Men’s soccer looks to limit blown leads in order to bounce back in 2017

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Student housing is a undeniable issue at UC Berkeley. With a new student class of more than 9,000 students looking to find lodging in the residence halls or off-campus, there is simply not enough room to fit students close enough to campus.

Among options discussed was Edwards Stadium, the home field for the Cal men’s soccer program. But the Bears can’t have the future of their home on their mind if they’re hoping to play up to expectations this season.

Playing on, Cal is set to start its season this week Aug. 25 with a nonconference game against West Virginia.

The team will have over a month of nonconference play to prepare before their conference opener Sept. 28 against UCLA. In order to increase their chances of getting a playoff berth, the Bears must secure as many wins as possible during nonconference play before they enter the more grueling section of the season. Some of these crucial wins will have to come in games against Santa Clara, Northeastern and San Francisco.

Last season, the team finished with a record of 5-10-2, whereas the season prior finished with a record over .500. The Bears suffered several close losses last season in conference games against Stanford, Washington and UCLA, among others.

Against Oregon State last season, Cal was unable to hold onto their 2-1 lead, allowing the Beavers to tie the game 2-2 in the 75th minute. This game was a prime example of a lead that the Bears were unable to sustain throughout the 90 minutes of play.

This season will be all about endurance. The Bears must have the drive to stay in the game until the very end, to either maintain a lead or comeback from a one goal deficit. Furthermore, to have a successful season, the Bears need to focus on finishing and defense, which they struggled to pin down last fall.

The Bears will be relying heavily on redshirt senior, team captain and midfielder Jose Carrera-Garcia to carry the team to a winning record. Carrera-Garcia was recently named to the Pac-12 preseason team, which can increase his pressure as Cal’s sole representative.

As Jonathan Klinsmann, Cal’s shining goalkeeper from last season, has entered the professional world as a player for Hertha Berlin, goalies junior Noah Texter and sophomore Drake Callender will be under pressure to keep the team together from the back end of the field.

Cal head coach Kevin Grimes has set his sights on a qualification for the the NCAA post-season tournament, which the team has been unable to secure for the past two years.

The team is welcoming six freshman with remarkable high school records onto the squad. Freshman Christopher Grey, for example, was selected for the U20 Jamaican Men’s National Team, as well as the U18 U.S. men’s national team. The freshmen, who are poised to bring new energy onto the field, will be assets for a team looking to redeem itself from last season’s series of rough losses.

Lucy Schaefer covers men’s swimming. Contact her at [email protected]