NES Alumni College Success – Gavin Randolph

January 8, 2024

New England Surf alumni, Gavin Randolph, recently caught up with Jonathan Sigal from the New England Soccer Journal to discuss his incredible season in their latest article:

Heading into his sophomore season at Middlebury College, Gavin Randolph (Boston, Mass.) had humble expectations about his role for 2023.

He saw Jordan Saint-Louis leading the Panthers’ attack and an impressive supporting cast providing options, making the NESCAC program not just a regional contender but a national one.

“I didn’t even think I was gonna start (in the 2023 season), honestly,” Randolph told New England Soccer Journal.

Slowly but surely, though, Randolph bought into the idea that he could be a catalyst. And it all came together, ironically, during a 3-0 home win over Tufts in late October. The Jumbos feature his twin brother, Luke Randolph (Boston, Mass.).

“I ended up getting an assist and a goal and it kind of clicked for me there,” Gavin said. “I always thought Tufts was a really good team and I felt like if I can score a goal and get an assist against a team like that, maybe I am this kind of player.”

Randolph ultimately finished with 21 points (8g/5a) in 21 games (20 starts), making him Middlebury’s second-leading scorer. That helped him earn Third Team All-Region honors and a Second Team All-NESCAC spot, rewarding a breakout season for the Milton Academy and New England Surf alum.

It all followed how, as a freshman in 2022, Randolph tallied four points (1g/2a) in 17 games (one start) as he adjusted to the collegiate level. Asked about what changed, head coach Alex Elias (Manchester Center, Vt.) points to “earned confidence and production” as two determining factors.

“Gavin started to believe that he could and would score goals every game, then flashed up in some big moments for us and he became a big-game player,” Elias said. “That was his self-belief improving. He’s always willing to run behind teams because his pace is deadly, and then he got better in front of goal. The consistency of his ability in front of goal is what also helped him make that jump.

“But I think so much of it came down to self-belief and an unwavering confidence that he can do it at this level and he can be impactful on both sides of the ball.”

Randolph wrapped 2023 with the NESCAC’s third-most points, a driving force in the conference’s highest-scoring team (52 goals) and second-highest on a goals-per-game basis (2.476). Randolph also came up clutch by snagging four game-winners, highlighted by pivotal strikes against Williams in the NESCAC quarterfinals and Cortland in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.

Photo by Will Costello.

Yet, as the consummate team player, all the stats and accolades matter little to him.

“I sincerely would have traded all of that recognition just to have won the whole thing,” Randolph said. “We made
it to the Elite Eight (and lost to Amherst) — it was pretty heartbreaking.

“No matter how good of a season you have, my perspective on it is it doesn’t really matter unless you and your boys are lifting up the cup at the end of the run. That matters so much more to me.”

Hearing Elias rave about Randolph, that viewpoint comes as little surprise. Humility is an easily recognizable trait in their dynamic forward.

“There’s no one in the program guys were happier to see be awarded this year,” Elias said. “He is so team-first and he hasn’t had to be compelled to be that way. He genuinely just loves his teammates and wants to win for them, so he was almost shocked that he would win anything awards-wise. He’s just so down-to-earth and hard-working.”

That outlook surfaces in what Randolph enjoys most about Middlebury’s program.

“The most special thing about Middlebury, it has to be the culture here and the brotherhood,” Randolph, a computer science and economics double major, said. “I know that sounds cheesy or cliché, but here it is an actual motivating force and presence. If you called anyone on this team right now, they would tell you that every single person on our team is a real brother and they will be for even 30-plus years down the line.

“That kind of community and support has really helped me become more confident and reach that other level.”

With this foundation laid, it begs the question: What might 2024 have in store for Randolph? Elias has no doubt he’ll continue to level up.

“We believe his best days are ahead of him,” Elias said. “He’s not the type of young man to get complacent at all. He is almost self-critical to a fault. So he just has to keep the hunger to improve and establish himself as one of the best players in the country going forward, which he has in him.

“He has to keep improving in order to truly establish that. And that’s consistency, that’s variety of how he scores goals, that’s being even fitter, so he can go for ideally 90 minutes.”

There’s even taking on a leadership role, recognizing a Saint-Louis-sized hole is left behind. The three-time All-NESCAC forward capped his esteemed career with 69 points (24g/21a).

But what’s most meaningful for Randolph would be bringing home Middlebury’s first national title since 2007, a team Elias captained. If more accolades follow suit, that’s just a bonus.

“We want to win it all every season,” Randolph said. “If you’re not looking to win the whole thing at the end, I don’t know why you’re playing. Respectfully, of course. But we all believe in ourselves and we think that if we don’t end with the national title or a NESCAC trophy, then we’ve disappointed ourselves.

“I say that because I really believe in this team. I honestly think that we’ll be better next year than we were this year.”

This article was written by Jonathan Sigal at New England Soccer Journal

Photo by Anna Sawin.