Sophomore class leaves mark on MCC soccer program
The Marshalltown Community College soccer team has had great success the past two years and a lot of that has to do with this group of graduating sophomores. These players saw their team reach 26 victories in two years at MCC, and were nationally ranked at the end of both seasons (No. 20 in 2011 and No. 11 in 2012). This year the Tigers won the Region XI championship, finishing fifth at the 2012 National Tournament.
“I’m very proud of the accomplishments of this class of sophomores,” says MCC head soccer coach Rafael Martinez. “Most importantly, they’ve excelled in the classroom. They have also improved their community by volunteering their time for several local organizations like the school district and the public library. These kids have been chosen as leaders within our campus, and that says a lot about their commitment to our institution.”
The year started at the Minnesota Classic Kickoff Tournament, where the squad finished second with two wins and a draw. The Tigers finished third in the conference, allowing them to host first round of the tournament against NIACC, defeating them 1-0. They beat Iowa Central 3-2 in the semifinals in a game that Coach Martinez called “one of the best games I’ve coached in.” MCC then took on one of the best teams in the nation in undefeated Iowa Western. After defeating No. 3 Iowa Western, 1-0, the Tigers qualified for the National Tournament as the top ranked team in the Great Lakes District. This was the team’s second trip to nationals, the first time taking place in 2007.
In Albany, GA, the Tigers were grouped with No. 4 Tyler Junior College (TX) and No. 5 Jefferson College (MO). Tyler beat MCC, 2-0, and went on to win the national championship. The Tigers then beat Jefferson College 2-0, and the team finished tied for fifth in the tournament. MCC finished the season with 14 wins, six losses, and one tie.
“I think that the team chemistry we developed throughout the entire season allowed us to be at our peak at the right time,” says Martinez. “I am very proud of what everyone involved did, especially assistant coaches Jenness and Osmundson, who were crucial to maintain the level of competitiveness our practice sessions needed. The leadership from the sophomore class was also excellent, especially after several unexpected losses in conference play.”
With team success comes individual awards as well. Rafael Martinez received Great Lakes District Coach of the Year. Javier Lopez was recognized as a NJCAA and NSCAA All-American. Lopez was also named First-team All-Region along with teammate Bruno Liozzi. Ignacio Bello and Joao Olivera Silva were named to Second Team All-Region while Salvador Galvan and Tony Kaune received Honorable Mention honors.
After the season ended, each of the nine sophomores received one or more scholarship offers from four-year universities. Below is a list of schools these students plan on attending next year to further their education, and for some, to continue their soccer careers:
Javier Lopez – Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL
Taylor McBurney – University of Iowa (club soccer)
Tony Kaune – Adrian College, Adrian, MI
Jose Guilherme Martinez Damaceno – Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL
Juan Castrejon - Robert Morris University, Chicago, IL
Alfredo Piedra – Pikeville College, Pikeville, KY
Bruno Liozzi – Southern Wesleyan University, SC
Joao de Olivera - Southern Wesleyan University, SC
Josh Illum – Iowa State University
“I have truly enjoyed our two years together, having created some great memories on and off the field,” adds Martinez about this group of sophomores. “They will be missed, but I am sure that we will maintain contact with them. I wish them the best of luck for the future with the hope that their time at MCC has made them better people, which is our ultimate goal.”
PHOTO CAPTION: These sophomores saw their team reach 26 victories in two years at MCC, and were nationally ranked at the end of both seasons (No. 20 in 2011 and No. 11 in 2012). Listed L-R are (front): Joao Silva, Bruno Liozzi, Taylor McBurney, Jose Damaceno. (back): Alfredo Piedra, Juan Castrejon, Coach Creighton Jenness, Coach Rafael Martinez, Coach Allie Osmundson, Javier Lopez, Tony Kaune, Joshua Illum.