With a record of 5-2-2, ASU’s men’s soccer club made it all the way to the conference championships only to lose on penalty kicks 5-6 to rival UA.
The team played well during the season, playing in a conference that includes tough opponents such as UA, University of Texas at El Paso, NAU and New Mexico Tech.
Second year coach Eisa Shamroukh and the returning players hope to build on a successful season last year, and that journey began Monday night as the club held tryouts for the open roster spots.
“We’re definitely looking forward to this year. We have a lot of new blood coming in, so it is going to be a very big learning process for all of us,” Shamroukh said.
The tryouts were originally scheduled on the intramural fields on the Tempe campus, but unexpected rain and lightning forced the tryouts indoors to the Student Recreation Complex.
Inside the SRC, a large group of club hopefuls awaited their turn. Meanwhile, other players scrimmaged against each other hoping to impress Shamroukh and secure one of the 15 spots available on the squad.
Shamroukh and the team will be holding tryouts for the open spots all week and will have a final roster by Aug. 30.
Shamroukh said he hopes that the system he put in place last year will be easier to teach with the help of the returning players.
“We do have a system that we established last year that everyone is comfortable with, and we are building an identity for this team, because that’s something you need to know,” Shamroukh said.
Returning senior Tyler Gavin, who is also the club president, was proud of the team’s performance last season and said the plan is to get to the regional finals but that it starts with these open tryouts.
“We’re looking for experienced players who can join immediately and understand the system,” Gavin said. “If we can find players that can do that, we hope to be in the finals again.”
One of many hopefuls out Monday night was sophomore Gus Fowler, who said he has been playing soccer since he was 8 years old and heard of the tryouts through friends.
“I love soccer, and we obviously don’t have a Division I team so this is the second best thing,” Fowler said.
Another returning player junior Taylor Loken said he has trained hard this summer to solidify his spot on the team this year and thinks the team will be in the hunt for the finals once again.
“We feel like we’re the top team in the southwest conference,” Loken said. “The regional tournament means the most to us because it gets us to nationals, and that’s where we want to be.”
Shamroukh has a tough challenge ahead as ASU’s men’s soccer club will only have three practices together as a full team before their first game on Sept. 7 on the road in Socorro, N.M., against New Mexico Tech.
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