2009 Season Preview: MCCC Men's Soccer

The Mercer County Community College men's soccer team doesn't name team captains for an entire season. Veteran head coach Charlie Inverso prefers rotating different captains for different games to inspire more players to step forward as leaders.

His 2009 squad has plenty of excellent candidates. The Vikings have a talented veteran squad that a year ago won the Region XIX Tournament title and reached the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Championships for the eighth consecutive season.

The Vikings, who finished 2008 with a 19-3 record, have extra incentive to keep the string of national tournament appearances alive. MCCC will host the eight-team national championships for the first time since 1999, from November 18-22.

"I think right now our biggest strength is our depth," said Inverso, who begins his 24th season at MCCC with five national championships and over 400 wins to his credit. "That obviously gives the coaches a lot of leverage because when there's depth there's always concern about losing your spot. That keeps guys sharp and on their toes. I think we're pretty tough, too. I think our teams here have always been pretty tough physically and mentally."

MCCC enters the season ranked No. 3 in the NJCAA's national preseason poll behind Yavapai College (Prescott, Ariz.), the defending national champion (which has already suffered a loss this season in its opening game against Chandler-Gilbert CC), and San Jacinto College-South (Houston).

Leading the Vikings into action is sophomore midfielder Amit Aburmad (Israel), an NJCAA First Team All-American in 2008. He is joined in the midfield by two other natives of Israel, sophomore Ido Ligety and freshman Niv Bernstein, as well as sophomore Hosman Ramos (Miami).

Forward Frank Tweneboa is
expected to add to the goal total.
Sophomore Ido Ligety returns
the midfield.

The Vikings figure to be high scoring with its unit of forwards, which includes sophomore Frank Tweneboa (Pennsauken), a versatile player who got better throughout last season. Inverso considers Arturo Barajas (New Rochelle, N.Y.) to be a natural goal scorer. Other forwards who are local high school products are sophomore Luigi Moriello and freshman Rocike Kazouch from Trenton, and freshman Mohamed Conteh from West Windsor-Plainsboro North.

The backfield has a pair of dominant center backs in sophomores Nigel Blair (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Darnell Edwards (Greenbelt, Md.). The outside backs are freshmen Robin Patton (Germany) and Victor Angulo (Miami).

Other players expected to contribute significantly are sophomores Julian Ward (Elkins Park, Pa.) and Israel Delgado (Hightstown, N.J.), and freshman Mark Pratico (Hamilton, N.J.).

Inverso has named freshman Sean Duble (Miami) as the starting goalkeeper, although he also is confident in the play of sophomore backup David Schindewolf (Lawrence, N.J.).

MCCC begins its regular season Wednesday, September 9 at SUNY Ulster. The Vikings' home opener is Saturday, September 12 against Monroe College at 2 p.m.

"I think we're pretty talented," Inverso said.

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