After nearly missing the play-offs in 2007, the Sam Houston State men’s club soccer team is preparing to make another run for the post-season and hopefully, a shot at the regional tournament this season under new head coach Paul Gathright.
The Bearkats began practice in late August, and already Gathright said the players have set themselves apart from previous seasons with an air of seriousness and commitment toward the game and the team.
“This is a really good group. They are really in shape and everyone has been willing to work hard,” Gathright said. “We’ve been running a lot more than we used to, and the general fitness of the team has been really good.”
On the field, Sam Houston State carries a speedy offense that could provide the boost the Bearkats need to get out of their division and into the regional tournament.
“Our goal is to make the play-offs, and God willing, make it to regionals,” Gathright said. “Our strength is definitely our offense. We have a really quick and strong offense.”
The Bearkats are returning several of their key players from last season, including senior Jon Garcia and juniors David Braun and Rene Quinonez.
Gathright, a Sam Houston State graduate who played for the team from 2001-2006, is entering his first season at the helm of the men’s club soccer program.
The Bearkats are scheduled to open the season this Sunday at home at 3 p.m. against Angelo State on Intramural Field #3.
The team finished last season with a 4-3-1 overall record with a third place finish in the Men’s North division of the Texas Collegiate Soccer League.
The match-up with the Rams on Sunday will be the season and conference opener for both teams.
“The guys are a lot more committed this year. This has been a really good season,” Gathright said. “We just want to encourage everyone to come out and watch the game.”