It is official, summer is ending and fall rapidly approaches. The semester has begun here at UNCG and with it, another season starts for the Men’s Spartan Soccer Team. With a season of glory in the dust behind them, the defending Southern Conference Regular Season Champions look to hold the throne as they enter the 2016-2017 season. Fortunately for the Spartans, a roster of familiar faces have returned to battle, waiting to bleed blue and gold on the field for us once again.
Standout players on both sides of the ball have returned to Greensboro with hopes to continue their dominance as eight UNCG starters have returned to begin another season. Among those returning is the league’s reigning “Freshman of the Year”, Leeroy Maguraushe, UNCG’s leading returning scorer. Leeroy was a flat out stud for the Spartans last season, accounting for eight goals and two assists on the year and was named to the SoCon All Conference Team. He seeks to build on his accomplishments as a sophomore this season alongside returning Head Coach, Justin Maullin and company.
Another Spartan to keep an eye on this season is returning Sophomore Jon Milligan. As a freshman, this South Carolina native went unbeaten, posting an eye opening 64 goals against average through his ten games played. He finished his freshman career with six wins, four ties, and no losses while also boasting four shutouts on the year.
While the Spartans have many talented returning athletes anchoring them in a position for success, they also have many fresh faces that have yet to prove their worth. Seven freshman have been recruited onto the Spartan roster and it is up to the Justin Maullin coaching staff to develop these young men into Spartans. This could come down to the ability of his newly appointed Assistant Coaches, Jeff Bateson and Mike DeMara, as well as new Volunteer Goalkeeping Coach Josh Gillon.
New Assistant Coach Jeff Bateson joins the ranks of the UNCG coaching staff coming straight from a Head Coach position he helped at Guilford College for the past 10 years. During his tenure, the Guilford College Quakers were credited with 19 Old Dominion Athletic Conference commendations and two All Region selections. He told UNCG Athletics “To be able to be a part of a program with such a rich soccer history and tradition is nothing short of a blessing. I would like to thank Justin for the opportunity to join him and coach in his program. We’ve known each other for 10 years, so I’m sure the transition into his program will be fairly seamless.” He continued to humbly thank Kim Record and Jody Smith for granting him the opportunity to be a part of the UNCG family.
Mike DeMara joins the UNCG coaching staff after stints at Old Dominion, the University of Great Falls, and his alma mater, Methodist University. DeMara seems poised to make the Spartans more effective passers, as he lead Methodist University in assists for his last two years playing there collegiately. When asked about the 2016-2017 Spartans, he told UNCG Athletics “This team has so much potential and I look forward to helping Justin continue to build upon a winning tradition.”
The last fresh face for the UNCG coaching staff is Volunteer Assistant Coach/Goalkeeping Coach Jon Gillon. He has spent his last three years working as an Assistant Coach for High Point University. His work with High Point’s goalkeeper lead to their best defensive season in program history. The High Point Panthers earned nine shutouts and only 18 goals allowed on the season last year.
With an experienced group of both players and coaches, it seems the UNCG Men’s Soccer team is poised for success. The men will kick off their season on the road with games against Davidson, Jacksonville, and North Florida before returning for their home opener against The University of Alabama. Make sure to be in attendance and cheer your Spartans on in their home debut Friday, September 2, at the UNCG Soccer Stadium.