Tournament tally

A soccer player preparing to kick a soccer ball.

Playing a total of 19 games with a record of 11–6–2, Weber State University’s men’s club soccer team finished the season with Gorge’s Classic Soccer Tournament in Las Vegas.

Going into this season, the program decided to expand the men’s team outside of the traditional 22-player roster, giving Weber State the ability to have two teams for the first time since 2018. Weber State named the second squad “Black Team.” By creating more opportunities for players to showcase their talents, the move added tremendous opportunities within the program.

Winning most of their games, the Wildcats managed to score 61 goals this season, keeping the goal differential to +20 and only allowing 41 goals. Forwards Jaiden Marriott and Mason McRae were the team’s top scorers, scoring 14 goals each this season.

Weber State’s “Black Team” has played seven games and has two games remaining this season. The team currently sits at a record of 4–2–1. They have an even goal differential of 10 goals and only 10 goals conceded. The top goal scorer for the “Black Team” is forward Jake Williams, with a total of four goals on the season.

Recently, the first squad competed in regionals. The team’s first game resulted in a 4–2 win over Utah State. Left winger Mason McRea scored the first tournament goal for the team. Striker Jaiden Marriott was able to secure two goals during the match and Ruben Alvarez scored the fourth and final goal for the Wildcats.

Heading into the second game of regionals against the University of Utah, the Wildcats were put to the test, losing 3–0. This loss brought the first team’s season to a halt.

After competing in Las Vegas, the team brought down a 23-man roster to compete in Gorge’s Classic Soccer Tournament from Nov. 4-6.

“We’re having fun coming out and playing, it’s a good tournament where there’s experienced players all around and they are ready to play whenever,” captain center-back Kolton Kitchens said.

The Wildcats faced off against Frontera United from Mesa, Arizona, for their first match on Nov. 4.

Starting off the first half, the Wildcats kept possession of the ball and created plenty of scoring opportunities, but they were still trying to push the ball to the back of the net. Although they had a limited amount of time with the ball, Frontera United stayed aggressive on offense, trying to weaken Weber State’s defensive third.

Heading into the second half, the game was still scoreless. Frontera managed to rack up four yellow cards against Weber State. As physical as the first match was, the Wildcats knew this win wasn’t going to come easy. Within the final minutes of the game, center midfielder Jake Allen dribbled the ball down the right side of the field to give striker Jesus Tomasi an easy tap-in finish.

“As soon as the ball came into the box, I already knew what to do. It was automatic for me,” Tomasi said. “Whenever Jake Allen opens to one of the sides, I just know that he is going to play the ball into the box.”

Tomasi’s last-minute goal was enough to secure the victory for Weber State as they beat Frontera United 1–0.

“We play in a formation to where we allow creativity for our players up top,” Weber State head coach Renan Mougenot said. “We have solid defense to contain players once we make a mistake up top, and we have the solidity on the back to give liberty to our players up top.”

As for the first game and the following, the Wildcats made plenty of formation changes during the tournament, switching between 5-3-2 and 4-3-2-1 formations.

“It allows creativity to the players and for them to play as they want, and they know they have people behind their backs watching out for them,” Mougenot said.

Concluding a successful first game, the Wildcats headed into the second day with a doubleheader, playing against Spark FC from Austin, Texas; and Los Potros from Fullerton, California.

Before playing Spark FC, the team decided to have a meeting about the day prior and the big one ahead of them. They talked about mistakes they made against Frontera, but also applauded themselves for the good work they had done. Coming into the match, the Wildcats started with a 5-3-2 formation.

Spark FC kicked off the ball to begin the first half. They started off strong, keeping possession from Weber State. Within the first minutes of the first half, Spark FC scored a goal. Weber State goalkeeper Tyler Bagley had pulled up from his penalty box and unintentionally gave Spark FC the open net. Keeping with the momentum from the first goal, Spark FC was able to take over the game, scoring two more times before the half to make the score 3–0.

The halftime talks weren’t as carefree as the day before. The Wildcats discussed many of the problems encountered within the first half, leading to a drastic change in play during the second.

“It’s more constructive criticism,” Kitchens said. “I’m never going to bash on my guys, but if we need a formation switch, then I just communicate that with the players and coaches.”

Though they had not communicated well in the first half, Weber State was able to jump on the same page in the second. Down 3–0, Kitchens was able to keep his team collected.

After a difficult loss of 4–0 against Spark FC, the ‘Cats bounced right back for their second game of the evening against Los Potros.

Within the first half of the game, Weber State was called for a handball in their penalty box. Now in a penalty kick situation, Bagley dove right into the ball for a save to give his team early momentum in the match.

“You can’t succeed with a bad goalkeeper,” Mougenot said. “Tyler keeps us in the game and radiates security and confidence to the rest of the players.”

Within the first few minutes of the second half, Weber State winger Jumaah Alfaihani passed a ball up and over a defender to striker Brandon Pierce. Pierce chipped a shot off the goalie, giving the Wildcats a 1–0 lead.

Within the dying minutes of the game, Los Potros received a red card, putting them down to 10 men. With a free kick outside of Weber State’s penalty box, Los Potros were able to score the equalizing goal with a header. The game ended in a 1–1 draw.

“The overall tournament was great for us,” Pearce said. “Even when you lose or tie, it definitely teaches you more.”

Needing a win against Los Potros to advance, the Wildcats were knocked out of the tournament. Their overall record for the tournament was 2–1–1.

The team fought for one last win during a consolation game against Fenix FC on Nov. 6. The game resulted in a 4–2 victory for the Wildcats. Williams was able to score two goals during the game, while Belal Omar and Pearce were able to score the other two goals for the ‘Cats.

“This isn’t only a learning experience, but it’s a humbling experience,” Mougenot said. “Football is always unpredictable, and we cannot be cocky with it.”

Though they didn’t win, the team is still leaving Las Vegas with a positive mindset, ready to take the remainder of the fall 2022 season head-on.

The “Black Team” has two more games left before the season ends, facing Swat FC on Nov. 16 and Southern Utah University on Nov. 19 at home.

After a strong performance within the regular season and regionals, the Weber State men’s soccer program was invited to play at nationals in Round Rock, Texas, on Nov. 17-19.