by Alan Hoskins
Kansas City Kansas Community College will kick off the 2014 soccer season Thursday short on experience but long on numbers, versatility and optimism.
“We may be young on paper but I think we will be a team that will play at a higher level than our age may suggest,” said first-year assistant coach Burke Slusher.
Without a returning letterman, third-year head coach Ruben Rodriguez and Slusher will rebuild the Blue Devil men’s fortunes around the biggest recruiting class ever – 22 freshmen and two sophomores.
“As a whole, this is a pretty skillful group that can make up for a lack of experience by taking care of the ball,” Slusher said. “We’re solid at midfield and fast and with age comes additional speed and strength. We hope to make teams chase us.”
While in his first year at KCKCC, Slusher is certainly not without teaching experience. An assistant at William Jewell last year, he’s also coached the Kansas City Brass in the Premier Development League for the past 12 years.
Jayhawk Conference rival Coffeyville will be the foe in the 2014 home opening Thursday, Sept. 4. The women’s opener will kick off at 5 p.m. with the men to follow at 7 p.m. in just the second year of play on KCKCC’s new soccer field.
With a wealth of candidates, there’s competition at every starting position beginning with goal keeper where Javier DeLara of Harmon and Sean McCulloch of Park Hill South are waging a fierce battle for the opener..
Defensively, the Blue Devils are expected to build around freshmen Kelvin Ibarra of Cristo Rey, Great Ubochi of Ocoee, Fla., and Colin Dujakovich of Shawnee Mission North with Dylan Stroud of Shawnee Mission North, Lucas Franco of Bishop Miege and Jorge Ambriz of Dodge City all in the mix for starting positions. Other hopefuls include Nicholas Marquez of Bishop Miege, Joseph Gomez of Washington and Robert Glenn III of Bonner Springs.
Marcos Alejandro of Turner heads a deep midfield corps that also includes Isaias DeLaTorre and Juan Negrete of Dodge City, Chue Yang of Turner, Rony Naz Tum of Guymon, Okla.; and two players from England, Harry Williams of Derbyshire and Jahren Barrow of Nottingham. Other possibilities include Robert Gurrola of Schlagle, Quinton Schneck of Bonner Springs, Gustavo Siguad of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Carlos Wilches of Baristan, Venezuela.
“We’re strong at midfield where we hopefully can control the game,” Slusher noted.
Isai Gutierrez of Liberal and Mario Lopez of Dodge City are the forwards and could be used in tandem although some midfielders will be used as attackers.
“We could play from one to three forwards depending on the competition we’re playing,” Slusher said. “We’re lucky we have a very versatile group that can adjust to the competition we’re up against.”
Just five of KCKCC’s 11 contests are at home not counting playing in the Thunder Duck Tournament in Dallas, Texas, Oct. 3-4. In addition to Coffeyville Sept, 4, the Blue Devils will play host to Wentworth Military Academy Oct. 16, Neosho County Sept. 23, Cowley Sept. 30 and Pratt Oct. 17. All are evening contests.
Alan Hoskins is the sports information director at KCKCC.
2014 KCKCC Men’s Soccer schedule
Sept. 4 – COFFEYVILLE*, Home, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 – Barton County*, Away, 4 p.m.
Sept. 11 – Blue River, Away, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 16 – WENTWORTH MILITARY ACADEMY, Home, 8 p.m.
Sept. 19 – Cloud County*, Away, 4 p.m.
Sept. 23 – NEOSHO COUNTY*, Home, 8 p.m.
Sept. 26 – Blue River, away, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 – COWLEY*, Home, 8 p.m.
Oct. 3-5 – Thunder Duck Tournament, Dallas, Texas
Oct. 7 – Allen County*, Away, 4 p.m..
Oct. 14 – Johnson County*, Away, 3 p.m.
Oct. 17 – PRATT*, Home, 7 p.m.
Oct. 22 – Dodge City*, Away, TBA
2014 KCKCC Men’s Soccer roster
No. Ht. Yr. Pos. Hometown (High School)
0 Javier DeLara 5-11 Fr. K Kansas City, Kan. (Harmon)
1 Sean McCulloch 6-3 Fr. K Kansas City, Kan. (Park Hill South)
2 Colin Dujakovich 5-10 Fr. Def. Shawnee, Kan. (Shawnee Mission North)
3 Nicolas Marquez 5-11 Fr. Def. Overland Park, Kan. (Bishop Miege)
5 Jahren Barrow 6-3 Fr. Def. Nottingham, England (Emanuel)
6 Lucas Franco 5-9 Fr. MF Kansas City, Kan. (Bishop Miege)
7 Harry Williams 6-1 Fr. MF Derbyshire, England (Tibshelf)
8 Marcos Alejandro 6-1 So. MF Kansas City, Kan. (Turner)
9 Kelvin Ibarra 5-9 Fr. MF Kansas City, Kan. (Cristo Rey)
10 Isai Gutierrez 5-9 Fr. Fwd. Liberal, Kan. (21st Century Academy)
11 Mario Lopez 5-10 Fr. Fwd. Dodge City, Kan. (Dodge City)
13 Gustavo Sigaud 5-8 Fr. MF Sao Paulo, Brazil
14 Chue Yang 5-8 So. MF Kansas City, Kan. (Turner)
15 Joseph Gomez 5-5 Fr. Def. Kansas City, Kan. (Washington)
16 Jorge Ambriz 5-8 Fr. Def. Dodge City, Kan. (Dodge City)
17 Isaias DeLaTorre 6-3 Fr. MF Dodge City, Kan. (Dodge City)
18 Great Ubochi 6-3 Fr. Def. Ocoee, Fla. (Ocoee)
19 Roberto Gurrola 5-7 Fr. MF Kansas City, Kan. (Schlagle)
20 Juan Negrete 6-2 Fr. Def. Dodge City, Kan. (Dodge City)
22 Quinton Schneck 5-6 Fr. MF Bonner Springs, Kan. (Bonner Springs)
23 Carlos Wilches 5-9 Fr. MF Barinas, Venezuela (Cologio Don Bosco)
24 Robert Glenn III 6-2 Fr. Def. Bonner Springs, Kan. (Bonner Springs)
25 Rony Naz Tum 5-7 Fr. MF Guymon, Okla. (Guymon)
26 Dylan Stroud 5-10 Fr. Def. Overland Park, Kan. (Shanee Mission North)
Head coach – Ruben Rodriguez (third season)
Assistant coach – Burke Slusher (first season)