Anticipation Building Up For AU Alumni Soccer Game

Anticipation Building Up For AU Alumni Soccer Game

April 15, 2009 – Familiar faces mixed with old faces -- though some might object -- will reunite this weekend in Clinton for the inaugural Ashford University Alumni Soccer Game organized by Saints’ coaches Mick Regan and Richard Markham.

The women’s game is scheduled to begin at noon on Saturday, April 18, followed by the men’s game at 2 p.m., with a cookout and bean-bag tournament wrapping up the festivities.

Leading up to the fun-filled weekend will be the annual team banquet held on Friday evening to celebrate achievements of the 2008 campaign.

The games have been generating buzz around the Ashford campus for some time, with friendly ribbing already commencing on Facebook, the popular social-networking site. As many as 25 alumnae are expected to return to AU this weekend, pouring in from different points over the Midwest.

It’s an unprecedented event in the storied AU soccer program that has both coaches envisioning immediate future growth.

“It’s always important to have good alumni support and we’ve never had that with this program,” said Regan, the AU women’s head coach. “The kids want to come back and it’s another spring game where we don’t have to play against ourselves. For our women, it represents one week before a big spring game against Northern Iowa.”

Regan would like to eventually implement a newsletter to keep alumni up-to-date on recruiting. He also recently discovered an Ashford alum who is now the director of a soccer club in Canada and involved in the construction of a $10 million complex -- an ideal international pipeline for recruiting.

Regan had four players with Canadian roots on his 2008 roster and is continually diversifying his squad by branching out to the East and West Coast.

Markham gained responsibilities of the men’s team in late-January and is continuing to build on Regan’s investments in the program.

“Being a new coach, I’d like to see it as a bonding from the old to the new,” added Markham. “The quality of players that we’ve been bringing in has been changing and Mick (Regan) has done a phenomenal job of bringing kids in who can flat out play.”

Markham’s roster will be facing at least four alumnae that have collected All-MCC recognition during their stints at Ashford.

Clay Benore (13 goals in 2008) qualifies as an alum even though he graduates in May and will help headline the men’s alums along with current Graduate Assistant Coach Cale Clark, Casey Vieria and former three-year captain Shaun Moore.

One of the players to keep an eye out for is Vieria, who Markham says has a “hammer on him for a shot” when he’s near the goal.

“Clay’s got something to prove out there,” commented Markham. “He knows all the guys and he’ll be dangerous. Cale (Clark) will be going strong to not get destroyed and Casey (Vieria) is deceptively quick.”

There won’t be as much huffing and puffing as some might expect, but the alums on both sides will be looking to play the role of spoiler as wily veterans. “I think the old-timers will be out there to make a point,” said Markham. “They’re like big brothers or sisters coming in against the little siblings, but they’re still in prime condition, for the most part from their collegiate careers. The alums are looking forward to this to relive the glory days -- which are getting further and further away.”

Regan’s team that includes 2008 MCC Newcomer of the Year Abbye Garcia and three conference honorable-mention selections in Cassy Broderick, Sam Green and Erika Jakobsen will be facing the likes of his own assistant coach, Betsy West, a two-time All-American at St. Xavier, and Claire Nestor, a four-time All-MCC honoree while at Ashford.

“Claire (Nestor) was here my first week on the job,” said Regan. “She endured an 0-16 season and could’ve played for any of the other schools in our conference if she wanted to.”

Brackets have been already prepared by Markham for as many as 64 teams in the bean-bag tournament where many players have prematurely declared themselves as winner.

Both coaches feel confident in their team’s chances on Saturday, but Markham might have provided the bulletin-board material by predicting a 3-0 shutout in favor of his own team.

Regan, who may be officiating during the men’s game, had a simple piece of advice for the alums if they want to win.

“I’m accepting bribes,” he joked.

April 15, 2009 – Familiar faces mixed with old faces -- though some might object -- will reunite this weekend in Clinton for the inaugural Ashford University Alumni Soccer Game organized by Saints’ coaches Mick Regan and Richard Markham.

The women’s game is scheduled to begin at noon on Saturday, April 18, followed by the men’s game at 2 p.m., with a cookout and bean-bag tournament wrapping up the festivities.

Leading up to the fun-filled weekend will be the annual team banquet held on Friday evening to celebrate achievements of the 2008 campaign.

The games have been generating buzz around the Ashford campus for some time, with friendly ribbing already commencing on Facebook, the popular social-networking site. As many as 25 alumnae are expected to return to AU this weekend, pouring in from different points over the Midwest.

It’s an unprecedented event in the storied AU soccer program that has both coaches envisioning immediate future growth.

“It’s always important to have good alumni support and we’ve never had that with this program,” said Regan, the AU women’s head coach. “The kids want to come back and it’s another spring game where we don’t have to play against ourselves. For our women, it represents one week before a big spring game against Northern Iowa.”

Regan would like to eventually implement a newsletter to keep alumni up-to-date on recruiting. He also recently discovered an Ashford alum who is now the director of a soccer club in Canada and involved in the construction of a $10 million complex -- an ideal international pipeline for recruiting.

Regan had four players with Canadian roots on his 2008 roster and is continually diversifying his squad by branching out to the East and West Coast.

Markham gained responsibilities of the men’s team in late-January and is continuing to build on Regan’s investments in the program.

“Being a new coach, I’d like to see it as a bonding from the old to the new,” added Markham. “The quality of players that we’ve been bringing in has been changing and Mick (Regan) has done a phenomenal job of bringing kids in who can flat out play.”

Markham’s roster will be facing at least four alumnae that have collected All-MCC recognition during their stints at Ashford.

Clay Benore (13 goals in 2008) qualifies as an alum even though he graduates in May and will help headline the men’s alums along with current Graduate Assistant Coach Cale Clark, Casey Vieria and former three-year captain Shaun Moore.

One of the players to keep an eye out for is Vieria, who Markham says has a “hammer on him for a shot” when he’s near the goal.

“Clay’s got something to prove out there,” commented Markham. “He knows all the guys and he’ll be dangerous. Cale (Clark) will be going strong to not get destroyed and Casey (Vieria) is deceptively quick.”

There won’t be as much huffing and puffing as some might expect, but the alums on both sides will be looking to play the role of spoiler as wily veterans. “I think the old-timers will be out there to make a point,” said Markham. “They’re like big brothers or sisters coming in against the little siblings, but they’re still in prime condition, for the most part from their collegiate careers. The alums are looking forward to this to relive the glory days -- which are getting further and further away.”

Regan’s team that includes 2008 MCC Newcomer of the Year Abbye Garcia and three conference honorable-mention selections in Cassy Broderick, Sam Green and Erika Jakobsen will be facing the likes of his own assistant coach, Betsy West, a two-time All-American at St. Xavier, and Claire Nestor, a four-time All-MCC honoree while at Ashford.

“Claire (Nestor) was here my first week on the job,” said Regan. “She endured an 0-16 season and could’ve played for any of the other schools in our conference if she wanted to.”

Brackets have been already prepared by Markham for as many as 64 teams in the bean-bag tournament where many players have prematurely declared themselves as winner.

Both coaches feel confident in their team’s chances on Saturday, but Markham might have provided the bulletin-board material by predicting a 3-0 shutout in favor of his own team.

Regan, who may be officiating during the men’s game, had a simple piece of advice for the alums if they want to win.

“I’m accepting bribes,” he joked.