PRESCOTT, Ariz. – It has been a long offseason but Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Ariz.) men's soccer are geared up for another run at the California Pacific Conference Championship after bringing in eight new faces to the already talented squad.
Last season the Eagles were one win away from making their way back to the NAIA National Tournament for the first time in a number of years before falling in the conference championship game. They made quite the run in the tournament, beating Benedictine-Mesa and regular season champions UC-Merced in an overtime thriller. The mix of returners and incoming players will surely give the Eagles a chance at redemption in 2019.
First is Lucas Garcia Bustillo (FR/Barcelona, Spain). The Spaniard brings a solid soccer background to the Eagles after winning three provincial league championships for the British School of Barcelona. Garcia-Bustillo also was nom0inated for the Castelldefels' U18 Sportsman of the Year in 2017. He will be studying with the Aerospace Engineering department.
"Lucas is going to be a player (that) players enjoy playing with," men's soccer head coach Dan Balaguero said. "He is very clever on the ball and can connect passes all day."
Another international student in this class coming to Prescott is David Calle (FR/Madrid, Spain). Calle did not participate in sports at IES Gabriela Mistral as the school did not have athletics but the defender will have to find a way to mix in with the talented back line the Eagles are bringing back. Once on campus, Calle will join the Aerospace Engineering department.
"I'm also really looking forward to working with David," remarked Balaguero. "He reads the game so well and will be a great addition to the vital center back position."
Next is Trevor Cargill (FR/Prescott, Ariz.) who comes to ERAU from right down Willow Creek Road. The former Badger was a first team all-state and all-region selection with Prescott HS. In his final season with the team, he helped lead PHS to the Arizona state championship. At this point Cargill will study Mechanical Engineering.
Cargill's teammate, Ryan Doyle (FR/Prescott, Ariz.) will also be joining the Eagles in the fall. Doyle was instrumental in the Badgers state championship push in 2018-19 and was selected to the All-Arizona second team both his junior and senior year. The PHS alumnus will study mechanical engineering.
"I'm excited to add 2 local players," continued Balaguero. "I have known them both for some time. I expect them both to compete right away."
Another local Arizonan, Will Barmettler (FR/Gilbert, Ariz.) will join the Eagles after a successful career at Highland. Not only did the former Hawk play soccer but he also ran and captained the Cross Country and Track and Field teams. When not on the pitch with HHS, you might have seen him playing with Arizona Arsenal.
"Look for Will to provide options at numerous positions he is athletic along with being good technically and tactically," praised the head coach.
Coming from the Pacific Northwest is Connor Timko (FR/Ellensburg, Wash.). The goalkeeper has seen a lot of good soccer playing with the Seattle Sounders affiliate in Yakima, Washington among other talented clubs. He has even attended a clinic for goalkeepers with the UEFA Champions League Semi-Finalists AFC Ajax (Ned.). At ERAU, Timko will study Aeronautical Science.
The last of the three international students coming to play with the Eagles is Michal Serdynski (FR/Szczecin, Poland). The Polish keeper will add depth but will need to compete with the others at the position to find time on the pitch. Serdyński is no slouch in goal and won the award for the Best Goalkeeper at the Benfica Lisbon Elite training camp in 2018. He will study Business Administration at ERAU.
Lucas Marin (FR/Ramona, Calif.) will have to fight for time in goal this season, as he is the third keeper that the Eagles have brought in. The California keeper was Ramona HS's varsity defensive player of the year and was a league finalist in track and field. He will study in the Electrical Engineering department.
"It's a class which is dominated by defense." Balaguero said. "Goalkeeping was the area we knew we had to reinforce. It should be a great battle to see who wins the job."
ERAU will take on Yavapai College on August 14 at 7:00 pm MST in their first scrimmage of the season before heading to Santa Barbara to start their season.