Most pg 1 10-7-21

For Putnam Science Academy men’s soccer player Adam Azman, the captain’s armband he wears can be a burden.
He is the team’s most talented player and one of its most demanding. But he is also one of the most humble on the roster and doesn’t want to be viewed as any different.
“To be honest I’m not a fan of it because it shouldn’t feel like one person is higher than the other. Everybody should want to take that responsibility and be a leader,” Azman said last week. “But when you are made a captain, you have to hold yourself to a higher standard. If you don’t take anything seriously and you’re messing about in training and your teammates see you doing that, they’re going to have the same attitude. So as a captain, I want to be, as much as I can, the example for everybody else and hold myself to a higher standard.”
A native of Selangor, Malaysia, the 18-year-old reported a few weeks late to campus in early September because he was called up to train with the U23 national team. PSA coach Ryan Dunnigan knew even before he got to campus that he was going to be one of his three captains.
“He’s just a really exciting, really talented, really good young man,” Dunnigan said. “He commands the game from the back and is really that final piece to the puzzle in terms of what we’re doing in the back.
“He’s someone who has high standards for himself and his teammates, and those feed into each other. Adam has been very good for us as we’ve started our season.”
Following a 0-0 draw with Woodstock Academy’s prep team on September 29 wasn’t a terrible outcome considering the strength of that Woodstock team. But for Azman, it wasn’t good enough.
“It’s a hard-fought game and I think people just naturally want to reward themselves with ‘I did well today.’ I think everybody likes to hear compliments,” said Azman, who credits his two brothers with sharpening his competitive spirit. “As a captain and as a brother to these guys, I want to hold them to the highest standard and push them to be the best they can be. I think we can only do that when we demand the most from each other and not be content with draws or losses.
“I don’t think anybody is perfect. I know I’m definitely not. I know I’m still learning. There are days where you’re going to have a bad game. Everyone has a bad game. The most important thing to do is push yourself to get better. If you make a bad play, do better the next play. If you make a bad pass, do better the next pass. If it’s a bad game, same thing. Always push to have the mindset that you can do better and then do it. Don’t let it get to you. I think that then having that mindset translates to how you play in the games, and the results will come from that.”
Azman sat and cheered on his teammates Friday afternoon in a 4-2 win over Indian Mountain School. He and most of the Mustangs’ regular starters didn’t play as IMS fielded a team of just ninth-graders. Leo Uren, Gustavo Melo, and Valentino Labella all scored in the second half to lead PSA to the win.
Tomas Melon, who along with Rafael Machado and Landon Pettigrew were named honorary captains for the game, tallied a goal in the first half for the Mustangs (2-0-1).
“This was a good opportunity for me to evaluate some of our players who normally don’t play as much,” Dunnigan said of his reserves playing the entire game. “We did some things well, some things we need to do better. But overall, I think it was good.”
Uren, who had only played a handful of minutes so far this season, scored in front off a feed from Melo.
“I saw him dribbling on the endline, it was an amazing play by Gustavo,” Uren said. “I asked for the ball and when he passed, I was like ‘I have to score this goal, I have to score this goal.’ I didn’t even see it go in but I heard everybody shouting so I ran to celebrate. It was good.”
By Stephen Nalbandian
Sports Information Director
Putnam Science Academy


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