MSU Denver men’s soccer started its preseason at Auraria Fields with a 2-0 loss to Otero Junior College Aug. 17. The Roadrunners made some adjustments to their game and redeemed themselves the next day with a 7-0 win over Northeastern Junior College.
“Preseason is not results oriented, it is about seeing what the players’ strengths and weaknesses are, and a chance to see what the chemistry of the team looks like,” MSU Denver head coach Ken Parsons said.
Parsons is looking beyond the Jekyll and Hyde team he saw in the first two exhibition games – now he knows what he has to work with.
Roadrunner team captain Andrew Majia agreed that preseason is the time for working out the kinks.
“I think what happened Friday was that we haven’t had much time to work together as a team, and we didn’t show enough effort,” Majia said. “I think we have a good team with a lot of young talent and I think other teams are not going to know what to expect.”
The ‘Runners had a successful 2011 season with a 14-7-1 record overall, and were 10-4-0 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, taking the team to its fifth NCAA tournament appearance. But, this is a new season with new players.
“Our goal is to play well for 90 minutes week in, week out, which should put us in a good place in the conference and a good place in the NCAA,” Parsons said.
Parsons’ 2012 team signed nine new players – seven of them freshman, all of whom are expected to contribute this season.
“When I bring these players in, they are ready to play, and don’t need a lot of development,” Parsons said. “They mostly need to adjust to coming from youth clubs or high school teams to a college level of play.”
Freshman Danny Arrubla, Arizona Player of the Year, has high expectations for himself this season and is ready to meet the challenge of contributing to the team this year.
“I know I need to come in and work hard and show the coaches that I can contribute to the team,” Arrubla said. “I came in with the attitude of a fresh start. Old accolades for high school don’t mean much now because everyone on the team has had those same accolades.”
In eight seasons as Roadrunners head coach, Parsons has led his team to four NCAA tournament berths and eight RMAC appearances. With a record 106-48-17, Parsons carries the highest winning percentage in MSU Denver history. So Parsons knows a thing or two about winning and has confidence that this team has what it takes.
“With players like Mark Herschberger and Andrew Mejia, I think they carry on the culture of the program and they set a high standard for new players,” Parsons said. “We have 17 goals to make up this year, losing Scott Grode, and I think we can get those goals from a lot of different players.”