‘Runners seek redemption this season


Junior goalkeeper Nicolas Clever winds up to kick the ball. Clever is one of the key returners for this year’s men’s soccer team. The Runner Archives

Esteban Ramirez


It was a rough end to the 2014 season for the CSU Bakersfield men’s soccer team.

The Roadrunners lost in penalty kicks (4-2) to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas at the Western Athletic Conference Tournament championship game on Nov. 16. However, CSUB is using that loss as motivation for this year.

“I think what is going to propel us down the stretch this year is that we lost in the final on penalties,” CSUB coach Richie Grant said. “That’s a big time motivation for our team and we know where we want to be in November. We are working with the end in mind, and that needs to be the catalyst for us to continue to improve.”

Grant said that the way they lost last year in the finals was very disappointing and the only way for them to right, it is to go and win the WAC this year.

As of Sept. 9, the Roadrunners have started the 2015 season 1-1-1. CSUB lost its opener to the University of Denver 1-0 on Aug. 29. It bounced back with a 2-1 double-overtime victory over UC Davis on Sept. 4. Then the Roadrunners tied with the Sacramento State Hornets 1-1 on Sept. 6.

“We had a good preseason,” Grant said. “We’re still in the stage where we are coming together. We’re coming off a tough loss to Denver, so it’s very clear that we have a lot of work to do in the next 2-3 weeks of non-conference games.”

The Roadrunners’ next game will be at the University of San Francisco on Sept. 24 at 6 p.m.

Some of the key new players are junior midfielder Adam Arana, who transferred from Drexel University and freshman midfielder Samuel Zimmerman, who is from Luzern, Switzerland.

Some of the key returners for the Roadrunners are senior midfielder Christian Duarte, who finished with five goals and five assists last year; redshirt-sophomore forward Julian Zamora, who led the team in goals with 12 and game-winning goals with three; senior midfielder Mario Iniguez, who had one goal last year; senior forward Simon Doherty, who was the second-leading scorer with six goals and junior goalkeeper Nicolas Clever, who started all 21 games, finished with 79 saves and had six shutouts.

Grant said a major difference from last year is that they lost some of the experience the team had last year.

“We had the benefit of having five senior players who had a lot of experience, NCAA Tournament experience and just a lot of matches under their belt,” he said. “They were a very motivated group in terms of wanting to win the WAC, but we have replaced that experience with some good players. Now we are stepping on the field with five or six differences so it is going to take us some time to gel or players.”

He said that the strength of this year’s team is that they will be able to score goals.

“We returned a lot of our scorers from last year,” he said. “We have Zamora, Doherty, [sophomore defender] Jamie Carey-Morell chipped in with a couple of goals, Duarte has goals in him, and we have redshirt-sophomore Daniel Dreier who also goals in him. So I feel that is going to be our real strength.”

Duarte, who scored CSUB’s lone goal against Sacramento State, said that his expectations for this year are to win the conference and win the conference tournament.

“Last year, is definitely a big motivation for us because losing in penalties is a tough pill to swallow, so we definitely want to win this year and change things,” he said. “Personally, I feel good. I feel fit, and I feel ready for this season. It’s a big year for me and, collectively, everyone feels motivated. We want to do well this season.”

Grant said that he wants this team to play well and win at home.

“We really want to protect our home field,” he said. “We want to play well at home, and we want to win the people that come see us in our own venue, we hope that it becomes an identity with the team this year.”

He said that his expectations for this year are to win the WAC.

“The expectation and the goal is that we take it a step further than we did last year.”