General of the Week: Ben Bayles

Ben Bayles, ‘16, a midfielder and one of the captains of the Washington and Lee men’s soccer team, has been named General of the Week after scoring two goals against Guilford College on Oct. 4. Bayles is the team’s top scorer with six goals in five games.


Ben Bayles, 16. Photo by Kiki Spiezio, 17.

Kenta Sayama

Phi: Why do you think the team is doing so well this year?

BB: I think the biggest thing is our depth, with a lot of strong freshmen coming in. Four or five of them are starting in the games, and it is definitely huge. Also, I think we have scored 12 goals [already] this year, [which] is a lot higher than last year. We started possessing the ball a lot more successfully in the middle, and that makes us not have to chase a lot and is making the defense more relaxed.

Phi: Are you an attacking midfield or a defensive midfield?

BB: I am primarily a defensive midfield, but I am taking on attacking [midfield] a little more this season.

Phi: How do you feel about your individual performance this season?

BB: Very good. But I am still struggling to get my fitness back so that I can play the full 90 minutes with full strength, but overall, I’m feeling pretty good about everything.

Phi: You were injured last year. How did that affect you, and what lessons do you think you learned from it?

BB: I missed all of last year with a broken toe, which was very frustrating, but it has made this year even more enjoyable. It definitely made me want [to play] a little more and realize how much fun it is to be on the field. As a captain, I have always been a “lead by example” kind of guy, but last year, being off the pitch it was obviously not an option. So I had to try to develop a different type of leadership, which was a good growing experience. I definitely learned some things I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.

Phi: What aspect do you think you have developed the most recently?

BB: I think my confidence has definitely grown a lot as a senior.

Phi: What are your individual goals and goals for the team for the rest of the season?

BB: I think the biggest goal that the team talked about, and that I definitely agree with, is to win the championship. As my personal goal, I would like to sit in that end [to help the team], and I want to make all the players confident in their plays. But at the end of the day, if we could we the championship, I think everyone would be happy.

Phi: So do you care more about the team winning ODAC than you achieving your personal goals?

BB: At this point, I have had enough individual accolades, and that doesn’t mean a lot for me anymore.

Phi: Do you think the team this year has more potential compared to past seasons?

BB: I think so. I have heard from coaches and other people that this team is the best [men’s soccer] team W&L has had in a long time, and another coach commented that this is the best team that the conference has seen in a very long time. We definitely have some unique elements this year, and they are all coming together nicely.

Phi: What do you like most about soccer?

BB: The competition. I find myself becoming overly competitive in most things I do. Soccer gives me an outlet and an opportunity to use my competitive nature for a worthwhile purpose.

Phi: What do you think makes the W&L soccer team unique or special?

BB: Hard to say. The only real comparison I can make is to previous teams I have played on. I would say the biggest difference is the intelligence of the team and the implementation of that skill on the field. This allows greater organization and teamwork. It is immensely important, as we are able to identify and attack team-specific weaknesses.