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Turlock Express jump into new year with new team
turlock express pic
Members of the Turlock Express and those still trying to earn a spot on the professional indoor soccer team warm up before a Thursday night practice. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

Turlock’s professional indoor soccer team, the Express, finished its second year in the Professional Arena Soccer League with a 9-7 record that included a division final appearance in the postseason after placing second in the Western Division, now Pacific Division.

“We did very well last year, we made the playoffs for the second year in a row. But as of right now, we did lose two of our top scorers to other teams in the free agent world but it looks like we can take care of it this year,” Turlock’s head coach Art Pulido said. “We got two great goalkeepers this year and I think we will be able to match this year like last. But since the divisions got split into three, not four, like last year, it will make it tougher for us; we just hope to make playoffs and go further this time.”

The Express, who are the smallest market team in the league, come into their third season as a professional squad without two of their top scorers from last year, Bronil Koochoie and Ivan Campos, both whom were lost to the free agency world.

“Koochoie and Campos were lost but our goalkeepers will help since we have two good ones. It is better to have more than one good goalie. It the best thing to have,” Pulido said.

This year, coach Pulido knows that his focal point will be on the defense as he comes in with multiple goalkeepers, Javier Rosales—a CSU Stanislaus graduate—along with North Carolina State standout, Mitchell Watson to help elevate and solidify the defense.

“This year we will definitely have a better defense and we still have our other scorers that were in the top 20,” Pulido said.

Martyn Arista and Jesse Horta will anchor the defense. Horta, who has been part of this squad for a couple of years will be a force to be reckoned with along with Arista, who will help tremendously, Pulido said.

Adrian Gutierrez and Arturo Pulido ranked in the top 20 for scoring last season, and should contribute immensely this upcoming season. Samuel Saldate  helps solidified one of the youngest franchises in league.

With tryouts still underway, there are currently only seven players signed to the team: Saldate, Rosales, Watson, Gutierrez, Pulido, Arista and Horta. By the time the season begins, the roster must be to about 20.

Coach Pulido knows it will be even tougher to repeat and perhaps come away with a title, but the hard working Express feel that they have the talent and ability to do so.

“We hope to produce the same results as last year, be a winning team and also represent; still,  the smallest market in the country, you know it looks like we're getting there,” Pulido said.

The Express will open up their 2013 campaign on Nov. 2, as they will host their league opponents, the Sacramento Surge with a starting time of 7:05 p.m. The Express play at Turlock Indoor Soccer, located at 500 S. Center St.