The Hopes of UMKC soccer

Dan Moreno

Photo credit: Matt Cook

The men and women’s soccer programs will make their debut in the Western Athletic Conference this season.

The men’s head coach Rick Benben has put together a team of 29 players in what will be his 16th consecutive season at UMKC.

Twelve players have been added to the roster: two goalkeepers, two defenders, five midfielders and three forwards.

Topping the list is junior Tato Chiaparro, who was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and transferred from Lewis and Clark Community College.

“Tato is a great forward,” Benben said. “He will add many good things to the team.”

Benben knows the competition will be important to determine what players will be included the starting 11 lineup.

“It is a long list of players; that’s why they need to do their best to be in the starting lineup,” Benben said. “It is pretty hard to say that all of the guys will be able to play throughout the season, especially because we will have a base of approximately 14 players.”

Success is the only thing in senior Guerrero Pino’s mind as he plays his last season for the Roos.

“We are really excited to come back after a long summer,” Pino said. “The team looks really strong, really positive and I believe we will do big things this season. The only thing we want is to bring the championship to Kansas City and we already started preparing for that to happen.”

The Roos will open the regular season at home on Aug. 31 against Wisconsin, to be followed by four consecutive matches on the road in September

The women’s soccer team also opened its preseason training last week, and Head Coach Chris Cissell seems ready to start what he thinks will be a great season.

“I feel great. It is my third year here and the girls are looking good,” Cissell said. “I think we are off to a great start. The girls came in fit. They took their summer workouts seriously.”

Cissell was also positive about the switch to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).

“Switching over to the WAC is only positive,” Cissell said.

“I think this change is great: the girls are excited to travel to different places like Seattle or New Mexico but also because it will be a good challenge for us to play against very competitive teams,” Cissell said. “We might not know our new rivals really good because we got used to our rivals in The Summit League, but they don’t know us either, so that is another positive fact.”

Cissell lost 10 players who graduated last spring, but added four freshmen to the team.

“We had a big class of graduates last season, but this year we added four girls who have been doing great,” Cissell said. “Right now we have 24 players on the roster, which is a great number for college soccer.”

Senior Taylor Bare will be playing her last season as a Roo, and will try to repeat last year’s success where she appeared in all 18 games and led the team in points (13) and goals (6).

On the other hand, freshmen Chloe Weishaar, Emily Herndon, Lauren Zach and Morgan Perkins – all of whom were recruited in the greater Kansas City area – will try to earn a spot in Cissell’s starting lineup.

The Lady Roos will open their season Aug. 23 against SIU-Edwardsville at 7 p.m.