Springing Forward: Men’s Soccer Prepares for Fall Under New Coaching Staff


The team huddles during their spring game against Wheeling on Mar. 19 Photo credit: Samantha Dutch

Samantha Dutch

Coming off of a close loss to end their fall season in penalty kicks at Oakland, the Robert Morris men’s soccer squad are hard at work under a new coaching staff led by head coach Jonathan Potter and assistant coach Abraham Lopez.

Robert Morris kicked off their 2023 spring slate on Feb. 26 against Akron and recently played a doubleheader Sunday against West Virginia Wesleyan and Wheeling. They defeated the Bobcats 2-1 and held the Cardinals to a scoreless 0-0 draw.

Potter has continued to get acclimated to the squad as the team gets in some reps with his new squad during the offseason as the team gears up for the fall season.

“It’s a mature group. I’ve really enjoyed working with them so far this spring. The guys work extremely hard and they’ve been really receptive to different ideas. We’re excited about where we’re headed for the fall season.

— Jonathan Potter

Potter came to the Colonials after spending the last seven seasons as head coach of Presbyterian. He and the rest of the staff are using the drive of the squad to take them to the next level.

Jonathan Potter comes into the program from Presbyterian the last seven seasons. Photo credit: Samantha Dutch

“We’re just trying to keep them focused but also calm,” said Potter. “We’ve been really focusing in on adversity moments and how we handle that, respond to moments that maybe don’t go our way, because we know there will be those experiences in the fall and we can take those from the spring to try to improve. I think they have a bitter taste in their mouth from how the season ended at Oakland last year. Right from day one when I met them [they’ve] this really burning desire and drive to do better and advance and improve. That’s been really exciting for me to see.”

Juniors Logan Gilley and his twin brother Chase came to Robert Morris after former head coach Jason O’Keefe initially recruited them to UNC Greensboro and it was a shock to them when he announced he was stepping down, but he told them to put everything into the new coach.

“It’s just business as usual,” Logan said. “I came with [Jason] O’Keefe because he recruited me back at my old school so whenever he left he basically just told me, ‘Hey, just put all your admiration and all your thoughts to the new coach. Make sure you implement his new tactics. Make sure the guys are coming around supporting him because he’s coming into a new team, and new players and we all need to just come around him.’ That’s what he told me”.

Despite the team having a new coaching staff and making some adjustments, they are off to a solid start in their spring training and look to continue to build momentum moving into the fall.

Logan Gilley (pictured) and his twin brother Chase were originally recruited by former coach Jason O’Keefe before they were both freshmen at Appalachian State and as transfers from UNCG. Photo credit: Samantha Dutch

“We’re looking pretty good,” Logan said. “It’s a lot different from [Jason] O’Keefe’s tactics versus his, but I feel like the team right now is coming together and so far it feels really good to get out there and play with the guys again. The coaching staff is kind of similar, they’re very people-oriented. They like to really get with the team and talk and make sure they have that good bond with everybody and tactically it’s almost the same system. There are definitely some variations that are much different, but overall it’s pretty similar.”

Being able to compete in games in the offseason is crucial for the team to get used to the coaching staff and the new coaching styles and techniques, as well as continue building their skills as a team.

“It’s great for us as a new staff to watch the guys play somebody else than themselves,” Potter said. “It gives us an opportunity to try different shapes and different ways of playing which I always feel is valuable this time of year. It’s been great to watch these guys compete. We still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do but the first two games have shown a lot of positives and progress already.”

Potter and the squad hope to continue upward learning and growing with success in the spring season. The Colonials will face Pittsburgh City United and Davis & Elkins on Sunday and have two more doubleheaders the following two weekends.

“Having the opportunity to compete again, to represent Robert Morris,” said Potter. “The opportunity to compete in a very competitive league. These guys are hungry to do really well, so we’re excited to be a part of that.”