UIW Cardinals Men’s Soccer Team had a very disappointing season in 2018. There is no way to sugarcoat it when the program was 2-14-1 in 2018. No doubt, the Cardinals are looking to step it up this season and improve, a big name in the San Antonio soccer scene was brought on as an assistant to help right the ship.
Chris Fidler is entering his second year as interim coach for the Cardinals after spending five years as assistant coach. The big name signing to the staff was Stephen McCarthy, former San Antonio FC centerback aka Big Macca. “I am very excited for this new challenge and feel extremely blessed to be given an opportunity at such a prestigious university,” McCarthy said. “I cannot wait to get started working with the guys.” from a UIW press release back in January.
New Player Additions
UIW signed six players over the summer, three with international backgrounds, two from Texas and one from California. The most interesting of the incoming players may be Andres Arce, the goalkeeper from Cuidad Victoria, Mexico. Andres is coming from Bethel University in Indiana where they had a successful 14-9-1 season in 2018 and played with the U16 Pumas.
Koen Vos is a junior transferring from Point University where he recorded nine goals and six assists in his two years at Point. Vos is a native of Budel, Netherlands and played for the PSV Eindhoven and S.V. Budel youth academies.
Alec Rodriguez is an incoming freshman from Arizona and hometown is Kaiserslautern, Germany. Was named to all-region first team as a junior and senior in high school. Alec comes in at 6’3″ and the striker impressed Coach Fidler, “Alex brings an extra dimension to our attack and has the physical attributes to succeed at the Division I level. He scored a number of goals throughout his pre-college career. He impressed myself and my staff earlier this year when we watched him play.” – Coach Fidler from a UIW press release in June.
Returning Key Player:
Antonio Savi led the Cardinals last year with six goals and one assist in 13 matches with 7 starts. Savi, a Brazilian native, logged in 536 minutes. The striker is coming into his junior year and could benefit from newcomer Alec Rodriguez.
We honestly can’t expect miracles from UIW but with the recent players coming in, a nice addition to the coaching staff and year of head coaching experience for Fidler, we should see UIW men’s soccer improve in 2019. A five or six win season while remaining competitive should be considered success. Fidler and his coaching staff need to cement a strong foundation for the future of the program. UIW also needs to tap into the local talent, San Antonio has become a hotbed for youth soccer, and high caliber talent is starting to emerge from “Military City, USA”.
The 2019 season starts facing St. Edwards at home on August 21st and an inter-city match versus Trinity on August 25th. Western Athletic Conference play at Grand Canyon University in Arizona on September 28th. WAC home opener will versus Air Force on October 4th which could mean the return of LEE high school graduate and former captain of the soccer team Theo Gunter, who went to the Air Force Academy this summer. The regular season finale will be at home on November 9th versus inter-state rival UT-RGV.