The 2007 season for the Union University men’s soccer team and second-year head coach Clovis Simas will be filled with challenges. The team lost eight seniors to graduation last year and are only returning four players that started 10 or more matches from a year ago. However, Simas has reloaded the talent pool in hopes of returning his team to the region tournament for the fourth straight season.
The schedule for the Bulldogs in 2007 is one of the toughest in program history. The team plays in the always tough TranSouth Conference with nationally recognized teams like Mid-Continent, Bethel, Martin Methodist and Cumberland. Union also travels to play at defending region champion and NAIA national power, Lindsey Wilson.
Six seniors will be expected to lead this team in search for their first conference title. Three of the seniors return after being named first team All-Conference performers last season. Chris Lean returns as the starting goalie after being named All-Conference, All-Region, and All-American last season. Colin Bonner returns on defense after an All-Conference 2006 season. Benny Crozier, 2006 All-Conference player, returns as Union’s leading scorer with 13 goals and 31 points. Scott Sinclair, Kyle Sanders, and Brendon Kuhlman also return as seniors who will be leading this young squad of 2007.
The junior class is made up of just three players. Wagner Oliveira played in all 16 games last season, along with Matthew Lynn, bring experience to the field. Newcomer Josh Hanna will prove to be a valuable presence offensively on this team.
Union has four sophomores on the squad this year. Marcos Matos, Alessandro Oliveira, and Paul Turner combine for 25 games and three assists from the 2006 season. Newcomer Anthony O’Neal will look to add to the team as a transfer in 2007.
With one of the biggest freshman classes in program history, the 11 first year players on the 2007 team will be asked to perform immediately. The class includes Jamie Ewings, Veiga Guilherme, Tiago Diego, David Romer, Ian Allen, David Wilson, Richard Norman, Jacob Rutledge, Edmundo Novarro, Eric Uwiringiyimana, and Franki Mocellin.
The reserve team for Union has numerous players proving and developing their skills as they work toward becoming a member of the varsity team. Michael Lee, Dustin Colbey, Brian Jones, Hani Nyabam, John Hawley, Alex McCall, Matt Lautensack, Mike Phelan, Kevin Bradley, David Creswell, Jonathan Skagfield, Jared Carpenter, Rafa Rodriguez, Braden Brewer, Ben Stafford, Kevin King, Dennis Regalado, and Jordon Thompson will work hard as they await their opportunity.
This team has several new faces that will join together with the returner players to continue to build on their successes of recent years.