Pre-Season Soccer starts for Lions
Veterans and talented freshmen report
Coach Oancea names Vasquez Asst. Coach
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Fresh off of their first-ever winning season, the men’s soccer team from Southwestern Assemblies of God University start the 2012 pre-season camp today on campus.
The Lions went 10-9-5, won the National Christian College Athletic Association’s Central Region and qualified for the NCCAA Nationals in Orlando. SAGU posted an 0-2-1 mark at nationals which served to light a fire in returning players to go farther in 2012.
Southwestern named Clem Oancea (WAHN-cha), a former player on the Romanian national team, as the team’s new head coach in the off-season. He has led an aggressive recruiting drive which has brought in some impressive local talent as well as others with international connections.
The Lions have been on a missions trip to South Texas since last week. They united with the Lady Lions team to do ministry, service and outreach in Leakey (LAY-kee), a small community 90 miles northwest of San Antonio.
SAGU will commence their pre-season training camp this afternoon. Their season kicks off on Friday, August 24, with a road match in Oklahoma City against Mid-America Christian University.
The Lions split with the Evangels last fall, losing in OKC in a 3-1 verdict before blanking MACU, 2-0, at the Regionals.
Among a solid core of players who are expected back in purple and gold are senior forward Danny Martinez (Houston, TX / Cypress Creek HS), junior goalie Cesar Galvan (Dallas, TX / Lovejoy HS) and two highly-skilled midfielders in junior Jonathan Ramos (Tegucigalpa, Honduras / Garringer HS (Charlotte, NC)) and sophomore Parker Sturgeon (Bartlesville, TX / Bartlesville HS).
Martinez booted 15 goals and added eight assists as the Lions’ top net threat. He led the Red River Athletic Conference in both goals and total points (38). His 66 shots were also the most in the league, averaging three shots on goal, per contest.
Ramos enjoyed an outstanding season of ball-control and offense, scoring thrice and assisting seven scores, which was fifth best in the RRAC.
The speedy Sturgeon booted four goals and racked up 10 assists, often on corner kicks. His ten helpers ranked second in the Red River and gave SAGU three of the Top 5 in assists.
Sophomores Salvador Avila (Irving, TX / MacArthur HS) and Will Elliott (Mesquite, TX / Cathedral of Life Christian School) had five and four assists, respectively, as the Lions place five players in the league’s top 15.
The colorful Galvan was second in the RRAC in saves per game (5.14). The team’s improvement on defense was a huge reason they progressed, yielding 1.83 goals per game. That allowance was tied for sixth in the 12-team conference.
A small number of veterans were lost. Sam Cabrera (Tampa, FL / Tampa Baptist School), a senior defender, and Robbie DeLeon (Dallas, TX / First Baptist Academy), also a defenseman, left a void for Coach Oancea and new Assistant Coach Alex Vasquez to fill.
SAGU welcomes a very capable cast of newcomers, all with the opportunity to start and contribute, pending their performance in camp. The list is comprised of:
Adrian Ambrosie will be a newbie to watch. He is a forward who hails from Lasi, Romania.
A four-year varsity standout at Red Oak High School, Joel Ramirez, joins the Lions this year. He won numerous honors while playing for head coach Trent Kutch, including First Team All-District, Hawk Midfield Most Valuable Player as well as Hawk Offensive MVP as a senior.
The playmaking forward was on the Andromeda U.S. Development Academy U-18 Boys club.
A teammate from Red Oak, Jonathan Jimenez, a sound defender, has also signed with SAGU. The Red Hawks went 16-3-5 last season.
One of their rivals, Waxahachie’s Nathan Dyke, will hook up with the 'maroon flyers' to play for the Lions. The 5’11 defender scored 10 goals for the Tribe as a senior. Dyke also played for the FC Premier Club.
A new impact player is Oak Cliff’s Lee Kounas, a 5-foot-7 center-midfielder. His skills were honed while suiting up for the FC Dallas U-18 Boys team.
On tap, three early home matches
Southwestern, who have two of their home matches broadcast in high-definition this year, will scrimmage a community school, Hill College (Hillsboro, TX), at home at 5:00pm on August 28.
The Lions will then play two home dates in three days during Labor Day weekend; September 1 against Sterling College (Kansas) and Sept. 3 versus Southwestern Christian University (Ok).