The Crusaders believe they were better than their 9-8-1 record last season and they hope to prove it when they open the 2010 soccer season against Toccoa Falls College in Tigerville on Sept. 2.
The North Greenville Men’s soccer team fell short in a number of close games in 2009, losing four matches by a one-point margin.
“We should have been better than that. A lot better,” said forward Jonathan Restrepo, who led the team with 12 goals last season.
Head coach Chad Gfeller says the pieces are in place for this Crusader team to have some success this season.
“We’ve got strength and speed in our squad this year,” said Gfeller. “We lost some close games last year, we lacked a little bit of depth, but we tried to improve that this year.”
It’s clear that North Greenville will be trying to speed things up this season.
“Everyone is committed to playing a lot faster on offense and defense,” said Restrepo. “The more goals we score, the more games we’ll win.”
Gfeller says the team’s new acquisitions will be a big key for their success.
“Sergio Loaiza is a talented attacker who is really going to help us,” said Gfeller. “We’ve (also) added some speed to our midfield that will help us as well.”
Goalkeeper Nick Williams says the freshman will be asked to contribute right away.
“We lost four starting players that were key contributors for us. Now we need the new guys to come in and step up,” said Williams. “It’s a young team but I’m excited to see where it goes.”
With what he believes to be a talented team, Gfeller is setting some high goals for his club.
“Hopefully we’ll take a step forward this year and knock off some teams that are top 25 caliber,” said Gfeller. “Our ultimate goal is making it to the national tournament and having success on that stage.”
Gfeller will have some help, however. The men’s JV soccer team, which is designed to develop players for the varsity level, is getting set to launch this season.
Gfeller says he believes the team will be a tremendous benefit to the program.
“It’s something that I’ve really been pushing for a couple of years and it has worked out,” said Gfeller. “It really gives us more depth and it gives us the ability to develop more players.”
The JV team has five matches on their schedule, with two games against Montreat College, two contests against Tri-County Technical College and their season opener on Sep. 10 against Newberry College in Newberry, SC.
As for the varsity, Gfeller says he is happy with the schedule and is striving to win 10 or more games.
“We have some really tough games as we get latter parts of the season,” said Gfeller. “The Southern Wesleyan game (on Sep. 25, in Central, SC) will either give us confidence or take momentum away from us.”
Some notable home games for the Crusaders this season include a tough contest with Erskine College on Sep. 22 and a battle with Lander University on Oct. 20.