The 2004 soccer season for the Union University Bulldogs is one that will be met with great anticipation.  Especially following a year in which Union soccer made major strides to move the program to a higher level, including the NCCAA National Championship.  This 2004 team expects to be able to build on the successes of last season as Union soccer begins its seventh season of varsity competition. 

Union's schedule in 2004 is the first object that grabs attention as it is what head coach Dr. Darin White calls, "easily our most difficult schedule that we've ever had."  Eleven of the 20 opponents were ranked during the 2003 season in either the NAIA or NCAA polls.  Union opens the season on the road at NCAA Div. I opponent Belmont University in Nashville, then follows that up with a home match versus cross-town rival Lambuth University.  In the short history of the program, Union has made strides to become a contender in the NAIA, a difficult task as the NAIA Region XI that Union competes has produced six national champions since 1995.  Also included on the schedule is NAIA preseason No. 10 Mid-Continent and No. 14 Univ. of Mobile.

New at Union in 2004 will be a junior varsity soccer program.  According to Coach White, this team will serve as a reserve team for the varsity and also allow more players the opportunity to play soccer at the college level.  This in turn, hopes to increase the level of play for Union soccer in the coming years. 

The Bulldogs boast just two seniors this season.  Redzi Stojiljkovic and Daniel Lee have both been tremendous players over the past four years for Union.  Stojiljkovic led Union in 2003 with nine assists and was third with 15 total points.  Lee has been named as one of the two captains for the 2004 season.

Union also has just two juniors on this very young team.  Robert Stinson and Christopher Anthony both have proven their value by earning starting rolls as freshman.  Stinson helped Union to a school record 10 shutouts in 2003, including three in a row twice during the year.  Stinson tallied eight of those 10 shutouts.  Anthony, a native of Jackson, scored two goals and three assists as a sophomore from the forward position.

The sophomore class for the Bulldogs has 10 members with several sophomores coming off very impressive freshman seasons.  Brian Hamilton tallied two shutouts of Union's record 10 shutouts as a freshman.  Duncan Nicol, Pablo Paredes, and Gareth Munro tallied nine goals and 15 assists combined as freshman last season from the midfield position.  Nicol is the second of two team captains for the 2004 season.  Also returning from 2003 is Mark Pavlovic, Mark Forrest, and Christopher Prentice who have a combined 52 games played from last season.  Brett Martin returns to Union after taking a year off from school last season.  He played in19 games for the Bulldogs as a freshman in 2002.  Marcus Boehler and Humberto Sanchez are returning sophomores who will begin the season as members of the junior varsity team. 

Union's 2004 freshman class is the biggest of the four classes this year with 11 varsity and nine junior varsity players.  Chris Lean is returning to Union after spending last season in his home in Canada.  He was a red-shirt player for the Bulldogs in 2002 and will likely receive playing time along with Stinson at the goalkeeper position.  Darren Goldie, Benny Grozier, Michael Pugh, Kyle Sanders, Bobby McColl, Diego Rojas, Craig Clark, Scott Sinclair, Colin Bonner, Anthony Coyle, and Nikola Djordjevic make up the remainder of the freshman class that will begin the season as varsity players.  Carl Strickland, Andrew Corbett, Clayton Stockett, Austin Bell, Lemual Turner, John Michael Ryall, Brendon Kuhlman,  and Andrew Wright finish out the junior varsity club to start the season. Thomas Brown will red-shirt this season.

This team for Union is very young, but talented.  Coach White hopes to lead this team to their first ever TranSouth Conference Championship and be award their first trip to the NAIA Region XI Tournament. 


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