Men's Soccer Takes To Pitch As Training Begins For 2019

San José, Calif. – Under a bright sunshine and cloudless sky, Tuesday morning ushered in the start of training for the San José State University men's soccer team as it begins preparations for the 2019 campaign.

Led by sixth-year head coach Simon Tobin, the Spartans are looking to build on last year's strong postseason run that took the program to the WAC title match for a second straight season. 

"It was a good day," said Tobin after the first practice session. "We're coming off a good spring and we have a lot of returners so we don't have to start everything over again. Most of them have been through this routine for a couple of years now so they are used to it." 

The 16 returning letterwinners and 11 newcomers are gearing up for a pair of exhibition matches (at California on August 24 and vs. Holy Cross on August 27) before the regular season begins at the Spartan Soccer Complex on August 30 against Sacramento State. 

Among the returners are a trio of All-WAC selections from a year ago in the form of upperclassmen Omar Lemus, Willy Miranda and Max Allen. Lemus led the team in all major categories in 2018, tallying 16 points on six goals and four assists. Miranda was just behind his teammate with three goals and seven points, while Allen dominated in the center of the pitch and started all 20 games he appeared in. Also back is defender Jeff Dukes, who has already logged over 5,000 minutes as he enters his senior season in San José.

"They seem like a good group of boys and players," Allen said. "Today was a good start and everyone is willing to compete. They all seem hungry and that's what this team needs."

To go along with the bevy of returners, Tobin's team has also reloaded with a group of 11 newcomers. Eight freshmen and trio of incoming transfers make up the group that shined bright on day one. 

"We have a lot of returners so we got to see how the new ones are fitting in and how long it may be before they can make a contribution," said Tobin. "All of the newcomers applied themselves quite well though. I would say that was the most pleasing thing today." 

SJSU will host eight regular season matches at the Spartan Soccer Complex in 2019, a slate that includes a pair of top-20 teams in Saint Mary's (September 9) and Air Force (October 27). The August 30 opener against the Hornets is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. 

Individual game tickets to men's soccer matches are on sale via Ticketmaster charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000 or online at Group ticket inquiries should be made to (408) 924-SJTX (7589).