With only four games left in the season, Texas men’s club soccer hopes to make a final push to make it to the regional tournament.
After a win against Texas Tech and ties to SMU and Texas State in conference play, Mariano Aufiero, club president and senior team captain, said the team is well-positioned to make it into the tournament.
“I think we’re still in a position to be competitive and to advance to regionals and to win regionals and go on to nationals,” Aufiero said. “We’ve got a pretty solid chance.”
The club has a history of success when it comes to tournament play, making the regional tournament several times in recent years. The team has also advanced to the national tournament in the past.
“Since I’ve been here, we’ve been pretty competitive,” Aufiero said. “We’ve come in either first, second or third place in the league and we’ve always gone to the regional tournament and [usually] won a bid to nationals.”
The club looks to make a deep run again this year despite a large number of young players.
“We had a lot of turnover this year, so we’re a pretty young team,” Aufiero said. “The first game, there were flashes of what the team could really be. So I think we’re still a work in progress, but I’m extremely confident.”
However, the team has struggled to finish on chances to score because of the inexperience of the squad.
“We’ve been creating a lot of chances and opportunities to score, but we cannot actually score,” Aufiero said. “Against Texas Tech we scored three goals, so hopefully that shook up some of the cobwebs.”
In addition to creating scoring opportunities, Aufiero said the team is skilled in technical aspects of the game.
“Technically, I think we’re better than almost any other team that we play against,” Aufiero said. “Skillwise, our touch on the ball, our control of the ball, the range of passes we make; I think that’s where we stand out.”
Because of these positive aspects, Aufiero said he believes the team will continue to improve this year and into the future.
“Every year I’ve been here, the talent at the club has gotten greater and just the overall level of the players that are on the team has gotten better,” Aufiero said. “I think we’re a pretty talented team.”
The team will play its last conference home game of the season against Rice on Oct. 16 at Whitaker Field.