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Utah State Eastern soccer: Men's coach has a lot of players to choose from

PRICE — Utah State men’s soccer team kicked off its season this past week with the first practices of the fall training camp.

Head coach Ammon Bennett returns for his fourth season leading the program with the help of assistants Jared Woodhouse and Cole Davis.

Almost 50 players showed up on Monday for the first day of practices, the most ever for the soccer team since it started in 2014.

The only problem is that only 25 players will be on the traveling squad, meaning half of the players that reported on Monday will not travel to away games with Bennett.

But for Bennett, it's a problem that he doesn’t mind having.

“It's a good problem to have but there is going to be 10 to 15 guys who will not travel but are good enough to be on the traveling team,” he said.

The competition for playing time and the talent level for the men’s soccer team is at an all-time high this season, according to Bennett.

Returning player Paul Zarkin also agrees that there is definitely more competition than his first season with the Eagles.

“The competition is just tougher than last year, but we will have a better team than last year and we are ready to compete with anyone,” said Zarkin.

One of the benefits of the competition and depth of his team this year is the help on the defensive end, according to Bennett.

Last season the Eagles were hit hard by injuries on defense, and their depth was depleted. The lack of depth on defense hurt the Eagles down the stretch and picked up a couple of losses.

“I have 10 guys who can play defense and who can play right away,” said Bennett.

Both Zarkin and fellow returning player Jae Partridge agree that in order to use their depth and talent correctly they will need to come together as a team to be successful.

“We have started off on the right foot with the energy. We all are individually great players but we need to come together and work as a team,” Partridge said.

The Eagles begin their regular season slate of games with a home non-conference game against Western Wyoming on Aug. 22.

They open their conference schedule with a matchup against the College of Southern Nevada in Henderson on Sept. 8.

Loren Miller is a graduate of Brigham Young University-Idaho and a Graduate Assistant at Utah State Eastern, a junior college in Price. EMAIL: loren.miller@usu.edu