Episode 2: UNC Soccer Photo Story

Episode 2

An eclectic mix of English and Spanish music pulsates through the UNC soccer locker room, invigorating the souls of those listening as they prepare for battle. Matt Constant sits on the floor signing souvenir soccer balls that will be thrown out to fans before the game. I look over at Alex Rose and I have no idea what he is doing. He wields a lighter and he’s holding the flame to his socks.

CHAPEL HILL, NC – SEPTEMBER 06: Santiago Herrera #9 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during a game against the Harvard Crimson September 6, 2019, at the UNC Soccer and Lacrosse Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 6-0. (Photo by Peyton Williams)
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Move in day

UNC Soccer Project

Day 1

Sammy Jermane, the field supervisor of the new UNC Soccer and Lacrosse Stadium, has been dutifully preparing the grass and field for the players’ arrival. Every square inch of the field has been tended to with excruciating detail. And the players themselves are all back in Chapel Hill, putting in equal amounts of preparation into their season.

The team arrived last week to participate in the Dick Baddour Carolina Leadership Academy, led by Shelley Johnson. However, rather than Shelley or the coaching staff teaching these sessions, student athletes were paired off into teams and assigned a topic that followed a “we are” statement.

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New photo project with UNC Men’s Soccer

An exciting announcement: This season I will be doing a season-long photo story with the North Carolina Tar Heels men’s soccer team, telling the lives of the student athletes off the field. You’ll see little in the way of game action photos; you can find those easily elsewhere. Instead, this will document the moments you never get to see. Reps during practice, gearing up before a game, and those formative moments that bond these student athletes together towards a collective vision of excellence on the field.

I’ll confess that I’m both excited and nervous about the experience. Excited because I’ll be back at my alma mater doing this story, a school that always feels me with good memories. Nervous because I’ve never done a story with a soccer team and will be figuring this out as a stumble along, trying to find compelling photography week in and week out.

Below are some images from the first day, a photo and video day session held at the new UNC Soccer and Lacrosse stadium.

Follow along with me on my Instagram or Twitter accounts as we take this journey together.

Until then, I’m off to buy some UNC soccer gear.