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Warriors return experience, welcome new talent

Warriors return experience, welcome new talent

Trevor Grimbleby of Cal State Stanislaus men’s soccer is looking for another promising year under coach Dana Taylor, who welcomes back nine returning starters and a large group of freshmen.

POSTED August 16, 2011 9:44 p.m.

Dana Taylor is entering his third season as the head coach of the Cal State Stanislaus men’s soccer team. In 2009, he left a Division I power — Oregon State — for Turlock, in hopes of taking the Warriors toward national prominence.

He’s getting there.

This week signified the beginning of the men’s soccer season. After Tuesday morning’s workout at the school’s practice facility, just the third practice session of the young season, Taylor said this year’s squad is ahead of last year’s. But he’s not in a rush to make predications, though he returns nine starters and welcomes a batch of eager and talented newcomers, including recent high school graduates from the Turlock area in forward Jose Barajas (Turlock) and midfielder Paul Oei (Denair).

“It’s too early to tell,” he said, “but we’re stronger.”

The first real indicator of this season comes Friday afternoon, when the Warriors play a scrimmage at Sacramento State. The scrimmage, Taylor said, will allow the newcomers and the other unproven talent a chance to shine.

“I think they’re all making an impact. It’s just to what degree,” Taylor added about the new guys. “Do they start? Do they come in as subs? Do they travel? And that’s what next week is all about.”

The Warriors begin the regular season on Sept. 2, when they host Fresno Pacific at 7 p.m.

Making this Warriors team won’t be an easy task. Since Taylor took over two years ago, they’ve notched two consecutive winning seasons, including a 10-5-3 record in 2010. That year, they finished third in the California Collegiate Athletic Association North Division, narrowly missing the conference tournament.

Entering this season, the Warriors boast a recruiting class with talent from across California and Oregon and from nationally recognized club teams. They also introduce a new assistant coach in Morgan Cathey, who has played and coached at the professional level. With that kind of team makeover, the Warriors have high expectations for themselves.

“We have a lot of new guys who are ready to play at this level,” said Stanislaus defender Trevor Grimbleby, referring to a group of 15 freshmen and one transfer. “There’s no need to build them up. They’re ready to go in and play. That’ll help us with a lot of depth.”

The Warriors also welcome back nine seniors, indicating that this group has the experience to move forward with the goal of capturing the conference title. TJ Grewal is one of them, as he’s coming off a season in which the defender earned second-team all-conference honors.

“Like Coach said, ‘Every year, we get better and better,’ ” Grewal said. “Anyone can play at anytime. We don’t have to worry about not having someone starting and to fill spots.”

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.

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