Blinn Men’s Soccer Loaded With Experience This Spring
Coming off a season where the Blinn College men’s soccer team reached new milestones, the Buccaneers will lean on experience and depth in hopes of setting the bar higher this spring.
Blinn returns 15 players from the 2019 team that put up a program-best 10-7-1 record, claimed a spot in the playoffs for the second time in the program’s two year-history, and landed on the NJCAA and United Soccer Coaches (USC) poll for the first time.
“Our greatest strength this year is depth and having about three options in every position on the field,” head coach Michael McBride said. “Our returners know what to expect, have the experience of playing in our region, and know the principles that we have been speaking about. Our team has a goal of going further than they did in 2019.”
Blinn returns Luke Thompson (New Braunfels) to the goalkeeper position and adds LeTourneau University transfer Diego Berlingeri (Fort Worth) and incoming freshmen Benjamin Davila III (Houston) and Adalid Abrego Jr. (Highlands).
In 2019, Thompson recorded one win and two saves for the Buccaneers, while Berlingeri started 14 games and recorded two shutouts, five wins, and 42 saves for LeTourneau. Davila earned all-state honors as a goalkeeper at Spring Woods High School.
“We have a lot of competition at our goalkeeper position, so the training has been better,” McBride said. “There is also a lot of depth at that position.”
Williams recorded two assists in 17 starts, Melendez played in 16 games, Donelan recorded one assist in eight games, and De Santiago played one game.
“We have a lot of options and are going to have an experienced back four,” McBride said.
Forward Stefan Fevrier Sildor (Fort Myers, Fla) returns after earning all-region honors last season. He was second on the team with nine goals and third on the team with three assists in 18 games. Freshman Marco Del Vecchio (Hurst), who earned all-district honors at L.D. Bell High School, is expected to impress at the forward position.
“I expect us to have multiple players who can score goals this year,” McBride said.
Returners Ethan Unger (Frisco), Derek Norsworthy (Frisco), Josh Stone (Frisco), Israel Macias Martinez (Houston), Marco Rodriguez Jr. (Rosenberg), Rodrigo Marquez (Houston), Edwin Mata (Longview), Alex Ramirez (Rosenberg), and Jose Cavazos Andrzejewska (Humble) will lead the midfielders.
Unger earned USC all-region honors after scoring one goal and leading the team with seven assists in 17 games. Norsworthy finished third on the team with five goals in 18 games, while Stone scored four goals and was second on the team with five assists in 14 starts. Macias Martinez started in 16 games, Rodriguez Jr. scored one goal in 12 games, Marquez started in five games, and Mata, Ramirez, and Cavazos Andrzejewska each saw action in three games.
Paris Junior College transfer Ian Martinez (Dorado, Puerto Rico), Pima Community College transfer Dave Danielles (Amsterdam, Netherlands), and University of West Alabama transfer Tanner James (Cypress) will add experience and depth to the midfield.
“We have a number of technically-proficient midfielders this year,” McBride said.
Incoming freshman Oliver Hebbard (Sherborne, England) and Cesar Cabrera (Spring Branch) are expected to add value to the midfielder position. Hebberd played soccer at Gryphon School, while Cabrera was the district’s most valuable player at Spring Woods High School.
“This year we have a very talented and coachable group of players,” assistant coach Jacob Beerman said. “Coach McBride and I have been intentional about bringing in players who are more technical in nature, and this year we hope to have a lot more depth and talent off the bench who can come in and make an impact right away. We also have some very creative players who can be dangerous in the attacking third.”
The Buccaneers will open the season against Paris Junior College on Friday, April 2, at 5 p.m. at Rankin Field. The Blinn women’s soccer team will take the field against Paris at 3 p.m.
“I am really pleased with the players we have brought on and we really have some well-rounded young men who will represent us well,” McBride said. “We are ready to compete in arguably the toughest region in the nation. It will be fun to test ourselves against some of the greatest teams in the country and see how far we can go.”
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 41 NJCAA national championships since 1987.