NEWBERRY — With a new head coach and 14 new additions to its roster, the Newberry men’s soccer team is filled with excitement and high expectations for a new season.
“There’s a genuine excitement surrounding this program right now,” said first-year head coach Bryce Cooper, who was hired in January after serving as assistant men’s soccer coach at Duquesne University for the past three seasons.
While with Duquesne, the Dukes twice qualified for the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament with 10 players earning all-A10 honors and one earning Academic All-America.
“With the renovations to both the stadium and the locker room this summer and the addition of 14 new players, this team has a new found belief and desire to change the perception of Newberry soccer,” Cooper said. “We know it won’t be easy with the likes of perennial powers like Carson-Newman, Wingate, and Lincoln Memorial on the slate, but we are confident with the additions we’ve made and the new habits we’ve formed that we will be able to compete at a high level this year and surprise a few teams.
“I expect some of our incoming players to not only add some quality but bring some new energy and intensity to the team, which will raise the overall level,” he added. “It should be a very exciting and rewarding year for us.”
2016 Team Captains
Juan Villa-Bailey, Nolan Hendrix and Brad Dixon have been named the team captains for the year.
“Each brings different qualities to the group and a different dynamic but ultimately each leads by example and represents the program well both on and off the field,” Cooper said. “They understand what it will take to help us achieve our goal of making the South Atlantic Conference tournament and setting new standards for this program. With the blend of our new additions and our returning players combined with the preparations we’ve put in over the summer I’m very confident we’ll reach our goals.”
Hendrix is a returning senior who started all 17 matches for the Wolves in 2015 while topping the 1,400-minute mark to rank second on the team.
Brad Dixon, a returning sophomore, started in net for 14 matches for the Wolves’ last season. He recorded 78 saves and logged 1359 minutes.
Juan Villa-Bailey is a redshirt sophomore with strong leadership qualities and is expected to make a large impact in 2016.
The Wolves open their season on Sept. 1 at Georgia Southwestern. The home opener is set for 4 p.m. Sept. 3 vs. Erskine.
This release was provided by Newberry College.