Entering his second year at the helm, head coach Ben Taylor is optimistic his Iowa Central men's soccer program can make another leap forward this fall.
The Tritons return eight familiar names to their roster, including two starters, from a team that finished 10-8-1 overall and 8-5 in the ICCAC last season. Iowa Central reached the Region XI semifinals in 2011 before being ousted by No. 7 North Iowa Area.
"Our main goal is to try and be better than last season," Taylor said. "This was my first (recruiting) class I brought in, and I definitely feel more comfortable being able to bring in my own guys.
Photo by Paul DeCoursey
Returning players for the Iowa Central men’s soccer team are, left to right: David Nega, Cameron Duckworth, Tim Bouchard, Admir Babic, Daniel Krause, Dylan Busby and Alex Smith. Not pictured: Max Legland.
"We tried to recruit in ways to improve our defense and create more (scoring) opportunities."
First-team all-region performers Cameron Duckworth (FWD) and Max Legland (DEF) are back in the lineup for Iowa Central. Duckworth led the Tritons in points (21), goals (9) and shots on goal (27) as a freshman, while Legland paced the team in assists (7) and was second in points (17) to go along with five scores.
NIACC transfers Ben Hutchings (MID) and Calum Nimmo (DEF) will also be leaned on heavily by Taylor. Hutchings was picked to the top all-region squad for the Trojans a year ago, and Nimmo settled for second-team recognition.
2012 IOWA CENTRAL MEN'S SOCCER
Sophomores - Max Legland, DEF, Vannes, Fr.; Calum Nimmo, DEF, Fleet, Eng. Tim Bouchard, DEF, Cedar Rapids; Ben Hutchings, MID, Yately, Eng.; Cameron Duckworth, MID, Waukee; David Nega, DEF, Cedar Rapids; Daniel Krause, MID, Slater; Admir Babic, MID, Waterloo; Alex Smith, FWD, Decorah, Dylan Busby, DEF, Prairie City; Daniel Fandeh, DEF, Des Moines; James Gabisum, FWD, Jalingo, Nig.
Freshmen - John Byrnes, GK, Omaha, Neb.; Declan Turner, GK, Cambridge, Eng.; Fernando Cortes, GK, West Palm Beach, Fla.; Jordan Sibenaller, GK, Carroll; Brian Otradovec, DEF, Springfield, Mo.; Bahradin Abdic, DEF, Waterloo; Jaxn Rogers, DEF, Willard, Mo.; Juan Espinal, FWD, Muscatine; Andres Parada, MID, Delray Beach, Fla.; Ryan Hall, DEF, Tiffin; James Brewer, FWD, Katy, Tex.; Desner Calixte, MID, Delray Beach, Fla.; Conor McKenna, MID, Ashford, Ire.; Abelson Estimable, FWD, Delray Beach, Fla.; Curtis McHenry, MID, Republic, Mo.; Evans Francis, MID, Lincoln, Neb.; Christopher Williams, MID, Danville; Antonio Kuykendall, MID, Waterloo; Mario Franco, DEF, Muscatine; Fransisko Alhag, FWD, Eagle Lake, Minn.; Jared Lamertz, MID, Carroll; Gregorio Mondragon, FWD, Woodward; Jamal Lakis, MID, Minneapolis, Minn.; Jairo Ocampo-Gonzalez, FWD, Rembrandt; Milton Hopwood, FWD, Milwaukee, Wis.; Anthony Ratliff, MID, Milwaukee, Wis.; Tyler Whitfield, DEF, Remsen.
30 - at Dakota County, 8 p.m.
Sept. 1 - at Lewis & Clarke, 8:30 a.m.; Sept 2 - at College of Lake County, 12:30 p.m.; 5 - Indian Hills, 2 p.m.; 8 - Dakota County, 2 p.m.; 12 - Eastern Iowa, 4 p.m.; 15 - Iowa Lakes, 2 p.m. 19 - at NIACC, 4 p.m.; 22 - Marshalltown, 1 p.m.; 25 - Iowa Western, 2 p.m.; 29 - at Indian Hills, 4 p.m.; 30 - at Eastern Iowa, 2 p.m.;
Oct. 9 - at Iowa Lakes, 4 p.m.; 13 - NIACC, 4 p.m.; 17 - at Marshalltown, 4 p.m.; 20 - at Iowa Western, noon; 23 - Regionals.
"We just weren't good enough defensively last year," said Taylor. "Whether it be on corners or free kicks, we conceded far too many goals, which were just too cheap to give away."
Other veterans looking to play key roles include Tim Bouchard (DEF), David Nega (DEF), Daniel Krause (MID), Admir Babic (MID), Alex Smith (FWD) and Dylan Busby (DEF).
"We've been working hard since practice started on Aug. 4, and our returners as well as our freshmen know what to expect now," Taylor said. "I feel like we're definitely more talented than last year both offensively and defensively. We hope to be a force to reckon with."
Defending regional champion and seventh-ranked Iowa Western and No. 13 NIACC look to be the league frontrunners, according to Taylor.
Assisting Taylor are Jared Beauchamp and Pablo Rodriguez.
Iowa Central welcomed Anoka-Ramsey (Minn.) for its season debut. The Tritons open ICCAC action Sept. 5 when they host Indian Hills.