The Pioneers are off to another hot start this season, as expected. Head coach Kevin Wardlaw said that the team’s goals for this year are not any different than any other year.

“We want to maximize the potential of the team that we have. For us we have had a lot of success, so the specific goals don’t change.  We want to win a conference championship, we want to go to nationals and we want to win a nationals championship,” Wardlaw said.   

Juan Pablo Riesco, a sophomore physics major, agrees with the coach that the team is striving to win nationals.  He says that they have a really good team and thinks that it can happen.  The team also has a few specific goals for the year.   

“We want to be unbeaten in our home field.  I think that is important in our motivation and also to respect our school,” Riesco said.   

The team continues to improve throughout the season.  The few games that they have lost changes them for the better.  

“Our bad results so far have changed us a lot.  Now the motivation is different. Since we lost against The Masters in Arizona the attitude is completely different.  Every game we play we have a better bonding with each other,” Riesco said.  

No. 11, Lucas Machado, celebrates after a goal against Columbia College on Sept. 2, 2015. Photo by Jim Smith.No. 11, Lucas Machado, celebrates after a goal against Columbia College on Sept. 2, 2015. Photo by Jim Smith.

The team will also face some challenges throughout the year. Wardlaw said that their whole conference this year is tough.   

“We’re in one of the toughest conferences in the country, if not the toughest.  So winning the conference is a big deal.  We haven’t done it outright in a few years, so it’s something we’re definitely shooting for,” he said.   

Wardlaw also said that he thinks that this team has the ability to win the conference.   

“We have a good group.  Our conference is very, very strong again this year and it will come down to specific games. We will have to be good over a lot of games but this group is very talented,” he said.  

The bonding with the team grows each game. Wardlaw recognizes how close this group of guys is.   

“Although we are from different parts of the world, soccer is a universal language. No matter where you come from we all come to the same place and it creates a stronger bond,” Machado said.

“This is a really good group of guys.  They are a family.  Their chemistry is really strong.  They’re like a group of brothers,” Wardlaw said.  

Felipe Abreu, a junior sports management and business major, said that he loves being part this group. 

“I came from another country, I didn’t know anyone except one of the Brazilians on the soccer team.  I already knew him, he was a good friend of mine but I made a lot of friends on the soccer team.  These are the people I hang out with and I think being around people like me who like to play soccer, it’s incredible and makes my experience more enjoyable in the States,” said Abreu.      

The soccer team is very diverse.  There are players from six different countries, seven including the United States.  The team has a total thirteen international students.   

Lucas Machado, a senior business administration major, said that the even though the team is from all different parts of the world, they all come together through soccer.   

“Although we are from different parts of the world, soccer is a universal language. No matter where you come from we all come to the same place and it creates a stronger bond,” Machado said.    

Riesco and Machado said that they would love the school to come out to the team’s games and support them more.   

“If they want to learn more about us just come to our games,” Machado said.