JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Warhawks Varsity Soccer Coach Master Sgt. Nana Saahene says he is confident the team will advance far in the annual Defender Cup Military Soccer Tournament following two consecutive first-round exits.
Saahene attributed the team's 2012 and 2013 early ousters to injuries and lackluster team chemistry.
To ensure that cohesion would not be an issue this year, Saahene started soccer tryouts in June.
The coach said 40 people participated in the tryouts, and he expects to take a 22-player roster to the Defender Cup, which takes place Aug. 29 through Sept. 1 at the South Texas Area Regional Soccer Complex.
The Defender Cup finale will take place at Toyota Field, which hosts San Antonio Scorpions soccer.
"We have some players who can rotate and play different types of positions," said Saahene, who is the 59th Dental Support Squadron prosthodontics flight chief for the Air Force Post Graduate Dental School and Clinic.
The Warhawks begin Group H play at 7:30 p.m. Friday against a combined Nellis/Creech Air Force Base, Nev., varsity soccer team. Group play determines seeding for the tournament.
Saahene said the team worked on stamina, stretching and ball movement in preparing for the four-day tournament, which will feature 38 teams representing all four military branches.
"We are going to go far in the tournament this year, if we stay healthy and play smart," said the coach.
For information on the Defender Cup, call 671-2632.