Tue, Aug. 14, 2012
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Lindsborg News Record
The Bethany College men's soccer team enters their 2012 season with a refreshed roster, and a new outlook.
"I could not be happier with the offseason and how it has been going," said head coach Kevin Megli, who enters his second year at the helm of the Swedes. "The players that are returning for next year want to erase the bad memory of last season. They have put the work in the classroom and on the field to make next year one to remember."
The "bad memory" Megli speaks of is Bethany's 3-15 overall record in 2011, and an eighth place finish in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC). The Swedes return nine letter winners and four starters.
Key returners include junior midfielder Art Ruiz from Okla.; sophomore defender Jacob Spilker from Neb.; senior midfielder Ilija Soc from Serbia; and sophomore defender Braedan DeLong from Nevada.
To help give their roster a fresh new look and more depth, Megli and his staff hit the ground running on the recruiting trail.
"The coaching staff has been recruiting extremely hard to find the best student-athletes that would represent Bethany College in the classroom and on the field," Megli said. "We have gone everywhere from California to New York, Texas to Wisconsin. The combination of returning players and new recruits, we have to put in the work for Bethany College to be successful for next year's team."
Top newcomers are junior forward Lewis Collins from England; sophomore goalkeeper Kayo Vaz from Brazil; junior midfielder Admir Balicevac from New Zealand; and junior defender Anthony Gonzalez from California.
The combination of determined returners and eager new faces, the Swedes now turn to team unity to head their season.
"We want to be more competitive than we were last season," said Megli. "We have a tough schedule that will help us develop for our conference play. The biggest challenge we will face for next year is playing as a team and not as 11 individuals. To bring in a whole new team, it is going to be difficult to get everyone on the same page. The sooner we can all get on the same page, the sooner we will benefit from our strengths."
Picked to finish sixth in the KCAC preseason coaches poll, Bethany kicks off their 2012 campaign on Tuesday, August 28 as they host Manhattan Christian College at 7:30 p.m.