Along with his Nor’easters players, coach Tim Oswald is enjoying a hugely successful college season this year as his Rutgers-Camden team had reached the final of the NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Championship whilst maintaining an undefeated record for the season. After a 4-0 victory over Lycoming College, Rutgers-Camden go into the Sweet 16’s. This spectacular run of form continued as they beat York, PA 3-1 and Montclair State 2-1 that sent them to San Antonio for the Final Four and left the team ranked first in their region and second in the nation by NCAA and d3soccer.com respectively on the back of a 36 game unbeaten streak (31-0-5) with this season’s record standing at 22-0-2.
Oz and the Scarlet Raptors beat Loras 3-2 in the National Semi-Final the faced the DIII powerhouse Messiah College. It was one step too far for Camden-Rutgers who fell 2-1 in the final.
Coach Oswald caught up with us whilst preparing for his game to share his thoughts on the season so far;
"We have had an incredible run the past 3 seasons at Rutgers-Camden, but this has surely been one of the most special to me. Its very rare at any level of collegiate soccer, regardless of DI-DIII, that a team is able to run the table and go undefeated throughout the season leading up to the into the Sweet 16. I feel as though our team, as a repeat NJAC champ the past 2 seasons coming into this year, had to sustain our own personal pressure of continued success and winning while every team in our schedule had plans to knock us off. Clearly, our boys were able to handle that adversity with true character and didnt waver in our pursuit for an NJAC 3PEAT.
Although the accomplishment of finishing in the Top 10 in the country for the 3rd straight regular season is complete, I think when they look back at their college career at RUC 20 or 30 years from now and page through the NCAA Mens Soccer Record Book, the unbeaten streak of 34 games (Top 10 in DIII history since 1974) will still be there. Its hard for them, at 18-21 years old, to table that, but as they get older, they will appreciate just how hard that is to pull off and it will be a memory that will always hold true to our commitment to excellence."
Oz also talked about the relationship between coaching the Noreasters in the PDL and his work at Rutgers-Camden;
As a coach, I truly feel I have benefited from being both a DIII college coach and a coach within the PDL. Although the level is totally different, the mentality is the same: individual player development and overall team success. I have the mindset of a college coach heading into the PDL season knowing that as much as PDL is important to us, the college season is extremely important to our players and the college programs/coaches that we support.
I have the mindset of a PDL coach knowing that the college coaches want their players their players to stay sharp and healthy, but also to improve so that when they had back to their college program in August, the player is one step closer to being more complete for them. Our focus of improving players and winning games over those summer months is critical to our growth as a PDL program, but our relationship with the college programs we work with is of equal important. By taking the best of both worlds, I have a great opportunity at two different levels to work towards two different national championships with two completely different types of players, which is unique in nature, but phenomenal as a coach to chase.
Finally, Oz talked about his ambitions for next summer when he returns to Ocean City;
"I think we have found the perfect balance the past few years of establishing a PDL program that relies on familiar faces over multiple years with a blend of new faces. We are hopeful that this 3rd year as a staff, we can work our way deeper in the US Open Cup and PDL Playoffs."