Boys Varsity Soccer Captains: Tait Mott & Will Murray

Tait Mott ’20 and William Murray ’21 serve as co-captains of the Boys Varsity Soccer team this year.

Tait Mott ’20 and William Murray ’21 serve as co-captains of the Boys Varsity Soccer team this year.

Mott has been playing soccer “since [his] earliest memories,” mostly due to his family’s interest in the sport. While he did not take soccer seriously in elementary school and played for a local recreational team, he eventually started playing for a travel team in middle school. Ever since he came to Lawrenceville as a new III Former, he has been a member of the varsity team.

Similarly, Murray has been playing soccer since he was four years old, starting in a recreational league. He then moved to a travel team in second grade, which he stayed with until seventh grade. He then transitioned to a higher-level team, called the San Francisco Elite Development Academy, which was “a much more serious commitment [at] a higher level of soccer.” Murray said that this program primarily facilitated his skill development. Additionally, it gave him more exposure to different teams and styles from various U.S. states and even international countries. “Soccer was my sport all throughout my childhood,” Murray said, “it’s the earliest sport I remember playing.” Unfortunately, Murray had to quit playing for the San Francisco Elite team when he came to Lawrenceville. He has found it extremely difficult to find a local travel team to play for, especially as a boarding student and a member of the Boys Varsity Indoor and Outdoor Track teams.

Both captains have made transitions in their positions in the past few years while playing at Lawrenceville. Murray said, “I’ve been moved around a lot on the Lawrenceville team—striker, winger, center back. I’ll play whatever the team needs at the moment.” However, his favorite position is left-back, as it has always been his primary position. Mott has attempted multiple positions but always finds his way back to midfield. He’s played box-to-box but is most comfortable as an attacking center midfielder. Recently, Mott has taken an interest in the left-wing position “because some of [his] favorite professional players play left-wing.”

Soccer is more than just a sport for both captains. Murray takes the lessons he learns on the field and applies them to other parts of his life. “I like soccer, not just because it’s a beautiful game, but also for [its] teamwork aspect,” which he said “definitely impacts [his] ability to work with other people towards a common goal,” regardless of the matter at hand. Soccer has also helped Murray stay in shape for track, which he does in the Winter and Spring Terms. Mott has a broader outlook on how soccer has shaped him, saying that it has helped him understand how people all over the world can bond over one sport.

Both Mott and Murray also take their roles as captains very seriously. According to Murray, being captain is about being there “to help teammates recover from mistakes or bring issues to light.” It is “just a reason to push forward and be the best I can be,” he said. As a IV Former, Murray also feels a lot of responsibility.

“I’m still learning from everyone,” he said, “I’m not perfect and neither [is anyone else], but together we can both improve.” For Mott, being in this position means a lot to him, since it is a part of his family’s legacy at Lawrenceville. His father, Andrew Mott ’85, was captain of the Boys Varsity Soccer team in 1984 to 1985, and his older brother, Jefferson Mott ’18, was also a captain in his V Form year. “It’s a huge honor that our family can continue to hold such a high standard for soccer,” Mott said, “and it proves that the Motts are doing something right.” Looking ahead, each captain has different views on playing soccer at the collegiate level. Mott has always had a dream of playing soccer in college. Unfortunately, as he went through the recruiting process last year, he found that he had no interest in attending any of the colleges that wanted him for soccer. Therefore, Mott has decided to play club soccer in the future. On the other hand, Murray would love to play soccer for a college team. And when asked the question, “track or soccer?” Murray would ideally like to do both in college.

With only a few games left in the season, the team hopes to finish strong, despite some obstacles it has encountered so far. “I like to focus on how well the team actually plays the game, regardless of the score on the scoreboard,” Mott said. Echoing Mott’s sentiment, Murray said, “We’ve come a long way this fall, and that’s really what I enjoy most—just seeing our team and other teams play each other really well, play good soccer, and grow while we’re at it.”

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