FORT KENT, Me (WAGM) - The University of Maine Fort Kent men's soccer team will look to win a third straight USCAA National Championship in November. The Bengals have been hitting the field getting ready for the start of the season. The Bengals have several players returning, but also lost some key members of the 2016 championship team. Rene Cloukey has more with the team.
(Bill Ashby):"We lost five very good players for us. The big one was Ben Kluvers the all time leading goal scorer for us. We have thirty some players in our program this year and had thirty some players in our program last year. We had an opportunity to get a lot of experience with young guys. Teams march on and we have some young guys ready to step up."
(Butch Forbes):" We refill we replenish the players that we lost . Hopefully this team can gel and we can go for another title again."
Ashby said the returning players worked very hard over the winter and spring to stay in shape and several played soccer this summer in leagues around North America. He says he doesn't think the players will feel the pressure
Ashby:" I don't thnk so, but there is a target on our back. Everybody likes to beat the better teams and we have a very tough schedule. I think we are ready for the challenge."
(Kalusha Kotes):" We are treating every game as a final. That is how we prepare treating every game as a final. We think of the national tournament because we know what it takes to be champions."
The team has won the last two national titles on penalty kicks. Butch Forbes came up huge in turning aside penalty kicks both years. He says he would be happy with a less dramatic title run
Forbes:" Hopefully we can secure a win in the 90 minutes so we don't have to go into extra time and the penalty shootout. I would like the game to end in regulation regular time."
Kotes:" I think we have the capability and the ability to do it a third time with the returning players and thr freshmen as well."
The Bengals will spend a little less time on the road this year. They have seven home games which is a bonus to their fans and to the players
Ashby:" Love playing in the St John Valley and the town of Fort Kent in front of our home town fans. We always get big crowds the players appreciate it. Moms and Dads appreciate it back home because we broadcast all of our games. We are looking forward to playing in Fort Kent this year."