The men’s soccer team at West Virginia University began practice on Tuesday, August 7 for the 2018 season. The squad will have only 17 days to prepare for the season opener.
Marlon LeBlanc, head coach, described the first practice and the upcoming season.
“We have a couple of standards that we try to go through, in terms of our beep test and trying to get some metrics on the guys, and that was good. Then, we got in some small-sided play, letting the guys get a feel for the new surface that’s out here, allowing them to ease themselves into preseason a little bit,” LeBlanc said. “Things come very quick and rapid for us, but the goal is the 24th, and we have that amount of time that we’re going to utilize. So, we’re not going to try and get too much done in one day, but slowly break them in. It was a good first start, the energy was fantastic.”
LeBlanc is going into his 13th season as the leader of the Mountaineers. The 2018 season features 16 returning lettermen, including nine that appeared in 15 matches during the 2017 season. Of the 24-man roster, only four are seniors.
Goalkeeper Stephen Bannick, forward Rushawn Larmond, midfielder Joey Piatczyc and midfielder Jorge Quintanilla hope to lead the 24-man roster, which includes seven newcomers.
West Virginia will be led by senior superstar Joey Piatczyc. The Missouri native is currently tied for second in program history with 25 career assists. Piatczyc will be supported by junior Sebastian Garcia-Herreros and senior Rushawn Larmond in hopes of improving upon a 9-6-4 (1-2-2) record the previous year.
The Mountaineers open the regular season on August 24th against College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. The squad also will play regional teams in Maryland, Pitt, Akron and Cincinnati.