Look Ahead: Memphis Tiger Soccer Spring Prospectus
March 2, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis men's soccer team has geared up for another exciting spring soccer season, which will feature five home matches for the Tigers and one trip to train and play against an MLS squad.
The spring schedule got underway, Friday, with a 5-0 drubbing of Christian Brothers University, Friday, in the annual Tim McCage Cup. Five different Tigers (Mark Sherrod, Andreas Guentner, Dennis Kennetz Jr., Liam Collins and Cody McCoy) got on the board for head coach Richie Grant's squad, which started five freshmen against the Bucs.
Freshman keeper Martin Hunter earned the shut-out for the Tigers.
The spring schedule will be a good time for the Tigers to get serious practice experience, particular between the posts. Hunter and sophomore Jordan Leedle shared time last season, with neither emerging as the everyday stopper. Grant hopes to have one take control of the job during spring season.
Graduating senior Rory O'Connor has continued to train with the Tigers, and is leading a backline that solidified itself as the season went on. Sophomore Jordan Johnson and freshman Maxim Van Dyck hold down the outside defending positions, while Kennetz and sophomore JJ Greer, who was C-USA's "Defender of the Week" for the final week of the 2010 season after moving from forward to defender, will get early reps in front of the keeper.
A log jam at midfield has Coach Grant experimenting with new ways to get a trio of talented midfielders in Collins, Guentner and McCoy on the pitch at the same time.
Memphis' spring will continue in a warmer locale when they travel to Frisco, Texas to take play and train with FC Dallas, last season's MLS Cup runner-up. This will be the seventh time in eight years the Tigers will travel to Texas and train with the MLS squad.
The Tigers will host their annual "Kicks for a Cause" match with Coach Grant's former club team, Colaiste Ide, March 25 at 7 p.m. at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex. Tickets are two dollars with all proceeds going to this year's benefactor, LeBonheur Children's Hospital. Last year, a Memphis soccer record was set when 1,584 fans attended the "Kicks for a Cause" match, when the profits went to earthquake relief in Haiti.
Memphis will host two C-USA foes in the beginning of April, facing off with Kentucky on April 2 at South Campus and the annual "Rack of Ribs" Challenge against UAB, April 9. Both squads were Conference USA Tournament qualifiers in 2010.
The Tigers, who were 5-11-1 in 2010, defeated UAB in Fox Soccer Channel's "Game of the Week" to close out the 2010 season, after earning a 1-1 draw to Kentucky, in Lexington, on Oct. 17.
For the Tigers, they will compete this spring with 17 players before welcoming a deep, talented recruiting class to Memphis next fall. Those already signed to become Tigers are Chandler Gagnon and Paul Banks, two of the top players in the south and Memphis natives, as well as keepers Matt Derrington and Cody Uzcategui. Scott Elliott is a product of the same Broken Arrow, Okla., program as current Tiger Thomas Shannon. Wil Linder and Tyler Rist will also contribute to next fall's squad.
Check back with gotigersgo.com for updates and be sure to follow Memphis soccer on Twitter (UMTigerSoccer) and Facebook (Official Memphis Tiger Soccer page).