Men's 2011 Soccer Debut
SAGU hosts to Wayland Baptist on Saturday
Projected Line-Up is Announced
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s soccer team will kickoff the 2011 season on Saturday by playing a team they have never met. The Lions will host Wayland Baptist University at 1:00pm.
The Pioneers campus is in Plainview, just forty miles north of Lubbock. WBU, 3-13 last year, are starting just their fourth season.
The game will take place on Southwestern Field, which is located on the SAGU campus. The game is free and the public is welcome.
SAGU, 6-12 last year, will be suiting up in their pinstriped, home white uniforms for new head coach Gerald Nichols. A veteran sideline general, Nichols has been working to get to know the team he inherited from former coach Aaron DeLoach, who is now an assistant for Palm Beach Atlantic University (NCAA Division II).
Coach Nichols plans to use a 4-4-2 formation in front of sophomore goalkeeper Cesar Galvan (Dallas, Tx / Lovejoy HS). He described the returning core and a solid recruiting class as being “technically skilled while learning to work together, tactically.” It is believed the Lions will employ a possession game while trying to take advantage of their speed-infused offensive players.
Based on recent practices, the projected line-up includes a four-man defensive wall. The leader of the unit is 6-foot-2, senior captain Sam Cabrera (Tampa, Fla / Tampa Baptist School). He will be joined as a Center Defender by fellow senior, David A. Flores (San Migel, El Salvador / R.L. Turner HS). Wing Defenders are Riffin Kajangu (Congo / UNC Greensboro) and Robbie DeLeon (Dallas, Tx / First Baptist Academy).
Assigned with maintaining control of the pivotal center area of the field are four catalysts. Holding Back Alex Vazquez (Waxahachie, Tx / Midwestern State), whose role is like a midfield sweeper, is a senior with great vision. Wing Midfielders are James Swearingen (Arlington, Tx / Home School), and Parker Sturgeon (Bartlesville, Ok / Bartlesville HS). Will Elliot (Mesquite, Tx / Cathedral of Life), a high-energy freshman, is the attacking Center Midfielder.
Swearingen tied for the team lead in goals (six) with Joe Ballah (Monrovia, Liberia / Independence HS) during the 2010 campaign. During one of the Lions pre-season exhibition games, Elliot scored twice.
The frontline strikers are Danny Martinez (Houston, Tx / Cypress Creek HS), a talented junior, and Jonathon Ramos (Tegucigalpa, Honduras / Garringer HS), a sophomore. Ramos nearly scored a hat trick (three goals) this week in a scrimmage against Western Texas College. Known for his curly-top, the likeable Ramos goes by the “Colocho” moniker.
SAGU’s line-up could be aided by a pair of players awaiting clearance after joining the team.
Several players drew praise from Coach Nichols for their performance during training camp. Martinez was cited for his “impressive” overall game. “Riffin (Kajangu) is lightning fast down the sideline,” the coach said. Like Martinez, both were mentioned for their excellent ball skills.
He also pointed out the efforts of Sturgeon, for his “high work rate,” Ramos – for his “quiet but fearless” work ethic, and Sam Mills (Janesville, Wisc / Mills Family Christian Academy). “His positive energy is palpable,” the coach said.
Nichols, who came to Texas after a successful tenure at Indiana’s Oakland City University, complimented the leadership core of Cabrera, Flores, Swearingen and Martinez. “These guys are spiritual instigators,” he said.
The Lions are also on the home pitch in their second game, Wednesday, August 24, at 1pm. They meet Mid-America Christian University, whom they split with last year. The Evangels posted a 7-10-2 record in 2010.