Men’s soccer set for September debut
Published: Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 20:08
When building an athletic program from scratch, there are bound to be a few bumps in the road. That does not seem to be the case for the PUC men’s soccer team, though.
Since he was introduced as leader of the young program in February, Head Coach James Drzewiecki has hit the ground running in recruiting. His efforts have brought to PUC not only more local recruits, but some from around the country.He has even recruited a few players from countries such as Brazil, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.
Attracting players from overseas might come as a surprise for a new program at a small school such as PUC. However, according to Drzewieki, it was not as hard as it seemed, as many were already enrolled at the school.
“A lot of all over the world was already on campus,” he said.
An open tryout on campus attracted over 80 students. Of those, only a select few made the team.
“The right player’s the right player,” Drzewiecki said. “(But) you also try to figure out who’s really dedicated enough to put up with the grind of the season and school.”
The team has amassed a total of 24 players for the season. The players all agree that their team chemistry has been good leading up to the season.
“Everyone’s been very friendly (in practice),” freshman Juan Lopez said.
Lopez, a native of Houston, Texas, played a few games for the MLS’ Houston Dynamo, and is highly enthusiastic about his team’s chances.
“We got good potential,” he said. “I think people will be surprised. I hope we go undefeated.”
Undefeated is a longshot for any team, but many of Lopez’s teammates agree.
“We showed a lot of promise (in the offseason),” goalkeeper and junior Tom Spillman of Hyrum, Utah, said. “I feel optimistic.”
“I see good things,” freshman defender Dominic Balderas said.
Balderas, who played for the Indiana Magic club team and Chicago Magic Soccer Academy, also described how the team is looking beyond their first season, and their personal goals.
“I just want to become a better player,” he said. “I think all of us want to improve as players.”
The men play their first match of the season on Sept. 1 at Goshen, and play their first home match against Concordia on Sept. 7. Drzewiecki shares his team’s confidence that they will make PUC’s debut on the pitch a good one.
“This is a good team,” he said. “They’re going to do well for themselves.”