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A&M-San Antonio soccer teams prepare to make history

A&M-San Antonio soccer teams prepare to make history - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Texas A&M University-San Antonio's 2021-2022 Women's Soccer team. The team's first season kicks off August 21. Photo by Joshua Villagomez

Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s men’s and women’s soccer teams will kick off their inaugural season on the road against Texas Wesleyan University at Martin Field in Fort Worth. The women’s team will compete at  5 p.m. and the men’s team at 7 p.m. on August 21. 

In preparation for their historic season the university held a media day meet-and-greet event for both men’s and women’s soccer teams on August 13. Both teams and coaches gathered in the campus courtyard to speak with The Mesquite.

A&M-San Antonio was the first state university in San Antonio to add soccer to their athletic program in August 2020 according to University Communications at A&M-San Antonio. The Jags’ season was postponed however, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The women’s team will be led by head coach Leslie Pierce. Pierce, an Austin native, has had experience coaching at high school, college and the professional level in the Women’s Premier League. Pierce became head coach of A&M-San Antonio’s women’s team in April 2020.

Pierce said she believes building a solid team chemistry is going to be key to their success this season.

“We’ve been practicing for three days now and the chemistry is really starting to grow and we’re starting to come together,” Pierce said. “They’re a very vocal team, which is great; half of soccer is chemistry if not more. With a brand-new team, 25 players coming from all over Texas, it takes awhile to really build that chemistry, but I think we’re going to do it quickly. The longer we’re together, the stronger it’s going to get.” 

The men’s team will be led by head coach Kyle Beard. Beard, Texas native, has had experience coaching soccer for club teams, high school and semi-professionally in the Rwandan Football Federation. 

“We’re going to be the shoulders that the next team is standing on so it’s about how we represent the school and how we represent the city,” Beard said. 

In preparation for the season, the A&M-San Antonio men’s team hosted a local tryout match and scrimmage against Coastal Bend College on Aug. 16.

The tryout game ended with A&M-San Antonio winning in an effort that Beard described as “very professionally done.” While that local win doesn’t determine any future results, it gets the program started off in the right direction, Beard said.

With the teams’ first official game upcoming, the Jags are excited to start their inaugural season.

Joe Kamuntu, CSI/cyber security sophomore, plays center back defender for the men’s team.

“I’m looking forward to establishing a solid foundation on defense,” Kamuntu said, describing how he’ll help the team. Kamuntu believes being a team player means, “being selfless, someone that everyone else can rely on and being responsible for myself and others.”

Rafael Ruiz, business junior, also plays center back defender for the men’s team.

“I like to defend and be the leader in the back defending my team,” Ruiz said. “I’m looking forward to winning as a team, humbling myself and keeping a positive mind always.”

Krystal Goytia, educational psychology sophomore, is a forward and one of the women’s team captains. Goytia spoke about how the team will showcase its cohesiveness during the season. 

“Working together as a team, getting to know each other, passing, controlling possessions and the amount of goals we can score,” Goytia said.

Yasmine Cuadra, business management senior, is the midfielder and team captain for the women’s team. Cuadra talked about showcasing her competitiveness this season. 

“Because we’re a new team most of our opponents and competition are going to look at us and think, ‘They’re going to be easy and nothing to worry about,’ and we’re here to break that mindset, and go out there and just kill it.” Cuadra said. 

Cuadra also described how important it is to be a team player.

“To be a team player means to be able to listen to everyone and be there for every person on the team,” Cuadra said. “To be there on and off the field and guide them to do whatever they need to do.”

For more information and news about A&M-San Antonio’s Men’s and Women’s soccer teams, visit their social media accounts on Instagram @tamusa_menssoccer and @tamusawomenssoccer. Or follow the teams’ coverage @tamusasports on all other media sources.

This story was updated 3:34 p.m. Sept. 10. A previous version of this story included a misspelling of Yasmine Cuadra’s name as “Yasmin” and the men’s golf team’s socials instead of the men’s soccer teams.

About the Author

Aaron Reff
Aaron Reff received an associate degree in Radio, Television, & Broadcasting at San Antonio College for the potential chance to work in broadcasting, primarily sports related. He is pursuing a bachelor's degree in communications at Texas A&M University-San Antonio to begin a career as a sports analyst. Beginning with an entry-level position or internship with a company or television station, he plans on getting a start in the industry at an early age. Ultimately, he would like to become a sports writer, columnist, analyst and/or copywriter. If he has a change of heart, he would like to be a cameraman.

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