UP-Tuks goalkeeper, Dylan Paterson, is one of the University of Pretoria’s most experienced players, having played in every edition of Varsity Football since its inception in 2013.
He holds two winners’ medals after he helped UP-Tuks to lift the trophy in 2013 and 2014 but was also a member of the squad who failed to qualify for the semi-finals last year.
And it is this balance that separates the men from the boys he proclaims.
“I have learnt to roll with the punches and accept that sometimes we will not perform to the best of our ability,” said the shot-stopper. “This has allowed me to grow as a student, player and as an individual. It has also allowed us to not focus on the result but to continue building towards the legacy we want to leave for the future players of this club.
“This experience has helped the more experienced players mentor the next generation as it gives us the ability to give well-rounded advice. So apart from helping out with training on the practice field, we can help develop their mental approach to the game. This is the legacy we are striving for,” he added.
The 25-year-old is a product of Pretoria Boys High School, just a stone’s throw away from Tuks, and has been a part of the university’s football club long before Varsity Football. He has an innate understanding that immense pressure creates diamonds, and being a goalkeeper is pressure personified.
“Keeping a clean sheet is all that a goalkeeper strives for so even letting one goal in is seen as a failure. Any other player on the field can make a mistake and have the opportunity to make amends for it later in the match. We do not have that luxury,” said the final year LLB student.
Unfortunately Paterson was unable to keep a clean sheet in their last match out against UJ, thanks to a penalty.
Paterson goes on to explain that it is his teammates that get him through the negative emotions whenever he lets in a goal.
“We are like a family at UP-Tuks and all the players band together when the chips are down. I feel like I have let down my brothers when a goal is conceded but they always rally behind me and let me know that I’m better than I think at that moment. That makes all the difference,” he said.
UP-Tuks will look to win their first match of their 2017 campaign against NWU-Mafikeng this Thursday, 7 August. Kick-off is 18:30.
By Dan Lombard