The Dixie State University men’s soccer team began its 2016 season with two preseason wins against Salt Lake Community College Thursday and Snow College Saturday.
It took extra time, but DSU came from being down 1-0 at the half to beat SLCC 3-2. DSU buried a penalty kick late to seal the deal in the season’s first scrimmages.
The game against Snow College wasn’t so close; DSU won 4-1, never trailed in the game, and had four different players score a goal.
New DSU Head Coach Tim Busen said he was “most impressed” with the competitive attitude and strong character following the first two scrimmages. He said he expects these things to fuel the team deep into the season.
With 10 wins, the DSU men’s soccer team finished with the most wins in team history. It might be easy to expect things to pick up where they left off last season, but Busen does not believe in that. “We don’t care about last year,” Busen said. “Right now, we’re just solely focused in the moment.”
As is the case with any team looking to improve, the off-season is a key component to making the difference in the following year.
“There was a lot of training [this summer],” said freshman midfielder Moises Medina, a general studies major from Mesquite, Nevada. “The practices we’ve had have really helped out. We all got to know each other, and we just want to give it our all on the field.”
With new coaches and players coming in, the off-season and preseason may be just what the team needs to gel in time for the season to officially begin.
“I wasn’t here last season, but from the time that I’ve been here I can tell that this team is very close,” said redshirt freshman Blake Damato, an exercise science major from Las Vegas. “We all love each other, and we’re going to do some big things this year. As long as we go out there and keep playing for each other with no regrets, and we leave it all out on the field, that’s going to make us a special team.”
Both Medina and Damato have observed and felt a real closeness within this team, something that Damato feels will get them “over the top.”
Following the best season in program history, this year’s team will also be returning nearly 20 players from last year’s roster. The potential for the 2016 team is felt even by those outside the DSU mens soccer program.
“I think this is one of the better DSU teams I’ve seen,” SLCC Head Coach Mark David said. “I’ve been coaching against Dixie since 2010, and that’s a very good team. They’re talented on the ball, they’re technically sound, and [Busen] will have them ready to take on the PacWest.”
Busen said the character the team showed, especially in coming from behind against SLCC, is the same character they’ve shown in the off-season and the same character that could carry them into a successful season.
“Our goals are just to do everything the right way every day,” Busen said. “Hopefully, that is going to supply us the best opportunity to meet our potential.”
The DSU men’s soccer team officially opens its season on the road Friday at the Colorado School of Mines.