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Men's Soccer Preview: Cats look to ride productive summer into season

John Murphy '13 led the Portland Phoenix U20 team to the Super-20 Northeast Division title during the summer. (File photo)

LEWISTON, Maine -- A busy and rewarding offseason for many members of the Bates College men's soccer team, and the Bobcats will look to translate that into immediate success on the pitch for the 2011 season, which starts Saturday against NESCAC rival Williams.

Saturday's game against the Ephs starts at 2 p.m. on Russell Street Field. The game can be followed online via live video webcast and by live stats.

The Bobcats are currently a week into preparations for the game, and many of the playing and coaching staff have been active all summer as the team aims to be a major presence on the conference landscape.

Junior forward John Murphy (Yarmouth, Maine) led the Portland Phoenix U20 team to the Super-20 Northeast Division title during the summer. Murphy played with and against many Division I players during the summer, and was a teammate of Lehigh University captain Cameron Omsberg on the Phoenix team.

Sophomore forward Tyler Grees (Williamstown, Mass.) spent a successful summer playing for Nauset in the Cape Cod Amateur Soccer League, while fellow sophomore Ethan Kass (New York, N.Y.) spent the summer representing TSF Academy U19 Celtic. TSF represented New Jersey in the US Youth Soccer Region I Finals, where Kass scored the decisive goal in a 1-0 win over BC United Fusion. 

Other Bobcats in action over the summer were freshman Tyler Schleich (Santa Barbara, Calif.), who played for Santa Barbara Soccer Club, and Nick Sorice (Pelham, N.Y.), who represented FC Westchester at the USL Super-20 National Finals in Tampa, Fla.

The Bobcats will be led by head coach George Purgavie, who is closing in on his 200th win at Bates after 29 seasons in charge.  Purgavie spent the summer recruiting at various events, in addition to teaching National Coaching Licenses on behalf of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

"We are excited to begin the new season, and have instilled some core values into our program that we intend to live by on a daily basis," said Purgavie.

Coach Purgavie will be assisted by Stewart Flaherty and Ben Havey, both graduates of Loughborough University in England.

Flaherty is entering his second season with the Bobcats, and spent the summer as a goalkeeping coach with the PDL franchise Portland Phoenix. The Phoenix won their first ever PDL division title during the summer, and Flaherty worked with former All-Big East goalkeeper Matt Williams, who signed professional after the season ended with the Wilmington Hammerheads.

Flaherty also coached the Phoenix U15 and U16 Academy teams alongside PDL head coach Paul Baber, who will be helping the Bates women's program this season. The U15 Phoenix won the State Cup and represented Maine at the Region I Finals.

"Working at the PDL level with Coach Baber was both exciting and educational," said Flaherty.  "Coaching the Academy teams was also valuable, and allowed me to work at a number of important recruiting events."

Coach Havey played Division I soccer at Boston University, and was also a starter on the PDL Phoenix team. "I am excited to be at Bates, and will be looking to help the soccer program in any way I can," said Havey.