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ABILENE, Texas – The 2012 version of the McMurry University men’s soccer program will look to right the ship after a down season in 2011.

“It’s an exciting time for us,” said head coach Paul Tate, who enters his third season at the helm of the War Hawks. “We have a lot of new guys on the team that can all compete for spots in the starting line-up.”

The War Hawks will lean on a mix of experienced returners as well as upperclassmen transfers that have seen solid playing time in other places.

“The big difference between last year and this season is our experience,” explained Tate, “we have a lot of guys that played a lot of minutes last season, and we have a big roster with around 20 or so upperclassmen. Senior leadership is also going to be a big key for us this year.”

The seniors that Coach Tate will look to lead the team are forward Ryan Prince and defender Tyler Tarango, who have been named as the team captains for the season.

Tarango appeared in 15 games last season while making 13 starts while Prince appeared in 16 of the 17 matches and led the team in assists.

“Those two have been great from the get-go,” said Tate of his captains, “It is really great to have two seniors leaders that push everyone else and lead by example both on and off the field.”

Joining the returning players this season are a handful of transfers, including three players who are coming off a junior college national championship season last year. Goalie Neil O’Sullivan, defender Mike Moon and midfielder James Ness were all starters with Cloud County Community College, which won the National Junior College Athletic Association national championship.

“It was a very successful off-season for us in the recruiting process,” remarked Coach Tate, “We brought in a lot of players that already have experience at the collegiate level, which has made us a deeper team across the board. It also allows us to put an experience team on the field to start the season, which is a luxury we haven’t always had in the past.”

In addition to the above mentioned O’Sullivan, Moon, and Ness – who are all from England – McMurry brings in eight total international players including; Sam Black, Leo Pessanha, Olawole Odesanya, Juan Isacura, and Antoine Freitas, Jr.

“It is nice to have a lot of players on the roster from around the globe,” said Tate. “Not only will it help us on the field, but I think it will also help the McMurry community grow its global footprint as well.”

The War Hawks open the season with two home contests, first against Concordia-Texas on Thursday August 30 at 4 p.m. and then a match against cross-town rival Hardin-Simmons on Friday August 31 at 4:30 p.m.

“We have a pretty tough schedule this season,” remarked Tate, “We have some great teams in our path but we believe that our guys are very prepared. If we stay physically and mentally tough, it will be a very good season for us as a whole.