State Fair Community College men’s and women’s soccer returns two All-Region selections apiece for the 2019-20 season and announced a new title for assistant coach Dan Martin, who is shouldering more day-to-day responsibilities for the Lady Roadrunners.
Martin is the Associate Head Coach for Women’s Soccer. While technically a change in title, SFCC head soccer coach Jaime Beltran said that reshaped roles will benefit both programs.
“It gives a better division of labor, it helps both programs and I don’t want him to leave,” Beltran said. “I don’t want to have to beat him twice a year.”
Given his ties to State Fair Community College, where he played soccer from 2000-01, Martin said he was pleased to accept more responsibility.
“It’s my alma mater,” Martin said. “It’s good to have the programs back. To be apart of it is pretty special.”
It is the fourth year for the Lady Roadrunners, established alongside the reinstatement of the men’s program, which had been suspended since the 2002-03 season.
The Roadrunners hosted their first Region 16 Tournament match since returning to action, falling short against St. Charles Community College after 11 rounds of penalty kicks.
Beltran said he hopes international freshman Jordan Bishop (Australia) and Aaron Collins (England) can help finish scoring opportunities. During their high school careers, local recruits Landon Naylor, Rodrigo Rodriguez (Smith-Cotton) and Francisco Rojas (Sacred Heart) have also shown composure around the net.
Jackson Ralph and Mani Hondroudakis, who led the team last season with seven goals, return as All-Region sophomores. Sedalia goal-scorer Sebastian Aguero had five last season, and returns with midfielders Samuel Sumo and Angelo Salomone as impact sophomores.
“They’ll be in contention to compete for starting roles,” Beltran said of Sumo and Salomone. “And even if they don’t start, they’ll give us some solid minutes.”
The Lady Roadrunners (6-9) compiled their best record of all-time and earned a Region 16 Tournament bye en route to second-straight semifinal, where St. Charles ended their campaign, 5-1.
All-Region selections Ria Kessell and Hailie Action accounted for three assists each last season at forward and midfield, respectively. Lady Roadrunners goalkeeper Samantha Curphey, who recorded 44 saves in eight starts and 10 appearances, returns with Melissa Martinez and Academic All-American Andrea Ramos to help anchor each level of the pitch.
Local players Carin Whittal (Smith-Cotton), Leah Overbay (Harrisonville), Maleah Ray (Battle) and international recruit Natalie Clarke (England) also project to be difference-making freshmen.
“I think we have a good balance with our newcomers,” Martin said.
Both programs open the season with an exhibition Aug. 14 at William Woods University in Fulton and begin the regular season Aug. 22 at Kansas City Kansas Community College.
Clover Dell Park plays host to SFCC’s home-opening matches Sunday, Sept. 1 hosting North Iowa Area Community College.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2.