Aug. 26, 2014
GALESBURG—Coming off the most successful season in program history, Ariel Pesce wants the Carl Sandburg College men’s soccer team to reach another level this fall.
“They had a phenomenal season last year, and I told them we’re not going to take a step down,” Pesce said. “We’re going to look to do better, and that means a lot of work.”
Sandburg had a scrimmage Friday evening at Monmouth and opens the regular season at 5 p.m. today against Illinois Central at Kleine Equipment Field.
Pesce, in his first season with the Chargers, was hired in February and has several years of experience as a player and coach. He most recently was the coach for Rush Wisconsin in Middleton, Wis., and was an associate head coach from 2008-11 at Middle Georgia State. During his time there, the Knights’ women’s team won the 2009 Region XVII championship. A native of Argentina, Pesce played professionally there from 1995-99.
He inherits a Chargers team that finished last year 15-5-0 overall and won the Region IV Champions Division with a 6-1-0 record, the first title in team history. Sandburg also won the program’s first postseason contest and advanced to the semifinals of the Region IV tournament. The Chargers this season will move up from the Champions Division to the Premier Division, the more competitive of the region’s two leagues.
“Now we’re stepping up and we have to play a different game,” Pesce said. “This group is stronger colleges with more years of experience. They’re going to bring all they have in the toolbox, so we have to be ready for those games and prepare for them.”
Pesce met with each of the team’s seven returning players after he was hired to go over his expectations for the team going forward.
“They agreed on the way we’re going to behave and the way we’re going to change practices and the way we’re going to recruit,” Pesce said. “I told them I don’t do anything by myself. I like to tell the guys what we’re doing so they know, and I believe the more they know about the game, the more relaxed they’re going to play and enjoy the game.
Among the Chargers’ returners are sophomore Jake Kirchoff-Sleet (Tamworth, England/Queen Elizabeth’s Meridian), whose 16 goals last season were second on the team to All-American Lawson Crider, who’s now at UAB. Despite a bevy of returning talent, Pesce’s emphasis is building the team as a whole.
“I’m really excited about our team and the way we’re growing together and not as individuals,” Pesce said. “I recruit individual players, and now I’m trying to get them to understand there are 11 of them during the game and a bunch of guys outside supporting them and fighting with them.”
Members of the 2014 Carl Sandburg College men’s soccer team are: Sandro Aldana, Haggi Amirally, Andy Anane-Asane, David Chiu-Hung, Matt Connors, Justin Findlay, Malcolm Findley, Orlando Gomez, Bayron Guerra, Robert Hamrick, Jalen Jones, Jake Kirchoff-Sleet, Camilo Martinez, Gerardo Molina, Ian Murphy, Brandyn Murray, Daniel Nieto, Jose Ruiz-Funes, Nitram Senderos, Osmar Sequeira, Andre Solorzano, Diego Suarez, Cole Thurman, Carlos Viganoni, Rodrigo Zamora, head coach Ariel Pesce, assistant coach Kokou Kaho.