Freshman emerges as scoring threat for men’s soccer

Stephen MacDonald is a name that many Seattle Pacific soccer fans will get to know over the next four years, considering that the freshman forward leads the Falcons in scoring in his debut season.

“He was fired up to score on his first start,” head coach Mark Collings said. “He already had practice scoring in preseason, so he was ready.”

MacDonald is one of five players on the SPU men’s soccer team to have played in all 16 games so far this season, a rare accomplishment for a freshman.

“I think I’ve adapted well,” MacDonald said. “All the guys have helped me adjust and move into college life.”

His teammates agree that it has been a smooth transition.

“He reads plays well and understands what he has to do,” sophomore midfielder Danny Olivas said. “He knows he has to play simple. He’s always ready to perform once his number is called.”

The Falcons have had 12 different players score this year, and MacDonald leads the pack — he  has four goals on the season thus far.

MacDonald’s first goal for the Falcons came in his first ever SPU start on Sept. 19 against the South Dakota School of Mines.

“It felt really good to get that off my back — to know that I can score and will score more,” MacDonald said.

Out of MacDonald’s four goals, three of them have come on his starts. He has started four games this year, so it is clear he has really been making the most of his opportunities.

“Once he reaches top speed, he’s hard to stop. He is always a threat up top,” Olivas said.

The coach also agrees that he has a lot of talent.

“Stephen provides us with different skills. He’s a big, strong kid that likes to run at defenders,” Collings said. “He’s a difficult matchup for the opponent.”

Even though MacDonald is from Arizona, Seattle is a place that he is quite fond of.

“It’s been great coming here to a school that has such a great program with five national titles, and I love Seattle,” MacDonald said.

He has big goals for this season and the rest of his Falcons career, as well.

“The goal is to win the national title. If we continue to play well, I think it’s possible,” MacDonald said.

This season MacDonald has been averaging over 48 minutes a game — a number that is sure to increase in the future as he continues to improve.

This week the Falcons’ (11-2-3, 9-1-3 GNAC) school-record-tying 14-game unbeaten streak came to a close when they fell 1-0 to No. 3 Simon Fraser (15-1-1, 11-1-1 GNAC) on the road Saturday.

The Clan avenged a loss from earlier in the season and won the game in overtime.

On Thursday, the Falcons beat Western Washington (10-4-3, 8-2-3 GNAC) on the road 1-0.

The Falcons will look to end the season on a high as they close their season this week. SPU plays  at non-conference opponent California Baptist on Wednesday and then at Saint Martin’s (5-10-2, 5-6-2 GNAC) on Saturday.