Tigers soccer highly rated heading into 2017 season

Rafael Martinez

Early season polls are high on Marshalltown Community College soccer, as the Tigers are featured at No. 10 in the National Junior College Athletic Association preseason rankings heading into the new season.

After a 15-4-1 season in 2016, MCC will have to replace All-American goalie Rafael Pereira and a few other quality starters from last season, but in a press release from the school head coach Rafael Martinez said he has the talent to replicate last season’s success.

“I think it’s all about the players and who is willing to step up to fill those spots that have been left available,” Martinez said. “We have lost key members from last year, but it is the sam every year. We feel very good about the new players that have joined our program and have already seen a huge improvement in our returners, especially in attitude, so we are confident we have the pieces to be successful, as long as everyone works hard and works as a team.”

One player the Tigers will look to lean on in 2017 will be sophomore Kino Ryosuke, who led the team in scoring with 18 goals in 18 games. Ryosuke also spent time honing his craft over the summer playing with FC Boulder in Boulder, Colo.

While Martinez said Ryosuke will be a big factor in the team’s success, he also was quick to point out the necessity of good play from everyone on the pitch.

“We hope that, instead of focusing on individual players, people look at MCC and see a cohesive team that stays strong together,” Martinez said. “We certainly have individual talent, Kino Ryosuke is expected by many to be a key contributor, but what we are seeing is a commitment to the team by everyone. This is what will make the difference in the end. Individual talent can win games, but teams win championships and that is our objective.’

MCC opens up its season on the road with a game against Metropolitan Community College-Maple Woods in Kansas City on Friday, and then play Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan., on Sunday, Aug. 27.

The Tigers play their first home game on Saturday, Sept. 2, when they welcome in Anoka-Ramsey Community College.