Bethel University Wildcat Soccer is coming off another successful season. The 2010 team finished 14-6-1 overall and 7-0 in TranSouth Conference play. The undefeated conference record marked the second consecutive season Bethel has gone undefeated in conference action. The last loss to a conference opponent was September 24, 2008 to Martin Methodist, and over the last three seasons, the Cats are 18-1-2 in conference play. Bethel lost to The University of Mobile 3-2 in the Elite Eight of the NAIA Championships last year with the Rams netting the winning goal in the final minute of play.
Coach Melvin Belong enters his fifth year as head coach of the Wildcats. He is 56-21-7 as a head coach, and he led Bethel to the national title in 2008.
The 2011 squad will be one of the more talented squads in school history. Seniors Mario Vila Boa and Dawyne Smith both look to continue their great play in 2011. Vila Boa was Conference Player of the Year for the second straight year this past season. Smith was also TranSouth All-Conference. Smith, Vila Boa, and Armando Orozco combined for 31 goals last season. The Cats also return the TSAC Freshman of the Year in Mohammed Dumbuya. Dumbuya scored eleven goals and had two assists last year. Second Team All-Conference forward Jorgen Hansen is also back for his sophomore season.
The Cats added several key players to this year's squad, including Lambuth University's top scorer from last year, Juan Garzon. He led Lambuth with 17 goals in 2010.
The Cats play one of the toughest schedules in the nation. The schedule includes defending national champion Hastings (Neb.), perennial power Lindsey Wilson, and several Top 25 ranked teams. The Cats open their season at home on August 28 at 4 p.m. against Central Baptist before hitting the road to battle Hastings on August 27.
Martin Methodist College (2010: 9-5-2; 3-4 TSAC)
Martin Methodist men's soccer will open the 2011 season with fresh faces, and a host of new additions as they look to return to the top of the ranks in the TranSouth. Gerry Cleary, seven-time TSAC Coach of the Year as director of the women's program, makes his transition to leading the men's squad to success in coming years.
The RedHawks come off a 9-5-2 overall, 3-4 TSAC campaign in which they finished sixth in regular season standings, making a postseason run in the TranSouth Championships, but falling short to Bethel in the finals.
Key losses for MMC include All-Conference selections in keeper James Colman and forward Andy Gordon, but the RedHawks will welcome several qualified returners in senior defenders Robbie Coffey and Joe Beecroft, senior midfielder Stephen Doran, and sophomore forward Brett Hurst.
In addition, Cleary has compiled a heavy recruiting class that includes 15 newcomers. Highlighting that group are three freshmen that are expected to make immediate impact, including goalkeeper Kyle Wolfenbarger out of Murfreesboro, Tennesse, midfielder Gideon Peterson, and forward Benji Ciosanski. Senior transfer Adam Grant will bring experience to the midfield, as he will play his final season with MMC after competing with Lambuth University.
Along with a crop of new players, Cleary has added assistant Yuki Kariya, who comes from a successful career at NAIA Auburn University-Montgomery, where he was twice an All-Conference selection, and spent a year as a student assistant coach.
MMC kicks off their season on September 4th with a string of road games that includes a trip to Belhaven University's tournament, and will open their home slate on September 28th with Young Harris College.
Union University (2010: 13-5-1; 4-3 TSAC)
The 2011 Union University men's soccer team is looking to continue the momentum started last season. Union made a four-spot jump in the conference standings from 2009 to finish in a tie for third in 2010. Union finished the season 13-5-1 overall and 4-3 in the TranSouth.
Union has 38 guys on the roster this year, including varsity and junior varsity players. Of those 38 players, 25 are returning after playing either varsity or junior varsity last season. Eleven players are returning that started at least four matches on the varsity team. Union will also need to replace four players that started for the 2010 team. Union head coach Clovis Simas will use the 13 newcomers to the program to help fill the voids and to build the 2011 Bulldog team.
The senior class includes nine players. James Landham, Rainer Hauss, Chris Waugh, Taylor Mayo, William Murray, Sutton Shults, Jose Marroquin, Dejan Kostic and Luke Foshee will help provide the leadership for this team. Kostic was a first team all-conference midfielder last season, while Landham was a senior team all-conference goalie.
Six juniors make up the smallest class in number. Kemal Gogic, Guilherme Reis, Alysson Mohl, Guilherme Elvira, Cooper Rawls and Jacob Long all enter their third season with the Bulldogs.
The sophomore class of 10 players makes up the second largest class on the roster. Krister Andreassen, Daniel Decker, Diego Santos, Dragan Stanojevic, Cody Styx, Caleb Mills, Brian Castro, Luka Perkovic, Timothy Johnson and David Alsup are all back after successful freshman seasons. Santos was a first team all-conference forward last season, while Andreassen was a second team all-conference defender.
The freshman class has the most members with 13 guys playing their first season at Union. Felipe Araujo, Chip Crockarell, Pedro, Rodriquez, Alex Pratt, Juan Rios, Trey Scogin, Jamie Fox, Matthew Oathey, Zac Musgrove, Jared Harrisson, Jonathan Watson, Daniel White and Charlie Gayle will look to contribute in their first year.
Mid-Continent University (2010: 8-11-1; 5-2)
For the Mid-Continent University Men's Soccer squad, the 2010 season did not end on a high note. The club posted a 5-2 record in the TranSouth, but was upended at home in the TSAC semifinals by Martin Methodist. The Cougars lose two seniors from that squad - Daniel Chilton and All-American Marcio das Neves - and the impact those two had on the club is not lost on head coach David Oesch.
"Losing those two was very hard," Oesch said. "Those two guys were key to our team, they were our captains, and we will miss their leadership this season. With that said, I feel that we have guys who are capable of stepping up and filling those roles this year."
The Cougars do bring back a unique combination of youth and experience, because much of the experience comes from players who were unable to play the 2010 season. Four of the members of the 2011 team played for coach Oesch in his previous coaching stint at Bacone College. The Cougars do return Keagan Bacchus - Mid-Continent's second leading scorer in 2010 - and Gilles Nziengui who anchored the back line for the Cougars a year ago.
The Cougars non-conference schedule features a series of tough matches, highlighted by a September 3 tilt with the Blue Raiders of Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Ky. Two of the toughest TranSouth matches come within a week of each other in early October, as the Cougars play host to Union University for homecoming on October 1, then travel to McKenzie, Tenn. one week later to take on the Bethel University Wildcats.
Freed-Hardeman University (2010: 13-5, 4-3 TSAC)
The Freed-Hardeman Lions were the surprise of the TranSouth Conference in 2010, going 4-3 in conference play and finishing as the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament. In all, the Lions tied a program record with 13 wins, success that earned head coach Jason Elliott his first TranSouth Conference Coach of the Year Award. But a season-ending 3-0 loss to Martin Methodist (Tenn.) in the conference tournament left the Lions hungry to do even more in the coming season and with eight starters returning, the pieces are in place to do just that.
The front six returns in tact from last year, led by first-team all-conference selections Simbarashe Zvaita (12 goals, one assist) and Kenniel Hyde (nine goals, seven assists). The duo will be joined by Philipp Baier, Tafara Tinarwo, Nolan Beede and Guilherme Dorigo in the midfield as well as newcomer Jason Wallace (Kingston, Jamaica) whom Elliott expects to be an impact player.
Second-team all-conference selections Archibold Marowa and Alexandre Girodo return to lead the defense. Girodo, a senior goalkeeper, is FHU all-time saves leader and posted six clean sheets last season. Marowa anchors the defense as a four-year starter. Dorigo could also see time in the back four along with Icaro Alves, Klyne Fawcett and Bryan Grosnick.
FHU plays a home-heavy schedule this season with 11 of its 18 matches taking place at the Josh Riley Soccer Complex, including nine straight from Sept. 2 through Oct. 4. The season opens on the road at Brescia (Ky.) University on Aug. 27.
Lyon College (2010: 11-5-2, 4-3 TSAC)
The 2011 season for the Lyon College men's soccer team is filled with anticipation due to the combination of experienced veterans, young talent, and the inaugural season for Coach Mitch McKay. McKay has 16 returning letter winners, 5 of which were starters in the 2010 season. Lyon finished fifth in 2010 TranSouth standings.
The Scots had three All-Conference selections from the 2010 season, two of which, Rob Hall and Bill Jefferies, are returning for the 2011 season.
Rob Hall is a hardnosed midfielder who is great in the air and a rock defensively. Hall spent the summer playing for the So. Cal Seahorses of the PDL and is coming into season in top form.
Bill Jefferies is a true number 10 with creativity on the ball and is the heart of our attack. As a senior he will play in vital role this fall and will be an exciting player to watch.
"I'm excited about this team," said McKay. "We're an experienced group with great team chemistry. We've got a veteran backline and talented group of newcomers. I think our tough non-conference schedule will have us at top form when TranSouth Conference play begins."
The Scots will begin with exhibition matches against Arkansas Rush U-18's, Ouachita Baptist University, and Hendrix College. Lyon's season opens with the Spring Hill Tournament in Mobile, Alabama on August 27th and 28th.
Cumberland University (2010: 4-12; 0-7 TSAC)
Fifth-year head coach Jeff Loucks returns 10 starters and 15 letterwinners from last year's club that started seven freshmen and sophomores. The Bulldogs begin the year as still a very young team, with 13 of the 23 players on the roster with freshman or sophomores.
Cumberland struggled in close matches last season, dropping six one-goal outings, including four in TranSouth Conference action. The Bulldogs labored at times along the backline with three and sometimes four freshmen, creating easy scoring chances for the opposition because of the lack of experience.
Sophomore Harry Mason led the club with six goals last season, while seniors Robert Boyd and Robert Als, both All-TranSouth performers in 2010, combined for six goals and 11 assists.
Sophomores Nathan Gillespie, Luke Wilson and Mark Harrison along with junior Neil Howard should anchor the Bulldog defense in 2011, while sophomores Eric Clark and Mason, junior Bradley Williams and Boyd will likely form the midfield. Senior Kempess Villafana, a First Team All-TSAC selection in 2008 who has not played the last two years because of injury, should help solidify the midfield and add scoring punch for CU.
In goal junior Matthew Shattuck will take over the starting reins after playing in six matches last season and compiling 33 saves. Freshman Ian Hamilton provides depth at the position as well.
Trevecca Nazarene University (2010: 5-10-1; 1-6 TSAC)
Danny Leavy begins his third season at the helm of the Trevecca men's soccer program with a team that is balanced with a solid group of experienced players as well as a deep, talented batch of newcomers to the program. "I'm really excited about this team," says Coach Leavy. "We have a strong senior class that I'm confident can lead us to new heights."
That senior class is led by goalkeeper Hayden Coffman of Hendersonville, Tenn., who followed up his second team All-TranSouth selection as a sophomore with a first team nod last season. Midfielder Jordan Enix (10 career goals) looks to match the production of his sophomore season, when he scored a team-high nine goals. The other seniors are midfielders Darragh Bugter, Chet Hemenway, and Zach Trobaugh, and defensemen John Sheets and Alex Stagman.
Juniors Javier Delgado and Dibran Rexhepi bring plenty of experience to the table, and they are joined by a solid group of sophomores that gained a lot of valuable experience last season. That sophomore class includes forwards Jonathan Baskin (3G, 1A) and Richie Reichenberger (1G, 1A), who both showed flashes of offensive potential last season, as well as midfielders Matt Raines and Holland Clement and defender Austin Halstead, who started 14 games as a freshman and provided a steady presence to the back four. "Our depth will really help us in a lot ways this season," says Coach Leavy. "We have a good blend of youth and experience, and I expect there to be competition for playing time at every position on the field, which will only make us better."The Trojans open the season August 30th at home against Truett-McConnell College, followed by a trip to Bryan College on September 3rd. The following weekend, the Trojans host the Trevecca Invitational, with matches September 9-10 against Brescia University and Covenant College. A stretch of four straight home matches continues three days later when Asbury College comes to town, followed by a visit from Georgetown College on September 16th. The Trojans then travel to St. Catharine for a match on September 20th before jumping into TranSouth competition against Mid-Continent at the Trojan Soccer Complex on September 27th.