FLORENCE, S.C. – The Francis Marion University men’s soccer team enters its second week of preseason training in preparation for its 2004 season.
Head coach Murray Hartzler welcomes back 11 lettermen, including nine starters, from last season’s 9-10-0 squad.
Six freshmen and two red-shirt freshmen join the returnees. The newcomers include goalkeeper Robbie Curry of Manassas, Va., a product of Stonewall Jackson High School; forward Jeanpaul Coves of Silver Spring, Md., a graduate of DeMatha Catholic High School; and back Matthew Gourie of Midland, Ga., a product of Harris County High School. Both Curry and Coves were members of the Herndon Arsenal club team, while Gourie played for the CFC Redstar club program.
Three graduates of the Dante Alighieri Academy in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, are among the freshmen: forward Shondell Busby and midfielders Biagio Galle and Luca Forno. All three also competed on the C.S. Azzuri club team.
Red-shirt freshmen Troy Sink, a forward from Findlay, Ohio, and midfielder Jonathan Bartomioli (Bartlett, Ill.) both attended FMU last season, but did not play.
All-Region back Mike Greenaway heads the list of returning Patriots.
For at least one more season, the squad hopes to continue its roller-coaster ride in the Peach Belt Conference. FMU captured the 2000 PBC regular-season crown, finished seventh in 2001, placed first in 2002, and finished sixth in 2003.
Last year’s squad recorded six shutouts, and junior keeper Jonathan Runion also returns. After opening the season with seven wins in 10 matches, the Patriots dropped seven of their final nine matches. Five of the team’s 10 defeats were by one goal, and the Patriot defense allowed only seven goals over the final five matches.
Francis Marion opens its 2004 slate on Aug. 27-28 when the Patriots compete in the Lees-McRae Soccer Classic in Banner Elk, N.C. FMU plays Cumberland College on Aug. 27 at 5 p.m. and the host school on Aug. 28 at 5:30 p.m.
The Patriots’ home opener will be against Queens University of Charlotte on Saturday, Sept. 4, at 2 p.m.