A relative newcomer to the Army-Navy rivalry, Head Men’s Soccer Coach at Navy, Tim O’Donohue is ready to bring his Midshipmen into Talen Energy Stadium on October 15 to take on Army West Point in Army-Navy Cup VI.
“Really-- there’s nothing like it in sports,” Coach O’Donohue said when speaking of the Army-Navy rivalry. “It’s quite an event, quite a stage. We’re looking forward to it and we’re going to put our best foot forward.”
Despite this season being just O’Donohue’s second year in charge of the men from Annapolis, he is no stranger to the big game environment. Making multiple NCAA post-season tournaments while at the University of Connecticut and Stevens Institute of Technology, O’Donohue notes what this type of match can do in terms of growth for his team and the program.
“It’s a great event for the players, their families and great exposure for both programs,” said O’Donohue. “It’s good for the players to play in front of a crowd with pressure. It’s a great developmental tool as well.”
The Naval Academy is on a bit of slide in this rivalry, losing the last two to the Black Knights. However, these are not the same Army West Point and Navy teams from last year. Between the two rosters, this year’s matchup features 22 freshmen, 12 for Army West Point and 10 for Navy. According to O’Donohue, for the young men who are getting their first taste of this rivalry it’s all about translating preparation into performance.
“You talk about the experiences with big games, how to get ready,” said the Midshipmen’s head coach. “We’ll do the best we can to try to help them to get ready for the moment. At the end of the day players have to perform, focus in and get it done.”
When Navy travels to Talen Energy Stadium, the goal is to end the two-game losing skid and grab their 41st victory in this rivalry. While going in with that mindset, O’Donohue wants his men to remember that they are representing an institution “that’s very important to people.”
“You want them to be class acts on the field,” O’Donohue said. “Look a certain way, in terms of stylistically, but represent the Naval Academy in a positive way. Give everything we can and be organized, be respectful, be gentlemen and be warriors. All those things we embody.”
Beyond the on-field product, there is so much more that encompasses Army-Navy Cup. From the ceremony to the history of this great rivalry, it is a chance for people to show respect for these young men who are not just incredible athletes but incredible scholars as well.
“I respect all these young men and women for the commitment they give to the country,” O’Donohue expressed. “They’re warriors and it’s an opportunity for everyone to show their appreciation to them by coming out and supporting them in a meaningful game.”
This will be the 83rd matchup in this rivalry with Navy currently leading the series 40-29-14 and the series is tied at 2-2-1 since the inaugural Army-Navy Cup in 2012.
Tickets for Army-Navy Cup VI at Talen Energy Stadium can be purchased here and start at just $18.