Riverland soccer team has high numbers

Published 8:26pm Tuesday, August 23, 2011

AUSTIN — As the Riverland men’s soccer program enters its third year, it’s numbers and hopes are as high as they’ve ever been.

While the Blue Devils used to have trouble just to field a team, they’ll have to decide who’s starting on the team this year as numbers have risen to an all-time high.

“It’s unbelievable. In the past, my problem was am I going to have a team?” RCC head coach Soner Dogan said. “Now my problem is who’s going to play at what position and that’s nice, sweet stress. It’s a great feeling. We will have a much better team. We have more numbers, and there will be more competition for each spot. That will increase the quality.”

RCC brings back key returnees Nick Kerling, Nate Trimble and Rome Peralta-Bartolo and it also has a strong core of newcomers from Austin High School’s soccer team. The team will feature former Packers Rolando Rubio, Dante Ortiz and Pedro Herrera — who all played significantly on the Austin team that went to state two years ago.

Fernando Garcia and Joe Montes also come to the team from Austin.

“One advantage is we have a lot of good guys from Austin High School and they all played together,” Dogan said. “They know each other and that’s going to help us. These guys love soccer and I’ve known them for awhile.”

Dogan expects his team to be competitive in most matches this season, but he also hopes this is just the tip of the iceberg.

“This is still the beginning. I was proud of my players from the past years and this year is good, hopefully next year will be better,” Dogan said. “Eventually we want it to be where we are either winning or almost winning every game.”

While Dogan wants his players to focus on their studies before soccer, he did mention that a few of his players have chances at earning soccer scholarships from four-year schools.
RCC opens its season against Hibbing at the Wescott Athletic Complex Friday at 6 p.m.