Butte College Men’s Soccer
By: Rafael A. Sevilla
Coming off its inaugural 2008 season that saw the Butte College men’s soccer team capture the Golden Valley Conference championship and its first ever post season berth, the Roadrunner soccer team looks to build on its first year success as they head into 2009. The inaugural 2008 season saw the team finish with 9-7-3 record and a 4-0-2 record in conference play, surprising many in the region, considering the team only had six home matches and played top Junior College teams in the North State. Among those a game that saw the team go toe to toe with perennial powerhouse Santa Rosa, only to fall 1-0 in the final seconds of the game. The Roadrunners managed to play their 3 team Golden Valley Conference to perfection and secure the first conference title in men’s soccer in the history of Butte College. Five 1st team Golden Valley All- Conference players wore a Butte College jersey.
Looking into 2009, second year Coach Larry Nees looks to continue building his program, made up mostly of area talent and expects his tryouts to include 50 players trying to make a 30 man roster. A majority of players that made up 2008’s squad were freshman, which sees most of the same group returning this fall, all vying for a spot on the 2009 roster. Coach Nees believes that the squad he sees in his spring conditioning class is top to bottom better than last year’s team, with returning key players Ryan Burkett, Jake Ward, Carlos Evans-Berlanga and Abe Mosher, as well as a majority of reserve players and two redshirts. Coach Nees emphasizes the importance of his team building an identity for itself early as well as setting goals for themselves and believes his men has every opportunity to be a factor in the state play-off picture year in and year out and put itself at the top of the junior college soccer ranks.
2009 looks to be the perfect year for the Roadrunners to defend their GVC title as the Golden Valley conference looks to add College of the Redwoods and Lassen to a conference that includes Butte, Feather River and Shasta making the now five team conference a lot more competitive. This season also sees the California Community College Athletic Association reduce the number of games from 24 to 21 to reduce costs due to the recent economic downturn in the state and country. Coach Nees has already scheduled 17 games for next season, including some of the same strong opponents from last year looking to put his team against top level competition, as he did in 2008.
A strong core of returning local players, an expanded conference and a tough schedule heading into the 2009 season looks like the perfect formula for Coach Larry Nees to continue to shape his young program into the top program he envisions. Look for the Roadrunners men to instill their coach’s philosophy a lot more on the pitch in 2009 and continue to turn heads in their direction as they look to make a mark on the California Junior College soccer scene.
ROADRUNNERS LOOK TO BUILD FROM INAUGURAL SEASON
After what we considered a successful opening season, the bar has been raised. As a Program we underwent the trials and tribulations that go along with being in our first year. We withstood the unbalanced number of road games, learned what JC soccer is all about and were able to gauge where we are as a Program. With a solid returning corps of players that put in a tremendous amount of work in the off-season, we have the nucleus to be a good team. We have added an energetic and talented group of newcomers that have blended well and will have an immediate impact.
This year, our conference became stronger as College of the Redwoods added men’s soccer. Both Feather River and Shasta look to be improved. A solid four team conference will benefit us in the future.
Early home match ups against Monterey and Modesto will be good tests to start.
Away matches against Modesto and Victor Valley set us up for a pair of home matches in mid September against Redwoods and Evergreen College Before we embark on our conference schedule.
Our goals are high. Come out and support these young men who are working so hard to meet these goals.