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By Rod Thornburgl / Special to The Californian
BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Cal State Bakersfield unveils its men's soccer team to the public today at 7 p.m. when the Roadrunners host Trinity Western University from British Columbia on the CSUB Main Soccer Field.
The match is an exhibition, so the outcome and statistics won't count toward CSUB's season totals.
In fact, it is little more than a practice for the Roadrunners, according to Simon Tobin, who is starting his 27th season at CSUB.
CSUB held its first official practice of the season on Friday.
"We'll practice Saturday morning," Tobin said. "It'll be treated as double-days. We just wanted to bring in an opponent so we're not playing ... ourselves."
This is a season of transition for CSUB. The Roadrunners, who have been competing in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, will play their inaugural season in the Western Athletic Conference. CSUB went 9-5-5 last season, including 6-3-1 in the conference.
The WAC, which hasn't had men's soccer in recent years, consists of six former MPSF members. CSUB was scheduled to join the Pac-12 Conference as a men's soccer affiliate member this season prior to the WAC adding the sport.
The Roadrunners will need to replace five players from last season's team who signed professional contracts, including forward Gyasi Zardes, now with the L.A. Galaxy, whom Tobin calls the finest player he's ever coached. Zardes had 15 goals and nine assists last season.
"We've lost a lot of very good, experienced players that established us as a good Division I program," Tobin said. "Now we have a lot of new blood as we look to the future."
There are 11 returnees, which will help offset the loss of Zardes, Chuy Sanchez, Kory Kindle, Justin Finch and goalkeeper Eric Shannon to the pro ranks.
Scoring "will be more spread out," Tobin said. "Now we have a lot of weapons from all over the field, a lot more options. This year we'll play differently. We think we'll be successful."
Some of the notable returnees are midfielders Lucas Dall'Orso, Joe Masumiya and Christian Duarte and defenders Scott Luedtke, Alex Flores and James Garces.
Anthony Perez, Eric Garcia and Hector Valdez are battling to replace Shannon as starting goalkeeper, a position Shannon held for three seasons.
CSUB has another home exhibition on Aug. 29 vs. The Master's College. The season openeer is Sept. 1 at Denver.