Just like anyone else, Liam Connor does not like to fail. He does not want to let himself or his teammates down. He describes himself as determined and someone who “just want[s] to succeed.”
“There’s nothing like the feeling of winning compared to the horribleness of defeat,” Connor said.
Connor is wrapping up his fourth and final season as a defender for The University’s men’s soccer team. Connor is a center back whose responsibilities include intercepting passes and aggressively regaining possession of the ball from the opposing team.
Describing professional center backs, Connor said they “do a lot of dirty work but don’t get a lot of the credit … they don’t get too much glory.”
Despite sometimes not attracting the attention some of his teammates get, Connor is an important part of the team who stays motivated by hard work, dedication to his team and a love of the game.
Connor said he believes that hard work is essential to success.
“I really try to work hard because a lot of times what I lack in skill I try to make up for in my worth ethic,” Connor said. “I know I can’t do certain things that other players can do, so I try to outwork them.”
“It’s OK to battle in practice and have things not work out, as long as you just keep your head up and keep trying,” Connor said.
Connor describes his teammates as family. He said they are all his best friends. Whether they are battling an opponent on the soccer field, practicing for the next matchup or just sitting around watching English Premier League soccer, Connor’s teammates are rarely apart.
“Not wanting to let anyone down on your team motivates me most,” Connor said.
Connor said it is sometimes difficult to keep his head up when he is on the sidelines and not playing in a particular game, but his desire to see his teammates succeed keeps him optimistic.
“It’s challenging trying to stay positive even though you’re not on the field,” Connor said. “But you support your teammates that are out there and really want them to succeed because even though you’re not playing. The team needs to succeed without you and it’s got to succeed without you.”
Connor said that the players push each other to work hard.
“Even if you’re just pushing someone ahead in practice, you’re just trying to make someone get better,” Connor said.
Connor has not only faith in his teammates, but also faith in God. Connor said he often turns to God for strength and guidance before his games and when things may not be going his way.
The team has its own pregame rituals before the first kick, but right before the clock starts counting down, Connor takes a moment to pray.
“As we go on the field, we have a little phrase that I can’t repeat that we say before we break out and then I always by myself — if I’m starting — I’ll say two Hail Marys, two Our Fathers and ask to win the game,” Connor said.
Connor said it is faith he turns to when he is looking for some strength both on and off the field.
“I don’t go to church all the time, but I have a strong faith and I always pray,” Connor said. “I find that it’s something I go to a lot when things aren’t going my way or the team’s not working out.”
Connor said he believes faith is important in difficult decisions.
“I just like to pray, but I think there’s definitely something with like, if things aren’t going your way in anything — but in soccer, too — just to have a strong faith.”
Connor has faith in his team as the Landmark Conference championships quickly approach. Connor said his sights are set on a successful end to the 2013 season and an appearance for the team in the postseason. The Royals made it to the Landmark Conference Elite Eight last year, and this year Connor hopes they can go even further.
“Just trying to get back [to the Elite Eight] is a huge motivation for this season,” Connor said. “I’d like to go to the Final Four this year.”
A Final Four appearance is certainly not out of the question, and Connor is hopeful.
“That’s definitely stretching something that you can’t really predict will happen, but if things go the right way, it’s definitely possible,” Connor said.