Aug 13, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UAB men’s soccer team officially began its quest to make its third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament as the squad officially reported to campus on Tuesday. The Blazers return seven starters and 15 letterwinners from last season and welcome nine newcomers.
“We return the majority of our team from last season,” head coach Mike Getman stated. “We were a little bit unlucky towards the end of the season and lost a tough 3-2 match to Charlotte in the NCAA Tournament, but we are a year older and hopefully a year better. We have some young guys joining our team, who I think will make a big impact on our team. I expect us to be an even better team than last season.”
Experience and depth will be key factors for the Blazers this upcoming season. More than half of the players on this season’s roster saw action during the 2012 campaign and 12 players earned at least one start. In addition, a handful of players from the incoming class are expected to compete for playing time.
Redshirt sophomore forward Karl Chester will bring firepower up front. Chester is the team’s leading returning scorer from 2012 after registering 13 points (5g, 3a). Seniors Moses Adeniran, Fatai Alabi, Norris Howze, and Chase Wickham, all returning starters in the midfield, join together to form arguably the team’s best unit. Junior Darion Copeland, the team’s lone representative on the Preseason All-Conference USA Team, will look to anchor UAB’s back line.
“We have the talent and depth to make it through a season like this,” Getman commented. “My expectations are very high. I don’t think there is anybody that we need to be afraid of. Any team that takes us lightly is going to pay for it.”
UAB will be challenged from the start, playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation this year. The Blazers will face six teams who were ranked or received votes in the final NSCAA/Continental Tire Poll and seven squads who played in the 2012 national tournament, including 2012 national champion Indiana. The Green and Gold will host the Hoosiers in its first home match of the season on Friday, September 6 at West Campus Field.
“This is, by far, the toughest schedule we have ever had,” Getman added. “This will certainly be one of the most challenging schedules for any team in the country. We’re going to be pushed every single weekend, but I think our team is ready for this challenge. I know our players are excited to compete against the best teams from around the country.”
After two straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, the expectations are high in Birmingham. With a plethora of experience and talent, the Blazers men’s soccer team is looking to make 2013 a memorable year.
“Every coach says that they expect to win every game, win the conference championship, and compete for a national championship,” Getman said. “I think this team can do all of these things. This team has all the pieces you want in order to compete for championships.”
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