Men's Soccer Reports To Camp
Aug. 14, 2009
SEATTLE - The Washington men's soccer team will gather this weekend for fall practice to kick off the 2009 campaign looking to bounce back and return to the NCAA Tournament after a one-year hiatus.
The team reports to Seattle on Friday when they will get physicals, receive their equipment and - for the freshman - enter the dorms before a team dinner and meeting that evening. The team will then hit the practice field on Saturday with just four days of training before their first exhibition on Aug. 19 at Husky Soccer Field against the Seattle Wolves.
Head coach Dean Wurzberger, who is entering his 17th season as the Husky leader, thinks he has all the pieces of the puzzle to make another deep NCAA Tournament run.
'We have a large amount of returning players this fall (21 of 24) so I should expect some continuity from out team in terms of knowledge and understanding of basic attacking and defending tactics,' Wurzberger said. 'The pre-season training camp is the coach's opportunity to blend a new team and help for the basis of success for the season. We are excited about the three new players joining our team so finding out where they can fit into our 2009 team will be fun.'
With eight starters returning, it may be tough for those newcomers to break into the starting lineup. The Husky backline appears to be a strength, with two goalkeepers returning who split time in 2008 - Rylan Hawkins and Stephen Fung - along with All-Conference defenders Taylor Hoss and Taylor Mueller.
The Huskies also figure to keep the pressure on with their offense as Brent Richards, the team's leading goal-scorer as a freshman, returns along with Dylan Tucker-Gangnes, who tied for the team lead in assists in his rookie campaign.
'Rylan has all the physical tools, skills and experience to have a break-out season for us,' Wurzberger said of the senior who has been riddled with injuries throughout his career. 'Taylor Hoss will also be a key player for us this season. We need him to direct our team on the field and show the same consistency that has made him so important to our team the past three seasons. And we expect Brent Richards and Casey Cunningham to be a real double threat to the opponent's defense.'
The Huskies have advanced to the NCAAs 12 times in Wurzberger's 16 seasons and are anxious to get back after missing out in 2008. They start their mission with two exhibitions at home, Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 25 at 4 p.m., before the regular season kicks off Sept. 1 when UW makes the short trip to Seattle U. for a 3:30 p.m. intra-city battle. The Huskies play their first regular-season home game on Sept. 17 against Portland at 7 p.m.
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