Last season’s Crowder Roughriders definitely raised the bar for the men’s soccer program, breaking almost every school record both individually and collectively, finishing 15-4 overall and second place in Region 16, and coming in at No. 20 in NJCAA Division I in the national rankings of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

Last season’s Crowder Roughriders definitely raised the bar for the men’s soccer program, breaking almost every school record both individually and collectively, finishing 15-4 overall and second place in Region 16, and coming in at No. 20 in NJCAA Division I in the national rankings of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Additionally, sophomore forward Marlon Freitas earned the program’s first All-American honors.
That will be a tough act to follow this season, but the ‘Riders and their veteran head coach Brad Smith will try and do just that beginning officially Thursday against Eastern Oklahoma.
Smith focused on competition during his interview.
“We think we have people sorted out into positions that they will be playing,” he said, “but competition is intense and things are still in a state of flux. Probably too early to tell what the strengths are, but I think we have tremendous depth and will have real competition in practice. Offseason workouts were muddled due to some discipline issues last spring. Our preseason workouts have been excellent. We have been very impressed with Phillips Gomez, Guillaume Rouzic, and Winder Pessoa in particular.”
Returning sophomores Daniel Ost, Eloi Bassene, Leo Mueller, Humberto Cruz, Andrew Browning, Paulo Da Silva, Enrique Guadaramma, and Joe Mbaye are joined by 28 new players, with this season’s Crowder team featuring more nationalities than ever before.
“The real key to the season will probably be whether we can become a true team or not,” Smith said. “With players from so many countries and cultures it can be difficult to assimilate everyone.”
Cruz and Ost are returning all-Region selections, the former the record holder for assists in a single season and the latter the goalkeeper who helped Crowder outscore its opponents 3:1 last season.
The ‘Riders, obviously, do not return Freitas, who demolished just about every offensive record, both single-season and career, during his two seasons with Crowder.
During its first four preseason scrimmages, Crowder scored 21 goals, highlighted by nine goals against Oklahoma Wesleyan.
“I believe we have players that will add offensive punch,” Smith said. “I would be surprised if we have someone that will score 27 goals.”
The NJCAA released its preseason rankings and the ‘Riders were nowhere to be found.
Not among the top 20, where Region 16 foe St. Louis — who handed Crowder half of its four losses, including a 3-1 final in the Region 16 title match — comes in at No. 12.
Not among the schools receiving votes, which include ASA New York, Barton, Broward, Frederick, Georgia Military, Hill, Illinois Central, Iowa Lakes, Johnson County, Louisburg, Massasoit, Mercer County, Mississippi Gulf Coast, Rowan Burlington, Schoolcraft, Snow, and Spartanburg Methodist.
“Our real goal is to get better every day,” Smith said. “Of course, we would like to win the region and qualify for nationals.”
Crowder’s quest begins in only a couple days … and the ‘Riders play their home opener Saturday against Rose State.

2017 CROWDER SOCCER
Roster No.     Player     Pos.    Class
0    Alejandro Garcia    GK    Fr
1    Daniel Ost    GK    So
2    Tyrique Lake    D    Fr
3    Jakob Struemer    D    Fr
4    Enrique Galdaramma D    So
5    Gabriel Rocha    M    Fr
6    Paulo DaSilva    D    So
7    Maxi Mirabel    D    Fr
8    Leo Mueller    M    So
9    Casey Faulkner    M    Fr
10    Joe Mbaye    M    So
11    Winder Pessoa    M    Fr
12    Guillaume Rouzic    F    Fr
13    Luis Otavio    D    Fr
14    Eloi Bassene    D    So
15    David Portilla    D    Fr
16    Musa Kamara    F    Fr
17    Humberto Cruz    M    So
18    Andrew Browning M    So
19    Cesar Somoza    D    Fr
20    Toby Sylvester    F    Fr
21    Dani Perez    F    Fr
22    Victor Meneses    M    Fr
23    Lucas Melli    D    Fr
24    Lexi Hoojidonk    M    Fr
25    Braulio Campos    M    Fr
26    Phillips Gomez    F    Fr
28    Francisco Reyes    M    Fr
29    Martin Webb    M    Fr
30    Agusto Prado    D    Fr
Head coach: Brad Smith
Assistants: Gary Worth, Joel Barroso

Schedule
Aug. 24 — at Eastern Oklahoma
Aug. 26 — vs. Rose State
Aug. 29 — at Coffeyville
Sept. 2 — vs. St. Charles
Sept. 5 — vs. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M
Sept. 8 — vs. East Central
Sept. 12 — vs. Neosho County
Sept. 16 — at St. Louis
Sept. 19 — vs. Cowley County
Sept. 23 — at State Fair
Sept. 30 — at MCC-Blue River
Oct. 3 — at Drury JV
Oct. 8 — vs. Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa
Oct. 11 — at MCC-Maple Woods
Oct. 14 — at Allen County