched a hat trick in a 4-1 smashing of the Memphis Tigers. To Burmeister, being able to score three goals was not a surprise to him.
“I was well prepared for this,” Burmeister said. “I worked a lot in the summer, I knew what to expect from last season; I just did not think it was going to happen during the first game.”
There is not a much better start than a hat trick in the home opener, at least for most players, but then again, most players are not Hannes Burmeister. The very next game he added three more goals versus Lipscomb, exemplifying exactly why so much soccer talent comes out of Germany.
“Now I won’t lie, the second one caught me little off guard,” Burmeister added with a chuckle. “But I’m just happy I was able to help my team.”
There were not any more hat-tricks, but that did not stop Georgia State from collecting more wins. The next couple wins highlighted two new heroes, this time, British ones. Oliver Haines played hero first as he knocked in two goals versus Central Arkansas, and freshman Kyle Clinton follows up in the next home game by scoring his first career goal to seal the win against Presbyterian.
“It felt great to score,” Haines said. “That was really my first game playing significant minutes in since last year I ended up redshirting.”
Sadly, not all games can be played at home, and to say it kindly; the Panthers have underperformed away from the GSU Soccer Complex. Away from home, the Panthers have lost all but one game, but each match has been close with the three losses coming by a total of only four goals. Haines spoke on what might be the team’s issue.
“At home, we are a very confident bunch, and it’s going to take a good team playing well to come here and beat us,” Haines said. “ I think when we go away we forget what we do and sort of focus on what they do.”
Haines also stressed the importance of getting that first road win and how sooner would be better than later, especially considering the bigger schools with tougher teams that are fast approaching on their schedule. One of those teams also happens to be Duke, a school Sophomore Max Hemmings has heard all about and is excited to face.
“It’s going to be a good experience. Coming from England, Duke is a renowned school even over there,” said Hemmings. “It’s great to be playing the best teams and the best schools, I’m looking forward to it, and the rest of the team is too.”
The team is looking forward to it, and hopefully, they are ready too. The Panthers are about to embark on a road trip to the Carolinas that will conclude with Duke. If the Panthers have plans of staying above .500, they will need to win at least one of the upcoming road games, and Haines believes the first game was the perfect start.
“We needed to get one on the road, and a win against a good side in UNC Asheville gave us that confidence.”