The Bison men’s soccer team secured their first conference win on Alumni Day, finishing the game with a score of 2-0.
Throughout the game that took place at Greene Stadium on Oct. 22, the well-accomplished Bancroft “Banky” Gordon was honored for his contribution to the men’s team during his college career at Howard and his success after leaving the Mecca.
Bancroft “Banky” Gordon was a standout soccer player, having experience playing with the Jamaican national football team in the 1970s as a starting midfielder before starting his collegiate career at Howard.
While at Howard he prospered on and off the field, earning All-American honors in soccer and Phi Beta Kappa honors for his academic excellence. In 1983, Gordon graduated summa cum laude then went on to pursue higher education at Harvard Law School that same year, graduating in 1986. After law school, Gordon worked as an assistant corporate secretary at Freddie Mac and General Counsel of Freddie Mac Foundation. Before his passing, he served as vice president and corporate secretary of Marriott International and a board member of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.
“It was more an honor to be playing at the same program as him,” Bryson Baker, a junior chemistry major, and biology minor from Ellicott City, Maryland, said. “Somebody who was so notable and so loved.”
Alumni Day holds significance to the current and previous players. For the current players, it allows them to showcase their abilities and demonstrate the evolution of the team since the previous players came through the program. For previous players, it allows them to relive the nostalgia of being at Greene Stadium and see the new talent that is carrying the name of Howard.
Christian Rufael, a sophomore biology major from Washington, D.C. expressed, “It means a lot because it gave us a chance to have a good game in front of the people that went to the school before us.” Rufael further elaborated with, “It felt good to carry the name ‘Howard’ on our jerseys in front of them and win the game.”
Before securing the win on Alumni Day, the team’s record was 1-9-1. It was expressed that the opponents that the team played were highly ranked which resulted in several losses which affected the team’s confidence going forward.
“We had a pretty tough opening schedule. A bunch of nationally ranked teams, which was good for experience but we were losing a lot. Even though we were getting better, it took a blow to our ego,” Rufael said.
The team’s experience gained from going against previous opponents was showcased at the game as they worked seamlessly with one another with a strong defensive performance to balance out the energetic offense and capture the win.
Head coach Phillip Gyau praised senior goalkeeper Benjamin Hoesli for the defense being stellar that game. “Ben played a wonderful game. He made a couple of important saves and you need that from a goalie,” Gyau said.
After a complete display of teamwork and determination, the team is ready to build on that momentum to concentrate on their goal for the end of the season.
“It just puts us in the right direction to follow our goal which is to make the conference tournament,” Baker said.
Bancroft “Banky” Gordon’s legacy will forever live on because of how he carried himself in and outside of soccer. He was a friend to many and an inspiration to all. His expertise and guidance played a role in the success of others, one being Phillip Gyau. Gyau is now able to pass down the same ideas to mold the current soccer players into the best they can be.
“Just playing under Banky and some of the other guys was just a blessing because my game expanded, my understanding of the game was better,” Gyau said. “I’m just thankful for that. That I got a chance to play with him.”
Copy edited by Alana Matthew