McKenzie, Tenn. -The Bethel University Men's Wildcat Soccer program is entering a new era, one that will see it compete without any of the original members of the 2008 NAIA National Championship team. Dwayne Smith, Mario Vila Boa, Joseph Omondi, Chaz Dachenhaus were the remaining players from the 2008 squad.
Smith, Boa, and Omondi were NAIA Third Team All-Americans seniors from the 2011 squad. They, along with Dachenhaus were also all-conference last season, with Vila Boa being the conference player of the year for the third straight year.
The 2011 team finished 14-3-2 overall and 7-0 in TranSouth Conference play. The undefeated conference record marked the third consecutive season Bethel has gone undefeated in conference action. The last loss to a conference opponent was September 24, 2008 to Martin Methodist. The Cats are 28-0-2 in the last three years in conference play. Bethel lost to Southern Poly 2-1 in the Sweet Sixteen of the NAIA Championships last year. It was Bethel's fourth straight year in the national championship series. Bethel finished fifth in the nation last season.
Coach Melvin Belong enters his sixth year as head coach of the Wildcats. He is 70-24-9 as a head coach. Coach Belong led Bethel to the national title in 2008.
The 2012 squad will be another talented squad for Coach Belong and his staff. This year's version of the Wildcats could be the equivalent of an upgrade in style, with a blend of technical brilliance and combined dominance while competing against the top programs in the country.
The Cats return the TranSouth 2010 Freshman of the Year in Mohammed Dumbuya. Dumbuya scored a team leading fifteen goals last year. Second Team All-Conference defender Jorgen Hansen is back for his junior season. Armando Guell Castro will also be counted upon to provide leadership. Several newcomers will be counted on heavily to contribute to the overall success of this year's team. Chris Baker, Juan Hernandez, and Erroll "Dawyne" Reid are skilled players who Coach Belong and the staff have high expectations.