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Tigers Ready For New Season

Aug. 14, 2000

CLEMSON, S.C. — The 2000 edition of the Clemson men’s soccer team will feature a blend of the old and the new.

Clemson returns seven starters from last year’s team and to compliment this nucleus is one of the top, if not the top, recruiting classes in the nation.

The Tigers finished last year with a 9-8-2 record overall and six of the losses were by one goal, including a last second loss to second-ranked Santa Clara in early October.

“Obviously, we are very disappointed that we did not go to the NCAA Tournament last season. We have the core of last year’s team back and they are very hungry to go back to the NCAA Tournament.

“People like Mike Potempa, Pablo Webster, Ross Goodacre, Mark Lisi, and Nathan Rawlins were on the team that went to the Final Eight in 1998 and they are very determined to lead the team back to the playoffs and go far in the tournament. We had a great spring, the returnees know they will have to work hard because it is going to be very competitive and hard to earn a starting position. We had a great recruiting class and the depth and competition for the starting positions will help us be a better team.

“As a coaching staff we have to make the right decisions on where to play people and find the right combinations. There is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm concerning how we are going to be and this is encouraging to us.

“We will be like a doughnut, we are going to have several upperclassmen, several freshmen, and we have a hole in the middle. We will definitely need tremendous leadership. Our captain, Mike Potempa, is a great leader, and our players understand what it takes to be competitive so we can reach our goals.”

The Tigers finished the season winning five of their last eight games and had a 4-1 win over third-ranked Wake Forest in the last week of the regular season. Clemson also features four of the five leading scorers from a year ago returning.

“Our goals are very simple, compete for the national championship and win the ACC. We are going to be great defensively, and I feel we will be solid in the midfield. We must find the right combination in the front and find some people who will score goals and work within the team setting. If we find the right chemistry, and work together as one unit, I feel as though we will be successful.

“On paper we had the best recruiting year we have ever had since I have been at Clemson. We have four players from the under 20 National Team. These four players, Oguchi Onyewu, Kenneth Cutler, Doug Warren, and Eric Lewis have international experience and they will not come in as typical freshmen.”

GOALKEEPERS Transfer Doug Warren, Martin Hutton (freshman) and Patrick Fullerton (junior) will come to preseason and battle for the starting goalkeeping position.

“Martin Hutton will be pushing for the starting position. He has great range and is good with the ball at his feet. He is a good shot stopper and is very courageous. He is not afraid to go in the crowd. He needs to develop physically, but he has a tremendous amount of potential. If he can remain healthy he will bring a lot of attributes to the program.

“Doug Warren is a member of the present U20 National Team and is a transfer from Indiana University. Doug is a complete goalkeeper with a tremendous work ethic and will strengthen our squad tremendously. “

DEFENDERS The defender positions will be very competitive. Clemson has Pablo Webster (senior), Mike Potempa (senior), Andy Heck (senior), and Kevin Conaway (senior) returning from last season.

Webster played in 19 games and started 12. He also had five assists in 1999. Potempa, started 18 matches last year and finished the year with one goal and two assists. He is the captain of the 2000 squad and was a second-team All-ACC selection and earned third-team All-South honors last year.

“This area is very competitive. Mike Potempa is a solid leader and worked in the spring to improve his distribution out of the back.

“He dominates in the air. His work ethic and desire make him a great leader. He will anchor the center of the defense. Webster played well last year and has stepped up his game. Kevin Conaway played in 11 games last season and picked up five starts. Conaway can play in the center or the left back position. He had a good spring playing in the back and that could be an option. Andy Heck played in the back in the spring and could see time as a defender this season, especially on the right side.”

Nathan Rawlins (senior) started 23 games in 1998, but missed last year due to a knee injury. “He has great speed and stamina and is ‘Mr. Consistent’ when on the field.”

Oguchi Onyewu is a newcomer in the back. He was a member of the United States U17 and U20 National Team. “Oguchi is 6-3 and is unbelievable in the air. He is a great athlete and will add an intimidating presence on the back line.”

Eric Lewis is a member of the Under 20 National Team and is a versatile athlete. He could see action on the right side. Other newcomers who may see action in the back include Chase Hilgenbrinck and Nick Rivera.

“Chase is a naturally left-sided player and can play in the back or in the midfield. Nick Rivera is ‘Mr. Utility’. He is effective wherever you play him. He also has a knack for scoring goals.

“The defenders will be in a big battle. We will have a lot of depth as we have eight or nine players vying for the four starting positions. We will be a strong, defensive team, and I think it will be better defensive team compared to the 1998 squad.”

MIDFIELDERS Mark Lisi (senior), Ross Goodacre (junior), and Andy Heck (senior) are starters who return for the Tigers this fall. Mark Lisi was Clemson’s third leading scorer with five goal and six assists for 16 points. He also started 18 games for the Tigers last year. Lisi was named first-team All-ACC and second-team All-South in 1999. Ross Goodacre was the Tigers’ fourth leading scorer, as he had four goals and seven assists for 15 points. He started all 19 matches for the Tigers last season.

Fabio Tambosi (sophomore) proved to be a valuable player off the bench as he scored four goals and had four assists for 12 points.

The newcomers include Nick Rivera, and Paul Souders.

“Mark Lisi will play in the attacking/link role. He has the ability to slice open a game with his passing. More production in the scoring department will be asked from Goodacre and Tambosi.

“Oskar Bringsved is a dynamite player with a lot of energy. He has good vision and is a midfield general. Kenny Cutler will play a defensive role in the center of the midfield. Both players are blue-collar players. Eric Lewis and Paul Souders could play anywhere in the midfield. Even Mike Potempa could play in the midfield.

“The midfield will be a strong position with lots of experience.”

FORWARDS Ian Fuller (junior) had a great season as he led the Tigers in scoring with seven goals and seven assists for 21 points. He started 18 matches for the Tigers in 1999 and finished the season with three winning goals.

“Ian Fuller has showed some promise. He is a terrific player with his back to the goal and he did a great job putting away the chances he had last year. Goodacre and Rawlins could play up front as well. The newcomers at this position include Andre Borges and Steven Rhyne.

“Both Borges and Rhyne are both good goal scorers and should help us this fall. Fuller came on nicely for us last year. Finding the right combination and the players feeling comfortable with each other will be the key for us.”