Pledging to get his kicks in purple
Waxahachie's Nathan Dyke signs with Lions
SAGU soccer working towards encore season
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- After notching the first winning season in school history, the men’s soccer team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University, behind new Head Coach Clementin Oancea, have been actively working to prove that 2011 was no fluke.
The Lions went 10-9-5, won the Central Regional tournament of the National Christian College Athletic Association, and advanced to the 8-team nationals in Orlando. Though they posted an 0-2-1 mark in the Florida, finishing seventh, the squad was left hungry to accomplish more.
To that end the Lions have begun to announce this year’s recruiting class.
Coach Oancea (pronounced like WAHN-cha) was very pleased to have Nathan Dyke, a midfielder from Waxahachie High School, sign a binding national letter of intent to become a student-athlete at SAGU this fall.
Playing at a local college is not only cost-effective, but allows family and friends to see his career played on the natural surface of the Lions’ soccer pitch.
The decision to don the purple and gold came naturally. The 5-foot-11 Dyke has played for Oancea on the club level for seven years.
“It's pretty cool to play for 'Clem' again because I used to play for him in club soccer,” Dyke said. “Since he's coached me so long, he knows how I play. I think my game will improve a lot here because that's what he does. He pushes people to the limits.”
The coach told Daily Light Sports Editor Billy Wessels that he is “…looking forward to working with him again. He's a good young man with a lot of potential. It's good to see him maturing.”
Dyke plans to study psychology.
Waxahachie, who finished second to Red Oak in District 28 of Class 4A, had one of the best scoring combos in the Metroplex.
Dyke, often keying the frontline as a middie, had 10 goals and assisted on four others. The Indians’ top scorer was Ricardo Chavez, with 13 and 5.
Varsity soccer coach Jason Venable, who just completed his eighth campaign, has worked with Dyke the last four years. He anticipates him elevating his game on the collegiate scene.
“It's always a big step leaving high school and going to college,” he explained. “He went through a lot of hard times in his career at Waxahachie.”
He indicated that Dyke’s maturation process, combined with playing locally, will benefit him. “He's one of the better players we've had around in a while.”
Oancea has followed his evolvement and is also a believer.
“I think the main focus with our school here is based on Christian values and life-learning experiences. They are more important than soccer,” Oancea said. “Soccer is a great tool to educate, but the most important thing is getting them on the right path to become a great man.”
Dyke played almost every position for the Indians, mostly as a midfielder his senior year. He was awarded First Team All-District for his efforts. Now he's up for the challenge of potentially moving to another position.
“He (Oancea) said he is looking for some defenders and I can definitely do that,” Dyke said. “I can play any position he wants me to, but I think the first couple years I will be on defense. Plus, I think I will get a chance to play early.”
“He's a talented young player. He can play anywhere on the field and is a quality player,” Venable said. “He played a big part in us allowing (less than) 10 district goals this year. He's willing to do whatever it takes to win. He wanted to play more forward, but he understood (the team’s needs) and it paid off.”
One of the Indians most memorable moments came in a 0-0 draw with Red Oak (16-3-5), the only blemish on the Hawks’ district record. The Tribe registered a 10-10-5 mark, qualifying for the post-season. Dallas’ Woodrow Wilson HS (16-4-0) topped them, 3-1, in the first round.
Securing local talent is a priority for Oancea.
“I think it's a good opportunity for the city to see there’s a good school here,” Oancea said. “It's a lot cheaper than going all over the country to play the game you love (while still) getting a good education.”
The coach, who was on the Romanian national team, also has his sights set on recruiting international players.
The Lions return a solid core from last year’s team, including All-American striker Danny Martinez (Houston, Tx) and Joe Ballah (Monrovia, Liberia), midfielders Parker Sturgeon (Bartlesville, Ok) and Jonathan Ramos (Tegucigalpa, Honduras) and keeper Cesar Galvin (Dallas, Tx).
Southwestern is a dual Division I member in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the NCAA. They compete in the Red River Athletic Conference, which has 15 college members from four states; Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and Texas.
The team reports on August 8, when they will embark on a missions project in southwest Texas. Their camp begins on Aug. 13.
SAGU’s first match is slated for Aug. 24 in Oklahoma City against Mid-America Christian University. Their 18-game schedule is posted at www.sagu.edu/athletics.
Broadcasting SAGU soccer
Two new features this season will be the internet broadcast of two Lions home matches. SAGUtv will produce the livestream in high definition on-line, the finest airings in the NAIA.
Also, a LiveStats webcast during all home games will be accessible for fans. It is a digital account of the games’ play-by-play as they happen.
Both services will be offered at no expense.
An announcement about the broadcast schedule, as well as a newly emerging social media (Twitter) tool that will connect with a growing fan base, will be made later this summer.