The College of Southern Maryland men's soccer team kicks off their 2021 competition season on Saturday, April 3 when they host the Potomac State College of WVU Catamounts.
The last time the Hawks played a competitive game was October 22, 2019. CSM won that game 10-0 against the Allegany College of Maryland Trojans in their last contest of the 2019 season.
Interim head coach Gary Knight said, "COVID-19 took a lot away from all of us, but we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. We just hope that a complete and normal life is just around the corner."
Helping the Hawks turn that corner will be six players returning from the 2019 season. Justin Miller, Levi Pixton, Yohan Ouedraogo, Jawaun Butler, Joseph Walsh, and Rodrigo Rosas-Cruz are all back for their second year at CSM.
Miller was named to the 2019 All-Region XX Division I Honorable Mention Team. Among Region XX Division I players that year, Miller ranked first in shots (60), second in assists (10), and tied for third in shots on goal (33). He led CSM in all of those categories.
Starting goalkeeper Levi Pixton will tend the net again for the Hawks. In 2019, Pixton ranked second in Maryland JUCO in saves with 125 and eighth in save percentage at 74 percent. He also recorded two shutouts.
Joseph Walsh started 12 games for the Hawks, mainly on the backline, but he also saw some time as the backup goalkeeper, starting two games in net and recording a shutout. Rodrigo Rosas-Cruz appeared in 12 games and recorded one shot.
Knight said, "Our biggest strengths this season will definitely come from our midfield play and forwards, not to mention a strong keeper." Knight also said he is expecting big things from freshmen Oscar Perez and Thomas Larsen.
The Hawks made a drastic improvement in 2019 compared to their 2018 season. In 2018, CSM went 1-10 and only scored five goals all year. In 2019, CSM went 6-9-1 and scored 48 goals. Knight says this year, he wants to see his team continue to build on their success from last season.
"Our only goals are to compete and be competitive in every game we play and hopefully have a better record than the last season we played," Knight said.
"The men's soccer team is very excited to return to play. We have been eagerly waiting for our chance to compete against our conference, and that day has finally come."