Written by: LynJosha Russell, Campbell blog contributor
Since they were young, the three seniors for Campbell Men’s Soccer: Ricki Gaez, Reafe Anderson, and Isaiah Page invested their lives into the game of soccer.
Tonight their collegiate career slowly starts to dwindle down as the Fighting Camels host Liberty University at 7 p.m on Senior Night. Here’s more on the three Campbell seniors.
Ricki Gaez, midfielder, traveled all the way from Panama City, Panama, recording 30 points on 12 goals and six assists.
Q: Have long have you been playing soccer?
A: “I’ve been playing soccer since I was 3 years old. It all started as just a hobby, just a fun game. I learned soccer in my house garage, and then started playing on the streets until I was 17, while also playing club soccer in high school. Street soccer played an important part in my life (because) I learned the technical aspect of soccer.”
Q: In the time that you’ve played soccer here at Campbell, what have been some changes you have seen, good or bad?
A: “I haven’t been through a lot of changes at Campbell…
Coach Steve Armas has definitely been one of the best coaches/mentors I’ve ever had in my life and soccer career. The program learned a lot from him and as an individual I will always be grateful for everything he did. Personally, it has been a difficult transition with new head coach Dustin Fonder. Having him on the same bench is definitely a different feeling. I think Campbell will continue the years of success under his leadership and the rest of the coaching staff, we have kids with great potential and a lot of talent that can adjust to a different style of play.”
Q: What has been your biggest setback? Greatest victory?
A: “My biggest setback and victory in my years at Campbell has been my PCL/MCL injury. I still remember that night against Charlotte, a game I was enjoying so much last year. We were Ranked 25 in the country until that game. I wanted to give it my all, had my first assist of the season in the first half and starting the second half is when it happened. My knee snapped and it was a terrible feeling of loneliness after that. I didn’t get surgery until the spring season. It was a very tough recovery but I’m thankful for everything that happened. God has a reason for everything and I wouldn’t change anything.”
Reafe Anderson, defender, has been playing soccer since he was five years old living in Brampton, Ontario. Over his collegiate career, Anderson has notched five assists and three goals on six shots.
Q: You transferred to Campbell your sophomore year, how has the soccer program changed since then?
A: “My first year here we had a great team coached by Armas, but we just couldn’t get the results we needed. Second year we struggled again. This is a much better year for the program, I think the program has changed for the better because last two year we had losing records, so this year was a better turn around. I think Dustin (Fonder) has come in and we got the wins.”
Q: Have you noticed any improvements in the team? In yourself?
A: “I noticed a lot of improvements in the team since sophomore year. For myself, I feel like I started to adapt to the change and began to play well my sophomore and junior year. This year hasn’t been the best year for me because I haven’t seen much of the field, due to some changes in the program, but I am a strong believer in God and I leave everything in his hands.”
Q: What has been your greatest soccer moment at Campbell?
A: “Can’t say that I have one memorable moment, but before I transferred here, I use to watch all the ACC teams play. I told myself one day I will be playing against them.”
“My first Division-I start was against Wake Forest and in that moment my heart melted because one of my dreams cane true. I also think scoring my first collegiate goal here against George Mason was also a very memorable moment for me.”
Isaiah Page, midfielder, also from Brampton Ontario, has been playing soccer for 15 years. Page has scored two goals, notched six assists and 53 shots during his Campbell career.
Q: You’ve played at Campbell your whole four years, what have you experienced during your collegiate career that has made you stronger or changed you?
A: “I have gone from being the freshman looking up to all the seniors on the team to being one of the senior players on the team that is responsible for setting a good example and using previous experiences to help the younger players on the team.”
Q: How has the team improved in the last four years?
A: “I would say that every year is a different team altogether. The team we have this year is very different to the team we had last year and even more so from the team I came into my freshman year. The team we have this year is very young but a solid core that has an exciting future to look forward to.”
Q: What has been your greatest moment in your collegiate career?
A: “My greatest moment was my freshmen year beating NC State at NC State. The atmosphere was amazing and it was fun to beat a nationally ranked team at their home field.”
After graduation, many of them hope to have a future in soccer.
But in the end, they know that if things don’t work out in professional soccer, they will happily go back to Canada or Panama to pursue their careers or further their education.
In the match tonight, they are looking forward to putting on their Campbell jerseys and protecting their home field.