Occidental’s men’s soccer team won a match 5 – 3 against Pomona-Pitzer Sept. 20 with two goals from forward Oury Diane (junior). Diane also had two assists in the game.
The team scored two goals against Pomona within the first seven minutes of the game — one from Diane and another from Joey Schwartz (senior). According to Diane, the team was playing well as a group.
“At that point, it was 2 – 0 so [our] team had the momentum. We were poised [and] excited to play,” Diane said. “I got a few more goals and assists throughout the game. But it was a lot [of] team effort.”
Diane said he went on to assist with two goals, both of which were scored by forward Andrew Notter (junior). According to team captain Evan Karp (senior), the duo of forwards works well together.
“They’re a dynamic partnership for sure,” Karp said. “They both work off each other really well. They both have so much hunger and love for the game, and I think it comes out when you see them play.”
Notter said he enjoys playing with Diane.
“We just feed off each other very well,” Notter said. “I think we have a great understanding between each other.”
Diane said that he sees assists as an important part of his game to contribute to the team’s success, as demonstrated by the match against Pomona.
“Anytime you can set a teammate up or help the team any way you can is really good,” Diane said. “I felt really happy, not just personally, but for [Notter], who scored as well. He really deserves it [and] he’s been working hard.”
According to Karp, the mindset of camaraderie that Diane brings is important to the team’s culture.
“[Diane] is the kind of guy who’s always first to celebrate other people’s achievements,” Karp said. “You always want guys like that on the team — they’re few and far between.”
Diane said that putting the team above himself is important, and that the team’s collective effort helped secure the win against Pomona.
“In a team setting, you have to try to put yourself aside for the better of the team,” Diane said. “So, given those two assists, it felt really good helping the team win. That’s all that matters at the end of the day.”
Diane said he also credits the team’s success to the coaching staff and their efforts.
“The coaching staff really know what they’re doing, they’re preparing us very well week in and week out,” Diane said. “Without the game plan, things like winning against Pomona wouldn’t happen. We’re following the coach’s lead and doing all we can to get the win.”
This year, Diane transferred to Occidental from Connecticut College, where he also played soccer at the Division III level. According to Diane, the transition as a transfer student was easy because of the men’s soccer team.
“The coaching staff and the players on the team welcomed me with open arms. They were able to help me acclimate to the team,” Diane said. “It’s been going really well — I’m happy to be here, honestly.”
Diane said he was born and raised in Conakry, Guinea, and then moved to New Haven, Connecticut in 2015. According to Diane, he was introduced to soccer at around 5 years old in West Africa.
“Ever since [then] it’s just been something I love,” Diane said. “Soccer is a part of me.”
According to Diane, soccer is more than a game and it holds greater significance for him, especially in Guinea.
“Soccer is a way for us to get to know each other [and] connect with everybody from back home,” Diane said. “I feel like every lesson I’ve learned has been through soccer.”
Diane said his goal for the upcoming season is aligned with his team’s — to win the SCIAC tournament. According to Diane, it’s important to stay focused on the next game ahead.
“To [win the conference] you have to go game by game, you can’t just look ahead to the future,” Diane said.
Karp said he sees a very level-headed and focused mentality from Diane regarding the team’s goals.
“[Diane] never lets it get to our heads when we win games,” Karp said. “He always kind of like, ‘on to the next’, and he’s never looking further ahead than the next game.”
According to Notter, the addition of Diane’s presence to the team this season has been valuable in many ways.
“The dynamic that [Diane] brings is something that we were really missing before,” Notter said. “I’m super grateful that he’s here.”
Diane said he is happy to be playing soccer — especially at Occidental — with hopes of winning the conference.
“Soccer is a big part of my life,” Diane said. “I’m excited it got me here and I can keep going from that.”
Contact Julian Villa at email@example.com