State Fair Community College Roadrunners Soccer Head Coach Jaime Beltran likes what he has seen during the student-athletes’ preseason practice. 

“So far they’ve been working really hard,” said Beltran. “We had a very successful fitness test this year; everyone showed up in shape. That has allowed us to get right into the soccer side of things and not have to dedicate a lot of time to getting fit. They have been dedicated to doing things the right way. They are listening and being coachable. If that goes on throughout the rest of the year, we will be in wonderful shape.”

SFCC will open their regular season on Aug. 24 at Scott Community College. The Roadrunners open the home portion of their schedule with a game against Northeast Community College at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3.

Coach Beltran believes that his team will employ its traditional style of play this season.

“We want to be solid defensively,” said Beltran. “We’re going to work hard to make sure that everyone knows their role in getting the ball back; it is not just the back line that plays defense. The whole team plays defense. We want to be a quick counterattacking team, and when the counterattack is not there, we are going to try to keep possession of the ball and deny the other team the ball.”

Beltran has been happy with the leadership shown by returners Leonardo Camatta and Kenzo Florio.

“Those two took it upon themselves to communicate with the other guys over the summer,” said Beltran. “They’ve made a big effort in showing leadership. We are also looking forward to them taking a big step on the field as well.”

State Fair will open the season with a fairly young team on the field. SFCC will need contributions from a lot of new players to the program.

“We have had a veteran team the last two years,” said Beltran. “We had some guys who got a third year because of the COVID year that was granted. So, we have a young team this year. One player who has shown a lot at practice that we were excited to see because he adds a lot to our team is Ollie Bell. He has shown some definite potential as a center back. Another newcomer that we’re excited about is Ben Bailie who is most likely going to be one of our attacking midfielders. They are not the only two players who have done well, but they are two players who have really shown well. We have a couple of players recovering from injuries that we’re hoping to see big things from. They just haven’t had a chance to do it yet.”

Coach Beltran and his team have some goals they want to accomplish this season.

“Our first goal is to have a winning season,” said Beltran. “We want to finish in the top two in the region in the regular season. The teams that finish in the top two in the regular season get a bye directly into the semifinal round of the region tournament. All our goals keep building on each other and as soon as one is accomplished there is always another one to work toward.”

Beltran sees a few keys to accomplishing his team goals for the season.

“We need to have that cohesiveness as a team,” said Beltran. “We need to put the team before self. That is a big thing that I feel we’ve addressed a lot so far this year. If every individual is committed to helping his brothers on the field, everything else gets easier.”

Coach Beltran and the Roadrunners are looking forward to the upcoming season.

“I hope we have a really good season,” said Beltran. “We’re going to try to put the best product on the field and hope we get students, faculty and fans to come out to support us. We appreciate everyone who comes out and helps us have a home-field advantage.”

-- David Rohrbach, SFCC Athletics 

More From AM 1050 KSIS