JOHNSTOWN - The Fulton-Montgomery Community College men's soccer team is shaping up to be a squad that will win games with their speed and athleticism under first-year head coach Donn Truax.
"Our expectations are that we're going to be the fittest team, and that we'll be able to go the full 90 minutes plus to beat our opponents as far as conditioning," said Truax.
Truax, a former professional soccer player for the Albany Alleycats and the Charlotte Eagles of the United Soccer Leagues, assisted Rich Monroe with the women's soccer team in 2010 and 2011. Truax and Monroe have more or less jointly taken over the soccer programs at FMCC, with each serving on the others coaching staff.
The Raiders roster is shaping up to be small and quick, something Truax feels the team can use to their advantage.
"Our opponents tend to be a little bigger, stronger," said Truax. "We're really hoping to bring in a new system of soccer as far as being a team that plays with speed of play, and with passing and moving. I think that's going to be our advantage just based on the size of our players. We may not be bigger or stronger, but we're definitely going to be faster and attack with a lot of speed."
The Raiders are returning six players from 2012 including Austin Lee (Gloversville) and Chase Steele (Broadalbin-Perth). Three New York City natives are also back for a second season. Andrew Beckham (Gloversville) is a transfer that figures to take over goalkeeping duties under Truax this season. There are nine incoming freshman joining the team this fall, including three former players from Broadalbin-Perth, and two players from both Gloversville and Oppenheim. Jimmy Grega (Northville) and Vernon Kennedy (Sharon Springs) are also new this season.
The roster is not yet complete, as international students with strong interest in joining the team are expected to arrive next week. Truax expects to add players from Brazil and Asia to the roster. At least five such players have expressed in playing. Truax expects an open competition for playing time.
"There are no guarantees," said Truax. "It's going to be based on their performance as well as their integrity. The players right now are kind of fighting, battling for specific positions."
At FMCC, a school that brings together local students, international students, and students from the New York City area, an athletic team featuring students from very different walks of life can struggle to become cohesive. Truax will hope to overcome that in his first season at the helm.
While improving over their 2012 campaign is a main goal for the Raiders in 2013, Truax hopes to reach his players take away lessons that can be put to use outside the lines.
"It's not just about the game, it's about life and life decisions," said Truax. "That's something we're really hoping to instill in these players. It's not just about your performance on the field, it has to do with how they uphold themselves in the classrooms and on campus and wherever they go."
The FMCC men's soccer team will scrimmage against Albany College of Pharmacy on Aug. 29 at 4 pm at FMCC.
The first regular season matchup will be in Niagara as FMCC takes on the NCCC Thunderwolves on Sept. 7. The first home game will be on Sept. 11 at 5 pm against Clinton.
2013 FMCC Raiders Men's Soccer Roster
Vernon Kennedy - Sharon Springs
Jim Grega - Northville
Kyle Smith - Oppenheim/St. Johnsville
Jake Rasmussen - Broadalbin Perth
Dakota Mereness - Oppenheim/St. Johnsville
Kyle McGratten - Broadalbin Perth
Christian DeVito - Gloversville
Skyler Deming - Gloversville
Anthony Payne - Broadalbin Perth
Transfer: Andrew Beckham - Gloversville
Austin Lee - Gloversville
Hassaballah Yaya - NYC native
Khala Alhussan - NYC native
Chance Steele - Broadalbin Perth
Alpha Diallo - NYC native
FMCC Raiders Men's Soccer Schedule
DATE DAY OPPONENT TIME H/A
Sept. 7 Sat Niagara 2:00pm Away
Sept. 8 Sun Erie 12:00pm Away
Sept. 11 Wed Clinton 5:00pm Home
Sept. 18 Wed Herkimer 7:00pm Away
Sept. 21 Sat Broome 3:00pm Home
Sept. 25 Wed Delhi 4:00pm Away
Sept. 28 Sat Jefferson 3:00pm Away
Oct. 2 Wed Cayuga 5:00pm Away
Oct. 5 Sat Hudson Valley 2:00pm Away
Oct. 9 Wed North Country 5:00pm Home
Oct.12 Sat. Adirondack 1:00pm Away
Oct.16 Wed Mohawk Valley 5:00pm Home
Oct. 19 Sat Sub-Regionals TBA TBA
Oct. 23 Wed Semi-Finals TBA TBA