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#5 Ranked SMU Soccer Set to Kick Off Season

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While most of the stuff we do here on the blog centers around FC Dallas, we try to cover all metroplex soccer and our #5 ranked SMU Mustangs have completed two exhibition games. They're set to kick off their 2011 campaign on Saturday night in a 2010 playoffs rematch against William and Mary at Westcott Field. 

Coming off a fantastic 2010 campaign that saw the Ponies go all the way to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament before losing to North Carolina in penalty kicks, SMU boasts a #5 ranking and a team that returns most of their stars from last season. 

In two exhibitions SMU defeated Houston Baptist 4-0 behind goals from Zach Barnes, Edu Aranda, Damien Rosales and Juan Castillo while yesterday they drew 1-1 with Memphis behind another goal from Castillo. 

SMU boasts a starting defense made up of three seniors(Diogo Almeida, Peyton Hickey and Ian Kalis) with TJ Nelson, starting right back a junior. The center of their midfield could be completely Dallas Texans with senior Arthur Ivo leading the way with star sophomore Zach Barnes and incoming freshman Aaron Simmons playing behind the All-American. SMU also has a couple of former FCD Juniors in goalkeeper Jaime Ibarra and midfielder Damian Rosales. 

It could be a huge year on the hilltop as this SMU team is deep, extremely talented in the midfield and should use the experience of last season to make another deep playoff run. 

Read on to see some players to watch for this young and stacked SMU squad and their schedule

2011 SMU Players to watch

Arthur Ivo - We start with an absolute no-brainer in star senior Arthur Ivo. This Brazilian attacking midfielder is a pre-season first team All-American and the Conference USA pre-season offensive player of the year. Ivo is good with both feet, a major threat from outside of the box and a guy who is certainly on the radar of most MLS teams. He really bosses the game from the #10 position and could very well be a guy that FC Dallas looks at next spring as a possible #10 of the future.

Zach Barnes - Barnes is a guy I spotted back in 2009 playing with Dallas Texans at Dallas Cup and his game has only grown since then. He came to SMU last season as the Gatorade Texas soccer player of the year after winning a state championship with FM Marcus and he certainly lived up to the hype as a freshman. Barnes is a 2-way midfielder that ticks on the defensive side, but with five goals last season he will score from time to time. He's got a very tough exterior, good on the tackle and a guy I definitely see with MLS in his future. He will be just a sophomore this year. 

Robbie Derschang- This kid is probably my favorite player to watch on the team. Derschang, out of Colorado, had 5 goals and 5 assists in his rookie season and is a real spark plug out wide for SMU. He has no problem tangling with opposing defenders and his game really reminds me of Brian Mullan(I mean that in a good way). Derschang is just a sophomore as well. 

Juan Castillo - Castillo will be expected to shoulder the scoring load this year as the lone forward for SMU. He's got an immense amount of pace(he's seriously one of the fastest players I've seen in awhile) and does a great job of running onto the fantastic passes from Arthur Ivo. He still has a lot of work to do on his finishing, but if he was a great finisher with that speed he probably would be getting paid to play right now. Castillo is out of the Houston area and will be a sophomore this season.

Aaron Simmons - Simmons was the midfield captain of this season's Dallas Texans team that went undefeated in US Development Academy play. He will be a freshman and SMU is the Gatorade 2011 Texas soccer player of the year. If I had to compare Simmons' game to someone it would be Ricardo Clark as he generally sits fairly deep in the midfield picking out the opposing passes and getting the ball smoothly to the attackers. I would expect him to start at SMU and the Dallas Texans combination of Ivo, Simmons and Barnes in the midfield could be scary good. 

Schedule

SMU opens the season on Saturday before heading to what should be an excellent Duke tournament with matchups against NC State and Duke that will tell us a lot about where this SMU team is. Stay with Big D Soccer this college season as we track SMU and all the FC Dallas Academy players.

2011 SCHEDULE
Overall
0-0-0
Conf.
0-0-0
Home
0-0-0
Away
0-0-0
Neutral
0-0-0
Date Opponent / Event Location Time / Result
08/17/11 vs. Houston Baptist # Westcott Field 7:00 p.m. CT
08/21/11 vs. Memphis # Westcott Field T, 1-1
08/27/11 vs. William & Mary Westcott Field 7:00 p.m. CT
Duke Tournament
09/02/11 vs. NC State Durham, N.C. 4:00 p.m. CT
09/04/11 at Duke Durham, N.C. 1:30 p.m. CT
Tulsa Tournament
09/09/11 vs. Oakland Tulsa, Okla. 5:00 p.m. CT
09/11/11 vs. Connecticut Tulsa, Okla. 11:00 a.m. CT
SMU Classic Presented by Jason's Deli
09/16/11 Tulsa vs. Washington Westcott Field 5:00 p.m. CT
09/16/11 vs. Dartmouth Westcott Field 7:30 p.m. CT
09/18/11 Tulsa vs. Dartmouth Westcott Field 12:00 p.m. CT
09/18/11 vs. Washington Westcott Field 7:00 p.m. CT
09/23/11 at Cal State Northridge Northridge, Calif. 9:00 p.m. CT
09/25/11 at UCLA Los Angeles, CA 3:00 p.m. CT
10/01/11 vs. UCF * Westcott Field 7:00 p.m. CT
10/05/11 at Tulsa * Tulsa, Okla. 7:00 p.m. CT
10/08/11 at Marshall * Huntington, W. Va. 6:00 p.m. CT
10/12/11 at South Carolina * Columbia, S.C. 6:00 p.m. CT
10/16/11 vs. Florida International * Westcott Field 7:00 p.m. CT
10/21/11 vs. Missouri State Westcott Field 7:00 p.m. CT
10/26/11 vs. UAB * Westcott Field 7:00 p.m. CT
10/30/11 at Kentucky * Lexington, Ky. 11:00 a.m. CT
11/04/11 vs. Memphis * Westcott Field 7:00 p.m. CT
11/09/11 Conference USA Championship * Tulsa, Okla. TBA
11/11/11 Conference USA Championship Tulsa, Okla. TBA
11/13/11 Conference USA Championship Tulsa, Okla. TBA

 

Season tickets are $24. Individual game tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under. Blocks of 50 or more tickets are $1 apiece. Tickets can be purchased online at SMUMustangs.com or by calling 214-SMU-GAME (214-768-4263).