SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Training camp
opened for Santa Clara University's men's soccer team this week on
the Mission Campus. In search of their 19th NCAA College
Cup tournament appearance, the Broncos are preparing for their
season-opener, a neutral site match with the University of
Wisconsin on September 4 in Irvine.
There is no doubt the Broncos have talent. SCU's roster includes four all-league players from a year ago and five of their incoming freshmen are products of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy's system.
"Our approach right now is very hands on," said SCU head coach Cameron Rast, three-time West Coast Conference Coach of the Year. "Our staff and the older players will help the young guys learn and get up to speed. When these guys put the team first and they are supportive of their teammates and each other that's when you can have real success as a program. We have already seen that with this group. The focus is definitely there."
Rast has named junior defender Mykell Bates (pictured) a team captain and expects to add one or two more players as co-captains as the camp progresses. The team is scheduled to practice twice daily, with morning and afternoon training sessions held on SCU's Stanton Field.
"We've already seen the emergence of leaders who care about our success as a team, and program," said Rast. "That's making a world of difference in the direction we are headed right now."
The Broncos are looking to return to the NCAA tournament after a two-year postseason hiatus and improve on its 4-5-3 conference record last fall. SCU will have to navigate through a tough 2010 schedule. Six of its 13 opponents qualified for postseason play last season.
Santa Clara's first four games will be played away from home before the team hosts Bay Area rival California on Thursday, September 16.
"This team is going to battle hard for each other, "said Rast. "Every single moment of those 90-minute games you are going to know they are committed. If nothing else, that part you can get behind and support."