There is an old saying in sports that the best offense is a good defense. The Ramapo men’s soccer team knows this, and that is why head coach DJ Pinton appointed junior defenseman Rob Shalikar as one of the team’s captains for the 2014 season.
Named as the team’s most improved player last season, Shalikar was named to the New Jersey Athletic Conference Honorable Mention Team in his freshman and sophomore seasons. Shalikar said that he is very goal oriented, and pushes himself to reach the next level.
“The important thing is to set a goal. No matter what that goal is, set it and achieve it and you will be successful,” Shalikar said.
Shalikar admitted that he was not sure if he was prepared to become a team captain this season, but his play on the field speaks volumes about his leadership. Shalikar plays with intensity every game, no matter the score or opponent.
He also attributes a lot of his success as a leader to his co-captain, sophomore Bayley Young. Shalikar said he sees a captain as the person people look to when things get ugly. Pinton, who has been the men’s soccer head coach for the past 11 seasons, obviously sees Shalikar as this kind of player.
Despite being named captain, Shalikar said he plans to keep pushing himself to become an even better player, and that he has come a long way in two short seasons as a Roadrunner.
“I have been working on my game both on and off the field since I got here as a freshman,” he said. “I am 10 times the player than I was two years ago.”
Shalikar said he believes in his current soccer squad and seeks to improve even further. He only had the best things to say about his teammates.
“Although we are young, I feel like we do an excellent job coming together. We only have two losses this year, one of which was to Emory, which we only lost 1-0. Clearly that game could have gone either way, which shows our ability to step up as a squad when we need to.”
Emory University is currently ranked seventh nationally in the Division III Men’s Soccer Coach’s Poll.
“I think that this team is special. We have all the right pieces on the field. We've been doing a good job thus far, however, if we can play to our potential, I know that we have a great chance of winning the NJAC tournament and making it to the NCAA tournament,”
Aside from soccer, Shalikar is also a member of the Kappa Sigma social fraternity at Ramapo and part of the Ramapo Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
Shalikar said that balancing his time between Greek life and soccer can be difficult, but that he enjoys every second of it.
“It has its challenges, but at the end of the day both organizations truly define who I am. Soccer has been my life since I was about two, so the sport and the guys I play with are dear and important to me,” Shalikar said. “The gentlemen of Kappa Sigma are some of the greatest guys I know, who are also my family.”