By Jim Matson
Our team derives a ton of satisfaction in serving the NCAA Division III soccer community throughout the season. On Thanksgiving, it is appropriate to share that we are thankful to be part of this community, and we appreciate all the relationships that we've enjoyed over the nine years of "playing in this field".
Our world becomes more complicated every year, and all of us struggle with things like career issues, health struggles, and even weather. Thus we offer a light-hearted but sincere list of what we are thankful for at D3soccer.com.
Our experience at NCAA D-III programs
Christan Shirk and I are thankful for our experiences at Messiah College and Wheaton College (the one in Illinois). Those great college experiences as well as our love of soccer give us the passion that drives D3soccer.com.
Our Writers and Contributors
Those who write original material on a volunteer basis make the website so much more than a glorified scoreboard. Our lead columnist, Ryan Harmanis, has been making us look good for a few years now and all the more with this year's debut of his excellent weekly opinion piece Ryan's Ruminations. Mani Tafari, Phil Naegely, and a few others have provided regional coverage throughout the season, while guest contributors help us provide NCAA sectional and Final Four previews. We have also gotten help behind the scenes with tasks like copy editing. We are very appreciative to each and every one that had contributed in one way or another, once or repeatedly.
The Student-Athletes ‒ the performers
These young men and women contrinue to do what they've always done; win on and off the field. They balance a commitment to soccer through daily practice and weekly competition, and an equal commitment to academic excellence through study, class attendence, and success. We are proud of these student/athletes as they impress us through their skill on the pitch and their success in the classroom.
The Fans ‒ former players, family, students (not all of us were good enough to play!)
Fans of Division III soccer are why this site exists. We really enjoy hearing from former players through the message boards and e-mail, as their experience and insight is important to the site. We also love the passion of students and graduates who love the game but could only get a spot on the intramural team! And, of course, there's all the parents and family members whose support of the players has existed long before and will continue long after their collegiate playing days.
Coaches who care
We are thankful for the coaching community and the commitment that we see in each coach to his or her team. An incredible amount of mentoring and teaching is done on the pitch every day across the country, and it is not always just about soccer. We are thankful for those professionals who invest so much of themselves in the student-athletes.
Our Top 25 voters
We are thankful for that small group of coaches and SIDs who take precious time every week to look at the national soccer scene and share their opinions with us—and with you. We know that many of you look forward to our weekly poll, and we couldn't do it without our voters.
...and last, but not in any way the least, the Sports Information Directors
How could any of us gather all the information we need to cover Division III soccer without the hard work of the college SID? We couldn't, and that's why we are thankful for them. The hours they spend setting up the matches, gathering the stats, doing the writing, and then getting all this information out to those who care is a ton of work. We are thankful for the D-III Sports Information Directors.
If it has been too long since you talked with your coach, or if you've never thanked your school's SID, why not take a minute and share your thanks with them?
For all of you who follow soccer through our work at D3soccer.com, we are thankful for you hanging with us, for your readership, and for your comments. Have a great Thanksgiving!
Comments or feedback for the author? Email Jim Matson.