Cardinals feature plenty of new faces in 2011

WASHINGTON – With back-to-back conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances, the bar has been set rather high for the CUA men's soccer program.  The Cardinals enter 2011 with plenty of new faces however, including eight freshmen that will look to make an impact on a team that has won 41 matches over the past three seasons.

Head Coach Travis Beauchamp, now in his fifth season, and the Cardinals reported for preseason practice earlier this week and have already played one scrimmage.  Beauchamp was pleased with the level of fitness his student-athletes came to campus with.

"For the most part it's gone pretty well, most of the guys came back fit, which is big for us because we haven't had to work too much on fitness, but rather assessing players and things like that."

After having a team that featured eight seniors in 2010, CUA's roster is much younger this time around.  "It's tough with the younger guys because they don't know our system yet, so we need to take time and teach them what the demands are."

The Cardinals had their first scrimmage of the preseason on Tuesday afternoon and will play another on Thursday evening, allowing Beauchamp the opportunity to evaluate his team in a competitive situation. 

"In the first scrimmage we just wanted to make sure we were organized defensively.  We only had three days (of practice), and it showed because I thought we did well defensively, but once we got the ball we didn't really have a clue."

CUA opens the 2011 season with a pair of tough matches at the CNU Tournament in Newport News, Virginia.  The Cardinals will take on Christopher Newport on Friday, September 2 beginning at 7:30 p.m. and the next day CUA will face Virginia Wesleyan at 5.

Beauchamp offered his thoughts on the difficult early season schedule.  "The hope is that we can learn from it.  We're going to get into the pace of it right away; there are no better teams in the country than the ones we're facing the first couple of weeks of the season, so it gets our mindset in the right place, especially with a young team."

See what else Beauchamp had to say regarding the 2011 Cardinals below.


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