The Student News Site of Clemson University

The Tiger

The Tiger

The Tiger

Ben Erkens optimistic for what Tigers have to offer the rest of the season

Aralynn Minnick, Asst. Photo Editor

Clemson defender Ben Erkens dribbles the ball against Indiana at Historic Riggs Field on Aug. 26, 2022. 

The Clemson United men’s soccer team continues their season undefeated after five games this season.
As the Tigers look to keep their No. 1 rank, junior defender Ben Erkens is ambitious to help the team rebuild as a mentor for the younger players on the team.
With a 6-0 record, the Tigers have kept up with their high-status rank as last year’s national championship winners. Erkens knows that there is a target on the Tigers’ back and that they can’t let their guard down, even when playing unranked teams.
“We’re gonna always get everybody’s best,” Erkens said in an interview with The Tiger. “As much pressure that there may be on us in every single game, we always kind of match that with how we prepare for it and the discipline to treat every opponent the same way.”
The next few games are going to be demanding lots of energy from the Tigers. They will face four different teams between Sept. 13 and Sept. 24.
Two of the teams which will capture most of their attention are ranked in the top 25 as of now. Syracuse at No. 16 (USC poll) and Wake Forest at No. 2.
“It’s a bit of a difficult stretch,” Erkens said. “We’ve gotta play pretty much four games within two weeks and there’s not a lot of rest in between.”
With these top competitors looking to take away their winning streak, Erkens says “We’re gonna need all 30 guys these next two weeks. Because it is such a difficult stretch, we are gonna face injuries and tired legs.”
Because both the Syracuse and Wake Forest games are home games, Erkens is hoping Riggs Field will bring them some luck and some energy from the fans.
“We feed off of that energy,” Erkens said. “Coach always talks about how having that student section is basically giving us a one-goal lead.”
As an upperclassman this year, the standards are higher for the Clemson defender. Erkens has goals and expectations for the team.
“Coach always asks us to describe what a perfect season looks like to us, and for me, it is having the most growth as a team,” said Erkens.
This year the Tigers have a young team and for veterans like Erkens, they must hold a duty to maintain the same dominant team as they have in the past.
“We can take in 15 new guys and still keep that same standard of winning games, making the tournament, winning trophies, and that all comes because we grow as a team,” said Erkens. “As anybody knows with a younger team you have to grow, and we’ve done that so far.”
Erkens sees 2022 as a special year because although they have these new players, he is in the position to help mentor them, hoping to lead them the right way.
“It is honestly so special to be able to impact the lives of the other guys on the team, for me, I don’t really play this game for myself,” Erkens says. “If I wanted to play an individual sport I would.”
Erkens believes it is important to watch growth on the team with the younger guys. He says, “I love the ability to see us go from losing to Wofford in a random pre-season match to starting the season 5-0 because we have grown so much as a team.”
Erkens also knows that while it is important to teach the younger guys about Clemson’s standards and values, they also need to understand what they have to offer to the team as well.
 “It is important we integrate and assimilate those guys into what we do here but also appreciate the value that they bring to the team, and I love those younger guys, they are so much fun and have got a ton of energy,” said Erkens.
As Clemson look toward their match with No. 2 Wake Forest at Riggs Field on Sept. 24, Erkens is enthusiastic to see what the Deacons have in store for the Tigers.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Tiger

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clemson University . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Tiger

Comments (0)

All The Tiger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *