Smack-Talk for Staples Soccer: Subtle or Substantial Effects?

Loeffler Field. 4 p.m. Warm-up music gets switched off, and the crowd starts to pack in on the hill.
This is when every Staples soccer player gets in the zone. They are pumped up and ready to go out and get a victory. The pursuit for a fourth straight FCIAC title seems like all the motivation they need, but lately, the immense and brutal trash-talking on Facebook has sparked some of the athletes.

Particularly for the Trumbull, McMahon, and Greenwich games, hugely popular groups, designed originally as event pages on Facebook, have become the places to show students’ love for their school teams. For some players however, no additional motivation is gained.

And for others, it makes it all the better. “I personally love seeing (another) school, especially online, telling us we suck,” said striker Steve Smith ’12. “Also, going to Staples adds heat to the game; schools like to try to rattle us.”

However, the lone starter from last year’s squad feels a bit differently. “I would not say we get extra motivation from the Facebook trash-talking,” Jake Malowitz ’12 said. “We do get extra motivation from the large crowds.”

Regardless of the players’ personal feelings, there’s no doubt how crazy the rants have been. Among those who like to express their opinions are members of all four grades at Staples, members and players from other schools, (no players from Staples) and even some who have graduated from Staples in years past, including former soccer team members.

“When players from the opposing teams start writing in the event, it definitely makes me want to beat them,” Taylor McNair ’12 said.

The talk has been so bad that Assistant Principal Patrick Micinillio has requested that the pages be removed from the Facebook.

Yes, the language is rough, but in the end, roughly half of the players feel like it’s beneficial to their team’s success. “When I remain calm and don’t say anything back, I remain focused while the kid trying to get to me tries harder to get me to react,” Dylan Hoy ’13 said, adding that trash-talking occurs on the field as well.

And the typical response from the general student body? The chanting of opposing players’ names who in particular have talked badly upon Staples.

“The groups just add to the occasions,” Smith said.