With the departure of many vets, Brett Surrency and the Panthers hope to repeat last year’s success

The Panthers lost many key players from their 2020 second-place team, but the future still remains bright with a solid roster. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

The Georgia State men’s soccer team wrapped up their 2020 season in a disappointing fashion last month, losing in the Sun Belt Conference championship. 

They played the entire season and managed to end with an efficient 9-2-2 record. 

Even though the team experienced an unconventional season, this did not discourage them as they continued to display good performances. Head coach Brett Surrency was impressed with the way the team played, given the circumstances. 

“There were a lot of different things going on this year that were very atypical with respect to COVID,” Surrency said. “We had a good bit of contenders come back, and we also had to integrate new players, which can take a while.” 

The Panthers faced some of the same teams on multiple occasions, which was unusual for the team and coaching staff. The team took advantage of this byproduct of the pandemic and defeated the Mercer Bears twice. It also produced a trilogy with the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, which ended in a draw, with both teams winning one apiece and the last meeting ending in a tie.

Recent graduate and goalkeeper Paul Tyson experienced some additional adversity due to the pandemic but still enjoyed his final season at Georgia State. 

“It was strange because we obviously faced the same [Coastal Carolina] team during regular season twice, which we had never done before,” Tyson said. “That was unusual because you never get such quick turnarounds to prepare for the same team.”

The rest of the team and the coaching staff had the same attitude. Surrency was impressed with how his athletes continued to improve even when adapting to a new season. 

Multiple Panthers were named to the Georgia State honors list for the fall academic semester, and freshmen defender Alex Henderson received student-athlete of the week honors in November.

“George Proctor is the first player that comes to mind because he was the conference defender and player of the year,” Surrency said. “I was very pleased for him because a lot of times we don’t think he gets the notoriety that [he] deserves for the work that he puts in.” 

The coaching staff instills discipline and hard work in its players every single season. Paul Tyson acknowledged that these lessons from the soccer field would stay with him for the rest of his life. 

“I just think that there are some things, as a student-athlete in a good program, that you learn and take it with you in life,” Tyson said, “From all aspects like teamwork, determination and even down to small things like time management and to respect the opinions of others.” 

Even though the season has ended, Surrency is already looking forward to next season, and he is excited to take the field. He and the coaching staff are always sharpening their skills to ensure his team will always have useful guidance and great performances.

“I’m honestly excited just to get back with the guys,” Surrency said. “I think the gaps in-between seasons are always nice to start because you’re usually coming off of a longer season, and that entails a lot. But after the break, we’re ready to get back going again.”