477. That’s how many days there were between the 2021 season opener and the last game played for the Drexel Men’s soccer team. Add in a new coaching staff for the Dragons, and one can say a lot has changed for the soccer program over the last two years. However, something that has remained consistent is senior Patrick Murphy.
Since Murphy arrived at Drexel’s campus, he has played in every soccer game. He played in all 17 games his freshman, sophomore, and junior years and has even been starting games since his first year.
“It’s always a stat I have in my head. I’ve been blessed, knock on wood, to never have a serious injury or something like that, but I know that’s a stat…I’m thankful for that opportunity and it’s definitely something that’s in my head. Hopefully I can keep that stat and be able to say I played in every game when I was here once I leave,” Murphy said.
That incredible durability can be accredited to his days before Drexel, where Murphy played for the Philadelphia Union’s Academy.
“I trained five or six days a week when I played there. So, my whole playing career, since I was fourteen, has been high intensity stuff. So, I think I have that to credit it to. I’m used to playing a ton, so nothing special, just what I’m used to doing,” Murphy said.
Murphy grew up in Lansdale, Pennsylvania and attended North Penn High School, where the graduating classes can reach over 1,000 students and there are over 3,000 students in the building on any given day. However, because he was on the academy team, he did not play for the high school team. That was a sacrifice Murphy had to make, and it ended up being worth it for him.
“I think, simply put, [the academy] prepared me for my time management here. I didn’t have a full schedule when I went to North Penn, because I had to leave early to drive out to the King of Prussia area every day. So, when I got here it was kind of the same exact thing. Every day I just have to balance training and my homework so it can be a lot, but those days definitely shaped my time management skills for what they are now,” Murphy explained.
During his time in college, Murphy has not only grown as a player, but also as a person. When asked about how his experiences as a Dragon have made him grow, the 5-foot-9 senior said the following:
“I think it’s a lot to balance. If I looked at that from the time that I came in and the time now with time management and things like that academic wise. I guess as an athlete, we’ve endured a few losing seasons and a few winning seasons so we’ve been on both sides, so we’re looking to keep going in the sense that this year, we think we can be very, very good and hopefully next year even better.”
This year, Murphy was named the captain for the Dragons, an honor that holds great prestige on any team.
“We got a new coaching staff about a year ago, right before everything shut down. Since then, I’ve tried to be the leader of this group. Between the coaching staff and the guys we have, being picked to be our captain was something super special and super humbling. We have a lot of guys who could be the captain, but for the team to vote me is pretty special and super important, so I’m taking it one game at a time,” Murphy said.
Head Coach Michael Marchiano’s staff looks to accomplish big things after his hiring on Jan. 31, 2020.
“They’ve really changed the program. They’re great guys. They’re great coaches. They really make playing for them an enjoyable experience, and I know that’s just not me. I know that’s the guys. too. They’re great humans which makes them even better coaches. They really have a lot of respect from our group and they are the type of guys that people want to play for,” Murphy said.
The men’s soccer team got off to a great start against Villanova last Sunday as they won 3-0. Murphy believes it is the start of a special season for the Dragons.
“It’s a special group, we can go as far as we allow ourselves. We work our butts off and with this new staff, they really push very, very hard each day. It’s easy to play for them because we really enjoy the way they do things and the energy they bring so this group can go as far as we want to take it I think. I don’t know, I don’t like to put a marker on where we will get to because I think we can go as far as we can,” Murphy said.
Murphy is a midfielder for the Dragons, and most midfielders can be described as a selfless player. When asked about his personal goals, that selfless characteristic showed.
“I really just want the group to do well. I don’t really have personal goals. I’m not the guy who’s usually on the scoresheet so I don’t have stats or anything I would like to accomplish, but I really just want this group to have a winning season and hopefully make the tournament and see where we can go from there,” Murphy said.
Because of COVID-19, Murphy has an extra year of eligibility left, and he will use it by returning to the Dragons in the fall of 2021. Murphy spoke about how the pandemic affected himself along with the team.
“I think for me personally, you just always want to play as an athlete. You always want to play games, but we trained so much in the fall even though our season was canceled and then we had about three weeks before we opened up here in the spring. I think it didn’t change much for me rather than I really just realized how much I missed playing games. It was hard for a lot of guys, who just wanted to get out there and play games. You can only hit each other so much in practice for so long, so we wanted to get out there beat up on some other guys for sure,” Murphy said.
Off the field, Murphy is a marketing major in Drexel’s Lebow College of Business doing a five-year, three co-op program. When asked about the academics at Drexel, Murphy had this to say:
“It’s definitely challenging. We’re trimesters so the 10-week term can be challenging, but back to time management, I’ve really never experienced anything too crazy. The academics, they’re fun and you just gotta get through it.”
After his time at Drexel, the senior isn’t sure what path he will pursue, but he’s also not trying to worry about it either.
“I know I’m just going to take it day by day because I really do appreciate being able to come back in the fall. So, for now I’m just trying to keep my thinking short term, but hopefully I end up doing something I enjoy, whatever that is, whether that be working or chasing a professional career. Whatever it is, I hope I can just enjoy it and love whatever I’m doing,” Murphy said.
As the captain’s career at Drexel winds down to his final year, it’s hard not to look back and reflect on his time as a Dragon.
“I think I would tell my freshman self to just enjoy each day just because it can be a lot and there’s always tons of things going on, but we have a great group and each day brings different challenges, especially now. You just have to enjoy each day because you don’t really know what is coming up. Things could get shut down tomorrow or the next day or anything so, just enjoy each day whether that’s practice or a game or anything really,” Murphy said