Loyola's soccer program has seen a lot of success over the last few years, and during that span a lot of credit has gone to the defense and their abilities. Last year, Loyola's two All-American's came from the defensive end, with Tenant McVea and Milos Kocic receiving first and second team placements.
One name that was absent from the list of All-American's was Jamie Darvill, the forward from London who had been creating goals all season long. At the end of the season, Loyola's offense was ranked second nationally, behind only ACC powerhouse Wake Forest.
For this upcoming season, Darvill has been tabbed as preseason Player of the Year for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, and has also been put on the Hermann Trophy watch list. The Hermann Trophy is handed out to the best player in college soccer at the end of the year, and the watch list is comprised of only 38 players.
Even with all of these awards and more attention getting shifted to the offensive end of the field, Darvill is handling it like a true professional.
"I don't see it as pressure," said Darvill. "It's preseason recognition, and it's a nice honor, but like I said, it's preseason. At the end of the year this could all mean nothing."
Besides being modest of his own skills, Darvill is quick to praise the help the team gets in the defensive end of the field.
"Having such a great defense gives all of us confidence attacking. It really takes pressure off of us, but at the same time we kind of realize that as attacking players, it's our duty to score. I just want to do my part to help the team."
Last year, Darvill helped the team by contributing 14 goals and 11 assists, tallying up 39 points in his junior season. His 39 points was enough to land him fourth in the nation in total points, and eighth in points per game. Always close to him was attacking partner Phil Bannister, a rising junior form Newcastle, England.
"I'd say Phil and I have a nice chemistry," said Darvill. "Two years of experience really makes everything better. I'd say we have a pretty nice feel for each other on the field."
Ultimately, Darvill realizes that, while all the hype and awards are necessary, they mean nothing if the team doesn't progress further in the NCAA Tournament. The past two years, Loyola has made it to the second round of the tournament, and each year have lost heartbreaking games.
"The ultimate goal is to win it all. We want to get there and go further than ever in the tournament. I really do think that we can get there and win it all, and like I said, that is the ultimate goal."
Darvill has been a nice surprise for Loyola, continuing to improve statistically each season. According to Darvill, he and Coach Mettrick "fell into each other's paths," and he was welcome at the school right away.
"There were a lot of older, foreign players, and they were extremely welcoming. That kind of made everything all right as a freshman."
All of this success has been rather sudden, and is welcome by Coach Mettrick, although it wasn't really expected.
"Did I expect him to be this good? I expected him to be a good player, a starting player," said Mark Mettrick, the head coach for Men's Soccer. "I wasn't sure just how good he was going to be."
Each year Darvill has proven himself more and more valuable to the team, and I'm sure this year will be no exception for the London native.