Blinn College men’s soccer team looks to build off first-year success

After clinching a spot in the playoffs as a first-year program, the Buccaneers are looking to build off that early success under new head coach Michael McBride.

"We want to remain competitive this year and build off the inaugural season," McBride said. "This team set the bar high for a first-year program and our returners know what it took to reach the playoffs."

Blinn finished the 2018 season with a 6-11 overall record and 5-9 conference record after making the playoffs in its inaugural season. The Buccaneers were eliminated in the first round of the NJCAA Region XIV Men's Soccer Championship Tournament by Laredo Community College.

The Buccaneers return three starters this season in middle Farit Ha (Houston) and defenders Johnny Girard (Wimberley) and Connor Spiller (Houston).

Ha was a leader on the offensive side, starting in 14 games, ranking second on the team with five goals, and tying for first on the team with five assists. Girard scored two goals and tallied four assists, while Spiller scored one goal and recorded a .500 shooting percentage.

"The competition is fierce and we have several players who are contenders in every position," McBride said. "We are lucky to have freshman players at a high level of ability and they really push each other. We are excited because we have multiple threats on this team."

New to the goalkeeper position are LSU Eunice transfer JT McCoy (Houston) and freshman Luke Thompson (San Antonio). McCoy was named the district's Goalkeeper MVP in 2018 at Alvin High School and Thompson was named Most Valuable Player at New Braunfels Christian Academy.

Freshman forwards Stefan Fevrier Sildor (New York, N.Y.), Marco Rodriguez Jr. (Houston), Coleman Hatfield (Glendale, Calif.), Bryan Nava (Houston), and Zane Marshall (Abilene) will help lead the offense.

Fevrier Sildor earned first-team all-area honors and was a finalist for Player of the Year in 2019 at Fort Myers High School, Rodriguez was named the district's Most Valuable Player in 2019 at Lamar Consolidated High School, and Hatfield was named the district's Offensive MVP of the Year at Heritage High School. Nava played soccer at J. Frank Dobie High School and Marshall played at Northwest High School.

Freshmen Ethan Unger (Frisco), Josh Stone (Houston), Israel Macias Martinez (Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas Mexico), and Andy Berrios (Houston) will lead the middles.

Unger earned all-region honors at Frisco Centennial High School, Stone earned first-team all-district honors and played on varsity all four seasons at Lamar Consolidated High School, Martinez was named team's Offensive MVP at Waltrip High School in 2019 and Berrios earned first-team all-state honors and was named the Atascocita High School soccer team's Most Valuable Player in 2017.

Freshmen defenders Seth Donelan (Plano), Brook Williams (Oak Harbor, Wash.), Rodrigo Marquez (San Salvador, Mexico), and Martin Reyes (Irving) will play a crucial role on defense.

Donelan earned first-team all-region honors at Heritage High School, while Williams earned first-team all-district honors at International School of the Americas. Marquez played soccer at Spring Woods High School and Reyes played at Nimitz High School.

The Buccaneers will open the season against Ranger College on Friday, August 23, at 4 p.m. on the road.

"We are looking forward to building off of last year's success, while maintaining good team chemistry, exhibiting good sportsmanship and representing Blinn College in the best way possible," McBride said.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 41 NJCAA national championships since 1987.