Around three dozen Portland State students gathered on Sept. 23 at Peter W. Stott Community Field and laced up their cleats, preparing to vie for a spot in PSU’s Men’s Soccer Club. The club participates in the Cascade Collegiate Soccer League, an intercollegiate league fielding teams from universities such as Oregon State, Reed College, University of Portland and University of Oregon, to name a few.
Among those assessing the new talent and reevaluating the returning team members were Head Coach Charlie Gardiner and Alex Daraban, student athlete and team manager.
Both Daraban and Gardiner walked away from the first week’s tryouts feeling optimistic about what they saw. “There were a lot of new players: a lot of good new players,” Gardiner said.
Daraban was pleased as well, claiming he was looking forward to seeing “a lot of the returners play while digging into the pool of new players coming in [and] looking for new talents.”
However, the prospect of finding new talent did not distract Gardiner or Daraban from the task at hand, or from the lessons learned during past seasons.
“We struggled the season before,” Gardiner said. “Last year was more of a development year; we had a lot of good individuals, but as a team we needed a little bit of guidance and directing.”
Daraban claimed the payoff from that time spent developing was coming soon. “Having a season that was solely focused on rebuilding and developing the squad for this season is really coming into fruition,” he said.
This year, both Daraban and Gardiner have one outcome in mind, and they were quick to make it clear. “To win the league is the aim,” Gardiner said. “You’ve got to be in it to win it.”
Daraban voiced his approval, saying “We’re out there to win the whole thing.”
Gardiner was quick to recognize the steps necessary in finishing the task at hand. “We want to get in the top four and get into the semi-finals,” Gardiner said. “Hopefully we go all the way, get into the finals and hopefully win that. And after tonight, seeing how much talent we’ve got, I think we’ve got half a chance of doing it.”
PSU’s Men’s Soccer Club will have their first home match against Oregon State University this upcoming Saturday, Oct. 13, at Peter W. Stott Community Field. Although tryouts for the fall season have concluded, the team is always open to the prospect of bringing on new players for the spring season.
Students with an interest in participating on the squad are encouraged to contact the team via their Facebook page, @PSUFCvikings.