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Game Time Finally Arrives for Eastern Florida's New Men's Soccer Team
Aug. 22, 2013 - First recruit: Check.
First recruiting class: Check.
First team meeting: Check.
First practice: Check.
First scrimmage: Check.
The boxes on the list maintained by Eastern Florida State College's inaugural men's soccer coach Oliver Twelvetrees have been checked off with the most important one poised to be filled in on Friday: The Titans first game.
Eastern Florida travels to Perkinston, MS this week for a 6 p.m. Eastern time game against Mississippi Gulf Coast on Friday and a 3 p.m. Eastern game on Saturday against San Jacinto, TX.
San Jacinto is ranked 17th nationally in the NJCAA Division I poll and 18th by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
"It's been a long time in coming," said Twelvetrees who was hired in October from Barton Community College in Great Bend, KS, and began work at Eastern Florida (then Brevard Community College) last December.
Ready to Go: Pictured from the left are Juan Ocampo, James Togbah, Johnathan Quintero, Romario Grant, Brandon Loafman, Jordan Muir, Farias Juarez and Alejandro Diaz.
The team began practice on Aug. 5 and has played three scrimmages, winning two and tying one.
"The lads are ready for a game that counts," Twelvetrees added. "We used the scrimmages as a measuring tool to gauge everyone's ability, to experiment.
"All that is now behind us. It's time to compete."
The Titans will spend a lot of time on the road before playing at home, competing in a scrimmage at NCAA Division II Barry in North Miami on Aug. 30 and two regular-season games in Georgia — nationally third-ranked Darton College on Sept. 6 and Middle Georgia on Sept. 7. They debut at home at 7 p.m. Sept. 14, hosting Florida College System Activities Association/NJCAA Region foe Broward College.
Admission is free.
Eastern Florida plays Broward three times with a NJCAA Region 17 postseason berth at stake.
Twelvetrees is looking to a strong back line of defenders and a stout midfield to lock down opponents. Expected to contribute are freshmen Michael O'Sullivan from Orlando, FL and Pine Ridge High, Twelvetrees' first recruit; Ivan Magalhaes from Sao Paolo, Brazil and the Joao XXIII School; Khori Foster from Fort Lauderdale, FL and American Heritage Del Ray High; Keenan King from Boynton Beach, FL and Boynton Beach High; Kevyn McFarlane from Palm Beach, FL and Palm Beach Lakes High; Chris Farrar from Orlando, FL and Lake Howell High; Dean Thanawat from Melbourne, FL and Melbourne High; Manuel Goldberg from Fort Lauderdale, FL and Instituto River Plate in Buenos Aries, Argentina and sophomore Brandon Loafman from Melbourne, FL and Bayside High.
The new men's team has enjoyed great support from the college with President Jim Richey stopping by practice to chat with Coach Oliver Twelvetrees.
Up top the responsibility for offense falls to freshmen Jordan Muir from Bonnyton, Scotland and Kilmarnock Academy; Alejandro Diaz from Miami, FL and Miami Beach High; Johnathan Quintero from Port St. Lucie, FL and Treasure Coast High; Juan Ocampo, from Boca Raton, FL and Spanish River High; Romario Grant from Melbourne, FL and Melbourne High; and James Togbah from Monrovia Liberia and Hendersonville, TN and Beech Senior High.
Goalkeeping will be the responsibility of freshmen Justin Walker from Palm Beach, FL and Treasure Coast High and Jorge Madera from Sanger, CA and Sanger High.
Foster believes the team has embraced the difficulties of being a first-year program.
"It's always a challenge coming to a new program, meeting new players and different coaching staff and everything but so far it's been great," Foster said. "I'm loving my teammates, the coaching. We have great talent here. I'm just really excited about the upcoming season. It's looking great.
"It's only been two weeks together and we're already showing a lot of team chemistry, off the field as well. It's going really good. I think we should do some big things."
"So far it's been very, very good," McFarlane said. "Coach Twelvetrees is pushing us really hard and we really appreciate it. Going into the season we're very confident. Hopefully we'll keep on doing the hard work.
"The strengths of this team . . . the defense is really strong. We have a couple good quality players in the midfield area. Up top we have Jordan. It's fantastic, it's great."
But getting to this point has been a test of will, strength and perseverence.
"We've done a lot more physical work than high school by far," Foster said. "It's only been two weeks and this is more work than you've probably done in high school the whole year."
Twelvetrees is being assisted by Josh Schirmer.