Playing Sunday in St. Louis, the East Central College soccer Falcons opened their 2013 preseason with a 3-0 win over Harris-Stowe State University.
“The Harris Stowe game went well,” ECC Head Coach Kean Barclay said. “It was a nice opportunity to see the guys have a run-out. Obviously, it is just a preseason friendly, but it’s still nice to see a few things. In this game we really rotated the roster and got everyone involved. I’m always happy when we can put up a shutout, and the guys take pride in that as well.”
Barclay reported goals were scored by freshmen Gino Bono (Northwest), Zakarie Merzouk (Quincy, Ill.) and Adrian Salazar (South Garland, Texas).
Assists came from Dylan Cassidy (Lucan High School, Dublin, Ireland), David Moore (Southern Boone) and Salazar.
With all of the production, with the exception of Moore’s assist, coming from freshmen, that’s a positive sign for the future of the ECC program.
The Falcons play their second, and final, preseason match Thursday at UMSL. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.
“We’re looking forward to our next preseason game to try some new things and some guys in some different places,” said Barclay. “That should be a great game, and much tougher competition, since they did make their conference championship last season.”
Barclay and his assistant, Ian Hateli, have put together a roster consisting of six sophomores and 14 freshmen.
Sophomores on this year’s team are Vadim Cojocov, Steven Smith, Adam Schmitt, Moore, Andrew Hammerlinck and Reggie Faucher.
Hammerlinck is a transfer from Southwestern Illinois College. Faucher last played for the Falcons in 2008 and is just coming back for his second season in ECC colors.
“He’s returned to finish what he started, and he brings a lot of passion and enthusiasm to the team,” Barclay said.
Freshmen on this year’s team are Matt Lauber, Nicholas Wallace, Cassidy, Kris Garcia, Aaron Bannister, Tyler Osborne, Albert Cantu, Salazar, Bono, Camoy Blash, Jason Ebbing, Clay Cunningham, Brett Stiles and Merzouk.
Three players are from local high schools. Schmitt is from Borgia while Lauber is a Union graduate and Wallace is from Warrenton.
“The guys feel pretty good about where we’re at in our progression for this time of the year, we just have to keep moving forward,” Barclay said. “There’s still a way to go until we’re hitting our full capacity, but I have confidence we’ll eventually get there. The commitment level on this team without doubt surpasses what we had last year. It’s going to be fun to see if they put in the work to reach their full potential. We have a really tough schedule this year, and I think that is the best way to drive them on. I know we have some great teams in our region, and we hope to prove that we belong in the conversation that we’re one of them.”