Team has high hopes for midseason tryouts

By By Joseph Simmons

By Joseph Simmons

Coming into its fall season, the U’s men’s soccer team is more organized than ever and looking to make 2009 its most successful year to date.

The team will be bringing back some of its top talent from last year but is also getting attention for holding tryouts during the season to add to the depth and skill of its 2009-2010 roster.

Now in his second year working with the program, head coach Gilbert Gaertner II is taking advantage of the rising interest in the team. Gaertner said he receives about 70 to 80 e-mails a week from players interested in playing for the U, which led him to introduce midseason tryouts to look at possible additions for the team.

The first tryout was Saturday, and from what he’s seen so far, Gaertner said he feels the overall talent on the team and trying out for the team is excellent.

“We have players on the team that are the same caliber that you will find on any NCAA team, and we are seeing that skill level from some players at our tryouts,” Gaertner said.

As a club sport, the team plays on two fronts. First, against mostly local teams from the Intermountain Collegiate Soccer Association, and then also in Region VI of the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association.

The 2008 season saw the team struggle early with injuries, finishing seventh in its league8212;the Utah Soccer Association Premiership League8212;but then regrouping to finish strong, coming in third overall in the west region at the NIRSA tournament.

For 2009, Gaertner said he thinks the team has the talent to make a statement in its local play, and more importantly, on a national level at the NIRSA tournament.

“This year we believe we have the potential to finish first in the region,” Gaertner said.

The 2009 season began with two games against Westminster on Aug. 29 and Sept. 5, which resulted in a 1-0 loss and a 1-1 tie, respectively.

The next game will be at home Sept. 19 against Southern Utah University. All home games are played at Stillwell Field located at Fort Douglas on the corner of Chase and Porter Street.

Anyone interested in learning more about the team or finding future tryout information can visit www.uofusoccer.com.