Player Journal: Bobby Edwards Looks Back on His Collegiate Experience

After a long journey, Bobby wraps up the college chapters in his player journal. You can read all five of his here, dating back to the summer of 2016.

The last time we talked you were at Monmouth. Catch us up from what happened over the past year that led you to Mount St. Mary's.

 When I graduated from Monmouth in the Spring of 2018, I had a remaining year of NCAA eligibility because of my redshirt junior season due to injury. I recognized that I needed to take a long term view regarding my career goals. Although my short term goal is to play professionally, in the best case scenario, two thirds of my work life will take place after I hang up the boots. I can’t imagine myself spending 30 years of my life sitting all day in an office somewhere. My passion has always been soccer, so I felt the need to begin preparing myself now for a transition somewhere down the road to a position in the business of soccer, preferably in high level coaching. I loved my time at Monmouth, both on and off the field, but I didn’t want to spend my final year of eligibility pursuing a master’s degree that wouldn’t fit with my long term dreams.

Bobby started all sixteen games for the Mount this past fall.

Bobby started all sixteen games for the Mount this past fall.

Therefore, I began looking at schools that offered a master’s in Sports Management, the degree that I felt best suited my long-term goals. This led me to Mount Saint Mary’s University, where Coach Bryan Cunningham sold me on the opportunity I would have to be a part of building a DI soccer program from the ground up. It’s important to note that MSMU discontinued their men’s soccer team in 2012, but thanks to an amazing amount of support from alumni, staff and school administration, the University opted to bring back the program for the 2018 season. This season was an incredible learning experience, with our team being primarily comprised of freshmen and sophomores. In fact, I was the only player on the team that had any prior DI soccer experience. Getting the opportunity to play the “veteran leader” role was unlike any other experience I have had in my career thus far. It helped me mature both on and off the field and better prepared me for the next step in my journey.


At the end of your college career, you suited up for three different schools. Is there anything you'd change if you could go back and do it all again?

On the “micro” level, there are of course particular decisions I made in certain games that I would absolutely do differently if I had the chance – staying on my line instead of coming out, a catch rather than a punch, etc. But that’s the nature of goalkeeping and it is through our mistakes that we learn. So when looking at the bigger picture, I really like where I find myself now as a player and a person. I recognize that the journey I made, with its various twists and turns and highs and lows, is responsible for having brought me to this place. There were times when I felt a bit lost and questioned my path, but I was able to persevere – and learning how to persevere is at the essence of what is required to being a goalkeeper. I’ve learned that there is so much that is out of my control in regard to how a game or a season will evolve. So it is best to focus on what is under my control and to a large extent that is the attitude I bring to training and games. I constantly remind myself that the short term setbacks are not what will determine if I can accomplish my long-term goals.



As someone who's seen a variety of different programs, when considering helping players get to the next level, what's the strongest resource the NCAA has to offer?

In my opinion, there is no resource more valuable than that of a good head coach. When we speak about college soccer, we are often keen to focus on just the “on-the-field” stuff - wins, losses, goals, etc. In reality, that only makes up a fraction of what a college head coaches’ job truly is. College coaching is unique - coaches are responsible for taking 18 year old teenagers and developing them into adults, which goes far beyond the field. Less than 2% of college soccer players continue on to the professional ranks, so if players leave a university with nothing more to show for it than a better understanding of the sport, you’ve let the majority of your players down in their life’s development.

Bobby Edwards with former head Coach Jim Deegan (center) and Bryan Cunningham (right, current head coach).

Bobby Edwards with former head Coach Jim Deegan (center) and Bryan Cunningham (right, current head coach).

For the 1.4% of players who do continue on to the pros, a good college coach is invaluable to their professional ambitions. How many different connections does he/she have? Are they well established with professional teams? Are they experienced in sending guys to the pro leagues often? It might not be fair, but the reality of the situation is that sometimes it isn’t a matter of how talented you are, but rather if you have the right connections to the next level. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t sign a professional contract because of a connection, but a good coach with the right contacts can get your foot in the door.  Personally, I have been unbelievably lucky to play for Coach Cunningham at MSMU - his reputation speaks for itself and whenever I’m in his office, I admire all the professional jerseys that decorate his walls. Coach Cunningham and Assistant Coach Trevor Singer have been two of the best (if not the best) coaches I have had the privilege to play for. They are second to none and I have learned an incredible amount in just one year under their leadership. In regard to my professional ambitions, I sleep very well at night knowing that Coach Cunningham and Coach Singer are on my side.

What's the future look like moving forward? Would there be any disappointment if you never suited up in a professional match?

The dream is the same as it has always been - professional soccer. At the moment, I am keeping fit and staying sharp while I finish up my master’s degree. Come May, I’ll be heading back to South Carolina for the summer to play PDL (USL League 2 it’s called now, I guess) with SC United Bantams, the same club I was with last summer. I had an incredible experience last summer, SC United Bantams is a top-class organization made up of some of the best people I have met -  I cannot wait to be back.  After another summer in South Carolina, I’ll head off to trial both here and abroad and attempt to make playing soccer my job. It’s pretty crazy to say that! I’m confident in my future and excited in what is to come.

To say that there would be disappointment if I never suited up in a professional match is an understatement. The one and only thing I have ever dreamed of since I was a kid was becoming a professional soccer player. My cousin, Brian Edwards, has been my lifelong soccer idol. In fact, I still have an autographed photo of him in my room. Brian played at Wake Forest, winning the NCAA national championship in ‘07 before being drafted to the MLS. I used to watch all his games, even following him regularly when he went abroad to Sweden, always dreaming to one day follow suite. If I never ended up going pro, I wouldn’t just feel like I’ve let myself down, I feel like I would let down the family name.

Pictures of Edwards with SC United Bantams as well as Bobby’s cousin, Brian.

Lastly, and ending on a positive note here, what's your best save in your college career and what makes it a highlight of your career?

That’s a tough one! I’d have to answer this one with two different saves for different reasons. Both saves came this year – the first one was against FDU and the second was against LIU Brooklyn. When you analyze a save, there are many different factors that need to be considered. Of course, the overall talent and skill it takes to make the save is of major importance – everybody loves a save that looks great for the cameras. But even more important is a save that comes at a crucial point in a game – one that keeps your team in the game even if it isn’t as picture perfect. Sometimes you get lucky and pull off both at once!

My save against FDU was a highlight because it kept our team in the game against a very talented FDU side - we ended up walking away with a 0-0 draw. The save itself is perhaps not the best of technique, I get caught cheating to one side right before the striker hit the shot. The way it played out in real time, I was almost certain he was going to hit it hard and low to my left side. I still remember my heart dropping as I saw the ball come off his foot headed back the other way. Somehow, I managed to get my foot on the ball and pop it up and over the bar. I’ll never forget getting back into the locker room for our halftime meeting and having a laugh to myself about that save.

The second save is the one I would probably consider my “best” save when talking in terms of technique. It was during the first OT period of our game against eventual NEC Conference champions, LIU Brooklyn. The striker got a bit of space outside the top of the box and bent one to the top left corner. It was just one of those shots that goalkeepers dream of, one that you can get some nice airtime and pose for the camera. By this time, we only had a few games remaining in the season and personally that meant I only had a couple games left in my college career, so it was nice to wrap up my collegiate career with a cool memory like that.  

Player Journals - A Look Inside the Collegiate Game

Read first firsthand from goalkeepers sharing their insight on the in's and out's of being a collegiate athlete.

Bobby Edwards - Junior, Monmouth

Erin Scott - Junior, Campbell

Noah Heim - Sophmore, Marquette


Player Journal: Erin Scott - September 2017

Erin Scott enters her junior year at Campbell University, after transferring out from Creighton last semester. Click here to read about Erin's transfer process or read up on other goalkeepers in the college game.

Goalkeepers are typically looked at as a leader of a team, whether it’s with the captain’s armband or being the one who organizes the team out of the back. How are you handling transferring to a new team but also leading your team as a goalkeeper?

I can honestly say transferring to Campbell was the best thing that could have happened to me. Right when I got here for preseason, everything truly felt right. Things starting clicking on and off the field and everything just felt extremely right, which I am very grateful for because that is not always the case for transfer situations. This is a really special group of girls; they are truly some of my best friends already. It makes it so much easier to be successful on the field together, when we get along as well as we do off of the field. There is a great level of competition at training as well. We truly have our sights set on our end goal and we are doing everything we can to make sure we come out to practice each day and get better.

I think that whenever you come into a new program you must prove yourself first and gain the trust and respect of your teammates. Of course, there is always room for improvement but I have been doing everything I can in training to get better, and with that I make those around me better. It was hard to me to relax and get rid of the initial nerves at first but once I settled down and became comfortable with the team I was finally able to gain that confidence I needed and play to the level that I am capable of. One of the biggest roles a goalkeeper has on the field is communication. So regardless I think being vocal out of the back naturally gives a goalkeeper leadership-filled position.


What’s the goal for this fall to be able to look back and say this was a successful season?

We have set very high standards for ourselves in training and in games and having these high standards will make it second nature to push ourselves to reach our goals. We are really taking it one week at a time and focusing on the short-term goal, which is winning games. I think we have had a great mentality going into games, we truly play every game as if it were a championship game, so when we are called to play in an important game like that we will be more than ready.

It is awesome to see this team develop, more specifically our freshmen have been playing great this year. Certain freshman are truly making a big impact on the game which is inspiring. We are currently 3-2 and have only allowed two goals in those five games which is great. We are working hard to make sure things stay going in that direction and keeping balls out of the back of our net. On the flip side, we have scored fourteen goals in those five games, which is also amazing. It is really great to see our forwards and midfielders have the success they have been having. With these statistics and seeing the way we have been playing lately, the opportunities are truly endless for us. There is so much potential within us and I can’t wait to see what we are capable of.


What’s something off the field that you’ve enjoyed about Campbell University?

Campbell is truly a special place. It really is an extremely close community. After every single home game, we always have a tailgate afterwards put on by families that live close enough. Everyone always pitches in in some way to make sure we have food after the games. It really allows our families to spend time together off the field and for us as teammates to get to know one another’s families. It is awesome to see faculty and staff members at our games cheering us on. Our athletic staff at Campbell is seriously the best, whether it be our strength and condition coach driving to our away games to warm us up or our athletic director taking time out of his day to come out to one of our training sessions. Everyone truly cares about us and wants to see us succeed.

Player Journal: Bobby Edwards - March 2017

After taking a medical redshirt with Saint Joseph's last year, you've transferred to Monmouth University. A transfer process typically dates back some time so walk us through the timeline of transferring to Monmouth.

Our season at Saint Joseph’s came to a disappointing close - we failed to make the playoffs after a 3-0 start in conference. Typically, in the A-10 conference, winning 4 of 8 conference games is a guaranteed playoff spot berth, so to go from 3-0 to 3-5 and fail to make playoffs was crushing for everyone. Things just went wrong and went wrong fast - we were never able to figure them out in time to save the season. This is especially difficult to watch from the bench because, as much as you can help cultivate a positive team environment, you can’t truly help produce on the field.

Once the season came to a close, I had time to reflect on where I was in my life and who I wanted to become both on and off the field. It felt as though my life was stagnant -- that I wasn’t progressing in my soccer career and that the school itself wasn’t a good fit for me. I came to a point where I felt a change was necessary not just to progress on the field but to be happier as a person.

Eric Klenofsky (left) with Bobby Edwards

Eric Klenofsky (left) with Bobby Edwards

My roots are in the culture of North Jersey, and I wanted to come back home. So once I got my release from SJU, I began looking around at New Jersey based schools. I spoke with a few schools, but once I took my visit to Monmouth I knew this is where I needed to be. I already knew several of the guys from playing with them throughout my youth career, which made my transition much easier. The coaching staff are great. Each of them are dedicated to this program and their passion for winning is something I share. One of my best friends is recent Monmouth goalkeeper standout Eric Klenofsky, who I owe a lot to both on the field and off. He’s been a great friend and mentor for me, so getting the opportunity to follow in his footsteps is amazing. Everyone here at Monmouth has been unbelievably welcoming to me, making me feel more at home than I could ever have imagined. I feel as though I have found a place where I can truly enjoy the rest of my college career both athletically and academically.

But what I will say on the topic of transferring is this: it’s scary. You’re giving up everything that’s familiar for something altogether unknown. You’re leaving a comfort zone and pushing yourself to enter a new environment where there’s no certainty about what’s going to happen. It’s a nerve-wracking gamble. Either it’s the right move or it’s the wrong move, and if it turns out to be the wrong move, there’s no taking it back.

For me, it came down to not wanting to be haunted later in life by “what could have been.” When the day comes to hang up my cleats, I want to know that I did everything I possibly could have to chase my dream. 


I think there's a perception that a player only leaves a school if they hate every aspect of that school, which doesn't seem to be your case. What stands out about your time at SJU?

Transferring was one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make so far in my life – a choice that actually kept me up at night. Over the course of two and a half years at Saint Joe’s I created friendships that I will have for the rest of my life. It was difficult to leave my teammates, because when you are on a team, your teammates become like a second family. It hurt me leaving the family and I know it probably hurt them. But I left them on the best terms possible, and they all seemed to understand that this was a choice I needed to make.

One of the biggest things that stands out to me from SJU is a funny story about my roommate, teammate and best friend Tom Santilli. Tom is from Connecticut (otherwise known as the countryside), where last summer he purchased two baby ducklings from a farm around his house. On August 11th, we report for preseason and move into our Philadelphia house, where I’m greeted by Tom and his two ducklings. In between our three sessions a day, Tom and I would go back to the house where we would take care of these two little ducklings, all preseason long. So, there I was, part-time goalkeeper, part-time step-father to a pair of ducklings.


Last we heard, you were rehabbing your foot. What's the status there and how has the detour affected your mental approach to the game, if at all?

I am (knock on wood) back to full health with my foot. As a preventative measure, I continue to take special precautions and treatments such as wearing special footwear inserts, using a bone stimulator, and taking calcium supplements, etc. The big challenge now is the mental one, of feeling confident that my foot will support me, and with each passing day of practice this confidence increases. I’ve been beyond blessed to have my athletic trainer at Monmouth, Aaron Bottinick. He’s always there for me, providing support and treatment and going the extra mile to make sure I stay healthy.

The biggest takeaway I’ve gotten from these injuries is that each day I take the field, I’ve been given a blessing. To truly appreciate something, sometimes you’ve got to spend some time apart from it. Being forced to sit on the sideline and watch others play the sport I love - although awful in the moment - gave me a deeper sense of appreciation for the game.