Soccer team settled, suited for success

By Lewis Hoffman published August 21, 2003

Last year at this point, the menâ€TMs soccer team at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs was in turmoil. The players were doing their best to recall their coach, the now exited Eddy Dietz. Amidst the dysfunction at the onset of the season, wins were hard to come by for the teamâ€"and imminent change was doubtful.

What a difference a year makes.

A new head coach, a new system, and a new morale have taken over this year. “Itâ€TMs nice to have fun out here,” said senior captain Jared Blackney. “I get excited when I think about what this team can do this year, and ever guy out here is relieved to know that we have a composed coach to work with.”

Bringing composure to the table was the first step for head coach Flavio Mazzetti. Now, the time to prepare for the season has arrived. “These guys are working hard, and playing with heart,” said Mazzetti who is entering his first year with the Mountain Lions.

Mazzetti, the head coach at Air Academy High School before coming to CU-Colorado Springs is enjoying working with college athletes.

“These young men know the gameâ€"their mature and disciplined, which makes working with them fun,” said Mazzetti. “When we start the season, the team will just have to take it a game at a time.”

Especially for the first two games, when the team will travel to Texas to face two nationally ranked teams: Midwestern State and West Texas A&M.

Traveling to play in hot and humid conditions against two nationally ranked teams isnâ€TMt the easiest way to start a season, but donâ€TMt be surprised if the Mountain Lions come back with a win.

This soccer team has a solid defenseâ€"real solid.

The anchor of the defense is goalkeeper Matt Mitchell, a graduate of Pine Creek High School who has been playing soccer in Europe for the past two years. A few unsuccessful auditions with teams in Europe have led Mitchell back to the states to join the Mountain Lions.

“Matt has been coached by some of the best out there,” said assistant coach Adam Ewig, a graduate of CU-Colorado Springs and former leader of the Mountain Lion squad. “You can see it in his footworkâ€"itâ€TMs just textbook. This guy will win this team games, I guarantee it.”

A veteran offense, sprinkled with young talent will hopefully give the defense something to work with. Leading the way will be Blackney, who knows that with this team, he could be having an All American season.

“I want this team to succeed first off, but being an All-American is something that I will work hard to achieve,” said Blackney who had seven goals and four assists in 2002 at the forward position.

“(Blackney)has all the tools to become an All-American, now he just has to put it all together,” said Ewig when speaking about Blackneyâ€TMs upcoming season. “He should be fun to watch.”

Other scoring threats on the team worth watching are fifth year senior Ryan Slaughter and his teammate from Norway, Martin Kristiseter who is also playing his final season.

For the 2003 Mountain Lion soccer team, the opposing teams should be the only ones looking dysfunctional, and there is no doubting that.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Jared BlackneyJared Blackney11FJr.
Jared BlackneyJared Blackney11FSr.
Ryan SlaughterRyan Slaughter7FSr.
Martin KristiseterMartin Kristiseter20MF/FJr.
Martin KristiseterMartin Kristiseter10MF/FSr.
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