From a regular season championship in 2009 to a
program best 15 wins and a national ranking of 16th a season ago, the Iona College
men's soccer team has accomplished plenty in the past few seasons under tenth
year head coach Fernando
Barboto. In 2012, the Gaels look to capture what has alluded them, a
MAAC Championship and an NCAA Tournament berth.
That is the goal for this season. With a roster that lost only two players from a
year ago, the 2012 Gaels have a talented group of veterans and newcomers and
look to capture the program's first conference championship.
The talent is evident when you consider the team returns seven All-MAAC
Honorees and produced six 2011 National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-
North Alantic Team honors, the most NSCAA selections in the country.
The 2011 season ended in a semifinal lost in double overtime loss to
Manhattan, which has fueled the Gaels through the offseason.
"Our players have been tested since they arrived at Iona," says Barboto.
"They each have a year or two of important experience under their belts. They
returned to campus hungry, wanting more than they got last year."
Iona's crop of forwards will be led by the dynamic duo of junior Samuel Adjei and
Otto. The pair will be counted on to replicate its scoring success of a
Ajdei appeared in all 20 games in 2011, scoring six goals and adding seven
assists. This past offseason he competed with the Ghana U20 National Team, an
experience that Barboto thinks will only benefit him in his third season.
"Sammy's experience with the U20 Team helped him continue to adjust to the
physical play of the forward position, states Barboto. "It can only make him a better
player, and add to an already strong skill set."
In his first season with the Gaels, Otto scored a team high seven goals, tying
Adjei for the team lead with three game winners.
The Gaels return four starters in the midfield. The talented group will provide
the playmaking in the middle that should help its teammates up front find plenty of
Castellanos, an All-MAAC First Team Selection, appeared in 19 games
for the Maroon & Gold in 2011, leading the Gaels in points with 20 on three goals and
14 assists. His 14 assists led the nation as did his 0.74 assists per game average.
Senior captain Alvaro
Torrecilla, a 2011 All-MAAC Second Team selection, has appeared in 32
games for the Gaels, and enters his final season with eight career goals and four
Maganto, an All-MAAC Second Team selection a season ago, picked up
16 points in his rookie campaign, scoring six goals and notching four assists for the
Hodgen started all 17 games he appeared in during his first season
with the Gaels after transfering from Oregon State, finishing the season with one
goal and four assists.
"We wanted to find players who could add valuable depth to the squad," says
Barboto. "Cody, Dylan and Saul are players that could fill that need for us."
Iona returns three of its four starters from last season's backline, but will have
to fill two positions after one, senior Alexander Abdalla, was lost for the season during spring
training. Gone is right back Adam Rohan, but senior captain Robbie Krohmer and junior Tommy Martin both return from a defensive unit that held
opponents to just 19 goals a year ago.
Krohmer, a three-year starter for Iona, will anchor the defense after earning a
First Team All-MAAC selection in 2011 while Martin started eighteen contests a
"Robbie is the anchor of our defense at center back, comments Barboto. "He is
a team leader, and shows through example, how the game is played."
Traut and sophomore Charlie
Butte will also see time this season on the back end. Traut appeared
in 11 games for the Gaels in 2011, making four starts, while Butte is coming off a
Senior captain Douglas
Stephens will also play a role on the back end this season. With his
experience at midfield, and five career tallies, he has the ability to move up the field
and create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.
"Doug is a player that cares more about the game than anyone else out on the
field," says Barboto.
In goal, sophomore Borja
Barbero quickly established himself as one of the conference's top
netminders in his first season, earning a spot on the MAAC All-Rookie Team as well as
a First Team Selection to the NSCAA All-Region Team.
Barbero started all 20 games for the Gaels in 2011, allowing 19 goals for an
impressive goals against average of 0.91. He recorded 62 saves and four shutouts
in his rookie year.
The Gaels have eight teams on their 2012 regular-season schedule that
qualified for last season's NCAA Tournament. Included in those squads are
quarterfinals South Florida and Connecticut.
Iona opens up the season on Aug. 24 at Motamed Field against Adelphi before
hosting UC Riverside on Aug. 26 in the home opener at Mazzella Field. The Gaels
then travel to West Point to face Army at Clinton Field on Aug. 31.
The Gaels then head to Tampa, Fl to take part in the South Florida Tournament.
Iona will play Florida Gulf Coast on Sept. 6 and South Florida on Sept. 8.
Iona will then travel to Evanston, IL to take part in the Lakeside Classic. Iona
will play host Northwestern on Sept. 14 and Northern Illinois on Sept. 16.
Iona will welcome in Monmouth to Mazzella Field on Sept. 22 before travelling
to West Virginia on Sept. 26.
The Gaels will begin MAAC play Oct. 6 with a home tilt versus Fairfield. Iona
then wraps up non-conference play on Oct. 9 at Connecticut.
Iona's final eight regular-season contests all are against MAAC foes beginning
Oct. 12 with a showdown against Manhattan at Gaelic Park. Iona will conclude its
three game road trip at Saint Peter's on Oct. 14.
The Gaels will return home to play host to Loyola Maryland (Oct. 19) and Rider
(Oct. 21) before road tilts at Canisius (Oct. 26) and Niagara (Oct. 28). Iona will
conclude the regular season with home affairs against Siena (Nov. 2) and Marist
The 2012 MAAC Championship will eminate from the Ridley Athletic Complex in
Baltimore, MD, beginning with the semifinals on Nov. 8. The Championship game will
take place on Nov. 10.