“Freshman.” “Hard-working.” “Good at keeping track of pinnies.”
As the men’s soccer team warmed up before their Tuesday practice at Reese Stadium, the players took turns describing one of the team’s youngest members — rookie forward Scott Armbrust ’13, who has scored a team-high four goals so far this season.
When pressed on the point about pinnies, goalkeeper Travis Chulick ’10 explained that each freshman on the team has a job: three are in charge of bringing the soccer balls to the field, two bring water and one — Armbrust — keeps track of the different colored pinnies the team members wear during practice.
“He’s the only one on pinnies,” joked Chulick. “There’s no one to back him up.”
But Armbrust has proven himself capable of much more than keeping track of pinnies so far this season. He has worked hard to keep up with the older players on the team and to contribute in each game, all while getting accustomed to life in college.
“I’m just working on keeping my mind straight,” Armbrust said.
And his teammates have taken notice.
“As a forward, he sets the pressure for the rest of the team. He’s a really smart player, and he’s been taking every opportunity,” captain and midfielder Jordan Raybould ’10 said. “For one of his goals, he volleyed the ball from 20 yards out. That is not a gimme at all.”
Midfielder Eric Meyer ’11 has also been impressed with the rookie’s impact on and off the field.
“He’s a leader, even though he’s only a freshman,” Meyer said. “He’s vocal on the field and in the locker rooms.”
Coming to Yale from Edmond, Okla., Armbrust seems to be handling the transition from high school to collegiate sports with ease, his good spirits intact. Even with a considerable Yale course-load — including Spanish, math, chemistry and chemistry lab — he has already found time to strike up a camaraderie with the rest of the team, after only a few weeks.
The team’s nickname for Armbrust — ‘Scootah’ — came about because one of the team members, forward Brad Rose ’11, is Canadian and kept mispronouncing ‘Scott.’ Rose’s pronunciation, ‘Scoot,’ quickly morphed into ‘Scootah,’ and the final result stuck. (Players had trouble agreeing on the appropriate spelling — some argued the ‘h’ was unnecessary.)
Meyer recalled driving Armbrust to practice every day during preseason and how Armbrust knew all the words to the country music songs playing on the radio.
“Scott’s probably the nicest guy on the team,” Raybould said. “If you ask anyone, I’m probably the meanest guy on the team. But Scott’s really sincere.”
Armbrust said he hasn’t found too much time to go out at Yale yet, although he said the team usually celebrates together after a win. In his downtime he plays Mario Kart or watches football with his suitemates. His team of choice is Oklahoma State, where his older sister is a student.
“He takes soccer very seriously, but he’s also very good-natured about work,” Armbrust’s roommate Will Ferraro ’13 said.
“Our whole suite went to his first game to try to cheer him on, and he scored a goal,” said Marcus Schwarz ’13, another one of Armbrust’s suitemates. “So I guess it worked.”
Several members of the men’s soccer team said Armbrust is already rarely seen without the other freshmen on the team, as well as with Matt Chesky ’12. Armburst stayed with Chesky on his official recruiting visit to Yale, and both of them are from the Midwest. (Chesky is from Ohio.)
When asked if it was true that he and Armbrust finished each other’s sentences, Chesky answered, “It’s happened once. Okay, twice.”
With the help of his team and a supportive group of friends, Armbrust is rapidly finding a home at Yale. He is also a member of Athletes in Action, a Christian athletic group on campus, which holds worship sessions twice a week. Another member of the soccer team suggested that Armbrust join.
Armbrust appears to have started to hit his stride as a Bulldog in only his first month on campus. But he isn’t letting his early success get to his head.
Armbrust said he is focusing on getting in good positions to be a consistent scoring threat, adding modestly: “I haven’t scored in the last three games.”