MIAMI — The Northeastern A&M men’s soccer team starts gearing up for the 2019 season on Wednesday, Aug. 7
Practices begin the following day, according to coach John Parrigon.
“We’re going to be pretty young,” he said, noting that there will be 10 returnees, three sophomore transfers and a handful of freshmen.
Center-mid Angel Avelos, a sophomore from Oklahoma City, is the only starter back from a team that went 5-11 and 2-6 in Region 2 play.
Only one goal kept the Golden Norse from qualifying for the Region 2 tournament here.
They tied with Murray State in points but lost the head-to-head tiebreaker by a goal.
Rose State topped NEO 2-0 in the 2017 championship game, but the Norse claimed back-to-back titles the previous two years.
That marked the first time since the tournament had been played in Miami that NEO did not make the field.
One of the transfer players is center back Alex Pike, a Canadian who played at Essex Junior College in New York as a freshman.
Parrigon looks for a battle for the starting job in goal.
NEO has a pair of preseason scrimmages (Aug. 13 at John Brown and Aug. 19 at Oklahoma Wesleyan) before starting the season Aug. 24 at Cowley County (Kansas) Community College.
“We will be tested by fire right off the bat,” Parrigon said.
Cowley was a national tournament qualifier in 2018, he said.
After the regular-season opener, the next four matches will be played at home — non-district action against Coffeyville (Kansas) Community College, Aug. 30; State Fair (Missouri) Community College, Sept. 4, and Ozark Christian JV, Sept. 6.
The Region 2 opener is Sept. 11 against Arkansas-Rich Mountain.
UARM is located in Mena and becomes the sixth men’s program to compete in NJCAA Region 2.
The other Region 2 opponents are Eastern Oklahoma State, Murray State, Rose State and Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa.
UARM is one of eight Arkansas schools that are members of Region 2.
“We play several at home right in a row, which will be kinda nice,” Parrigon said. “Then it’s going to create a little stretch where we will become road warriors, but you are in the thick of it by then and are not worried about anything.
“Even our region schedule gets consistently harder as we go. It’s going to be pretty competitive and pretty unpredictable over all.”
In the midst of regional play, the Norse travel to Neosho to face Crowder College on Oct. 1 and will be at St. Charles (Missouri) Community College on Oct. 10.
The Region 2 tournament will be Nov. 2-3 at Red Robertson Field.
NEO’s Jack Holmes battles David Mbuyu of Murray State for the ball in a 2018 match at Red Robertson Field.