Veteran goalies leave mark on men’s soccer team

Spartan goalie Andy Soto-Burgos saving shots.

Over the past couple of seasons, Castleton’s men’s soccer team has had some struggles. They finished last season 7-10-2, and just wrapped up the 2023 campaign with a record of 4-11-3.

Despite these struggles, the team has found strength in their two goalkeepers, graduate student Andy Soto-Burgos, and senior JP Maul. 

Over the last two seasons both goalies have tallied three LEC Goalie of the Week awards respectively, and in 2022, Soto-Burgos led the LEC in saves per game.

“I’m surprised they haven’t had more [recognition], but it doesn’t make or break who they are as players and people,” said head coach John O’Connor. “The amazing thing that people don’t realize is that Andy and JP couldn’t be more supportive or happier for each other when they are recognized by the league or have a good performance for the team. Win, lose, or draw, and they show it,” he said.

Coach O’Connor has had the honor of coaching these two goalies for several years, and gotten to see them grow and develop as not just players, but as people too. 

“Their journeys have been parallel in many respects due to their relationship but divergent as each has brought something different to the table during their careers as Spartans,” O’Connor said. 

O’Connor elaborated by sharing how Maul stepped up big by stopping penalty kicks, but most of all when he filled in for Soto-Burgos when he went down with an injury.

JP Maul saving shots.

“His understanding and ability to read the game from the outside has always been a plus and it’s like he’s another Assistant Coach on the bench when he’s not playing. The respect and admiration his teammates have for him is immeasurable,” he said.

O’Connor also shared how far Soto-Burgos has progressed as a leader in his time at Castleton. 

“He came to our summer ID camp as a freshman in high school and was 5-foot-8 and 120 pounds. Now, four years after that he’s become the player and leader that he is today,” he said. “They’ve both grown in different ways as players and people,” he added. 

Because of their position as a goalie, both of them were thrown into a pressure spot that they have embraced and excelled in. They’ve surely left their mark on the program. 

“They’ve both put in the time and effort day in and day out, challenging their teammates to be the best they can be and vica-versa. It’s a two-way relationship which has benefited everyone including myself,” O’Connor said. 

Although this is Soto-Burgos’ last year with the team, Maul is eligible for a fifth year due to COVID, which O’Connor is strongly looking forward to. 

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