#31 Saint Mary's Men's Soccer 2012 Preview

Saint Mary’s Gaels

Overall Rank: #31
Conference Rank: #1 West Coast Conference
Saint Mary's Men's College Soccer 2012 Team Preview
Saint Mary's Team Page


St. Mary’s college men’s soccer is looking forward to the 2012 season after their winning season in 2011.  Head coach Adam Cooper took the team to the programs first ever NCAA quarter finals after becoming the West Coast Conference champions and they intend to do it again.  Coach Cooper has high confidence in his players, not just for the 2012 season but for more seasons to come. Coach Cooper said in a press release, “I am very confident in this group to not only contribute immediately, but also shape the future of our program helping us challenge for more WCC Championships and taking us deep into the NCAA tournament.” With the 2011 season under his belt, plus a previous NCAA appearance in 2009 and winning WCC Coach of the Year in ’09 and ’11, Coach Cooper has the right to be confident in his ability. His players also are getting a boost in confidence going into the new season.

2011 Record: 11-7-5, 7-3-2
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Adam Cooper

One of St. Mary’s major strength is head coach Adam Cooper’s ability to put players in games.  All players on the 2011 roster logged minutes in matches and most of them played in more than five games out of the season total of 23.  The players’ ability to play at all positions was another huge factor in the Gaels winning season last year. Eleven players contributed goals, a few of them playing in the defender position.  No one player statistically out played any of his teammates.  The two highest scorers tied with just four goals, one of which is Justin Howard, who is returning in the forward position for the 2012 season. The next three contributors tied with three goals and one of them is returning defender Trevor Newquist. The Gaels are a truly diverse squad with players able to play anywhere on the pitch and they look for the same out of the 2012 roster. Coach Cooper said in a press release, “we’ve got great diversity with this group of playmakers, ball winners, goal scorers, athletes, and size.” Size is right in both the players and numbers.  Out of the squad of 30, 12 are over six feet tall with a few topping out over 6’2”.  “This class has the potential to be big time,” said Coach Cooper in the same press release, “they provide us with depth in every position on the field and fully expect each and everyone one of them to challenge for playing time from day one.”

A large squad doesn’t necessarily make it one of St. Mary’s strengths.  With the losses from the previous class, Coach Cooper brought in 15 new players to team up with the 15 returning letter winners.  One of Coach Cooper’s priorities will be to find a keeper out of the freshman class since the 2011 keeper, Doug Herrick, has graduated.  Herrick finished the season with 88 saves and only allowed 22 goals.  Out the 11 players that made goals last season only about half are returning, so Coach Cooper will also be looking for some up and coming players to score goals while relying on his veterans to step up this season. Even with the talent of this half and half squad of new comers and veterans, Coach Cooper will have his work cut out for him molding the young guns, but he sounds confident they will be ready for the 2012 season.

Final Projection:
Confidence and diversity will bring home wins for the Gaels but they have to be careful not to be over confident or they may slip up and not make the NCAA tournament.  St. Mary’s had an outstanding season last year and, with the size of this year’s roster, they have a great shot at another WCC title as long as the talent is there.  Making sure all players are where they need to be isn’t as much of a task early during the exhibition season against Stanford or even the first few matches, but they will definitely need to make sure they are set and have a keeper in place before their first conference game against Loyola Marymount followed by San Diego State. With the few returning playmakers and Coach Cooper’s freshman class, St. Mary's should make another appearance in the NCAA.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Justin Howard, Junior, F, 4
Assists: Trevor Newquist, Senior, D, 3
Shots: Trevor Newquist, Senior, D, 19  
Saves: None