The men’s soccer team kicked off their annual Media Day at the Varsity Practice field Tuesday afternoon, an official step toward the beginning of the soccer season.
Right from the get go in his opening remarks, head coach Sasho Cirovski made it clear that despite the loss of seven starters for the Terps, the team was still aiming high in 2011: they are looking for an ACC title and a national championship.
The Terps’ actions echo those goals.
“The team came in in unbelievable shape, I’m very proud of them,” Cirovski said. “There was terrific commitment from the entire group over the whole summer. You can see this is a highly motivated group, a very hungry group.
For his 2011 squad, Cirovski feels they can be just as competitive as last season’s team. He speculated The backline would be just fine with the return of starters Alex Lee and Taylor Kemp as well as major contributor London Woodberry.
Cirovski said the Terps possess the most depth at the midfield, yet he knows where the Terps’ strength will lie – at the forward position, manned by All-ACC first team selection Casey Townsend and 2010 ACC Rookie of the Year Patrick Mullins. The two look to make one of the best scoring combinations in the country. Cirovski said Mullins is in much better physical shape this year, enabling him to play more minutes.
Eventually, the question on everyone’s mind came up: what about the goalkeeper?
Cirvoski admitted that keeper was a position of slight concern, having to replace All-World Zac MacMath and now being left with two freshman goalies backing up a redshirt senior. The one person who seems unconcerned about the switch is Will Swaim, the new starting keeper.
“I feel comfortable with it, because I know that even after I leave, the goalkeeping situation is going to be in good hands,” he said. “The incoming group, Keith [Cardona] and Jordan [Tatum], are both outstanding goalkeepers.”
Swaim, who hails from Ellicott City, Md., was actually a starter for Maryland before MacMath came to campus.
Another topic that came up was the expectations placed on the team, especially the #4 preseason ranked bestowed upon them by the National College Soccer Association of America, which could create further pressure on a team that has lost so much.
“I think that is going to be one of our challenges, to not worry about the ranking and just go in and play our game,” said Kaoru Forbess, a senior midfielder for the Terps.
Forbess also spoke on the team’s chemistry in breaking in the freshman. According to the Texas native, there had been problems in the past finding a balance with the new recruits, but with this bunch they already are “a lot closer.”
All in all every member of the men’s team, from the head coach to the freshman, know the standards that come with representing the University of Maryland.
“Last year we got to the quarterfinals and it felt like a disappointment. Unfortunately that’s the standard we set for ourselves, “said Cirvoski, “But yet I think our fans, myself and the players had a pretty empty feeling. We are not afraid of the challenge that we set for ourselves.”
For Terps fans, it’s a challenge they look forward to seeing the team meet.
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