Monthly Archives: November 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11/30/16
EUGENE, Ore — Lane United FC and hummel announced today they have agreed to a new four-year deal, making the iconic Danish sports brand Lane United’s official kit and apparel provider entering the 2017 season.
Founded in 1923, hummel begins and ends with sport. The privately owned brand has a strong legacy in soccer and proudly supports teams around the world, including Brondby IF, Deportivo Alaves, SC Freiburg and the national team of Denmark.
From concept development and product design to company culture, sport is the most essential part of hummel’s DNA. The energy, dedication and team spirit that define sport is the strong foundation on which hummel has based its history and growth.
Lane United’s focus on community and growing the sport of soccer locally mirror hummel’s global Karma United and Change the World through Sport initiatives.
A Eugene native, hummel Sport USA Marketing Director Ciea Palmer sees the partnership as a perfect fit and is thrilled to see her hometown team wearing a brand that truly represents its passion for soccer.
“We are excited hummel Sport USA has formed a new partnership with Lane United FC and see this as an amazing opportunity to support player development in the pacific northwest, while also connecting with one of the best soccer communities in the country,” Palmer said. “Lane United’s commitment to their community and desire to make soccer accessible to everyone supports hummel’s initiatives and vision to change the world through sport.”
Lane United is entering its fourth year of play in the Northwest Division of the Premier Development League within the USL. The Reds take pride in being deeply rooted within Lane County and with shared visions for the role of sport in community between the club and brand, Managing Director Dave Galas knew hummel would be an ideal partner.
“In addition to some great kits, I think our fans will be thrilled with the level of support and engagement we get from hummel,” Galas said. “We just signed the deal, but this already feels like a true partnership. I couldn’t be more excited.”
The 2017 Lane United FC hummel kit will be unveiled in the spring at the official kit release party.
Lane United players are well represented in postseason tournaments around the country with their respective colleges. There are Reds at multiple levels of the NCAA Tournament, as well as the NAIA playoffs. Below you can find who, when and where they will be playing, plus how to keep up with the games.
Creighton: vs. Tulsa (10-4-5) – NCAA First Round Thursday, Nov. 17 5 p.m. (Pacific). Ricky Lopez-Espin, Mitch LaGro, Riggs Lennon, Joel Rydstrand, Akeem Ward.
The Bluejays (11-6-3) made it to the BIG EAST Tournament Final before falling to Butler by a 2-1 score. Riggs Lennon leads the team with 10 goals, while Ricky Lopez-Espin has netted nine of his own.
Live stats will be available on Creighton’s website here: http://bit.ly/2geiMnK
Portland: at New Mexico (12-6-2) – NCAA First Round Thursday, Nov. 17 6 p.m. (Pacific). Matt Coffey, Dirk van der Velde.
The Pilots (12-5-1) are the West Coast Conference champions for the first time since 2002 after Coffey scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win over St. Mary’s Saturday to clinch the title. This will be Portland’s first trip to the playoffs since 2009 and 15th overall.
Live Stats: http://www.ncaa.com/sports/soccer-men/d1
UNLV: at San Diego St. (9-4-5) – NCAA First Round Thursday, Nov. 17 5 p.m. (Pacific). Jason Eng.
The Rebels (10-11-1) won the WAC Tournament title after upsetting No. 23 Utah Valley in the semis and defeating Air Force 2-1 in the Championship Game. Lane United’s Jason Eng had an assist in the title game to help the Rebels reach the NCAA Tournament.
Live Stats: http://www.ncaa.com/sports/soccer-men/d1
Redlands: vs. Chicago (17-0-2) – NCAA Round of 16 Saturday, Nov. 19 9 a.m. (Pacific). Casey ChubbFertal.
The Bulldogs (17-5-1) won their first two games of the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Round of 16 for the first time since 2011. Casey ChubbFertal scored two goals in Redlands opening-round win to give him a total of 11 on the season. They will face undefeated and No. 1 ranked Chicago, Saturday.
Watch the game here: https://livestream.com/accounts/5795570
Corban: vs. Menlo (15-4-1) – NAIA First Round Saturday, Nov. 19 1 p.m. (Pacific). Rolando Velazquez, Josh Noonkester.
The Warriors (19-2) won the CCC Tournament title with a 3-0 win over the University of Great Falls. Lane United’s Velazquez was named First Team All-Conference after recording seven goals and nine assists on the season. Corban’s assistant coach is former Lane United player, Josh Noonkester.
By Keeler McJunkin
Lane United’s Mitch LaGro and the other Reds from Creighton are teammates year-round.
Ricky Lopez-Espin, Riggs Lennon, Joel Rydstrand, Akeem Ward and LaGro play together for the Bluejays during the NCAA season, but also take the pitch as teammates for LUFC over the summer.
That time spent on the field has helped build trust between the five players and has propelled the Bluejays to a season that has seen them ranked No. 6 in the country while consistently staying in the top-25.
“It definitely helped with our team chemistry,” LaGro said. “We have all these stories, moments and things from Lane we’ve been able to relate back to and translate to our season at Creighton. We really know where each other are going to be on the field.”
Not only has the experience helped the Creighton Reds on the field, they were able to become closer friends through living together in Eugene as part of Lane United. LaGro said the time they’ve spent with LUFC is special.
“Everyone from Creighton thinks really highly of Lane and we’ve all had good experiences there,” LaGro said. “We got really close to a lot of guys on the team, but the thing we liked most about Lane is the clean, genuine style of soccer. We liked to possess and outpass the other teams. I think we were the best team in the league, we just had trouble putting the ball in the net.”
LaGro was named Second Team All-Big East defender after starting every game for Creighton alongside a young back line. He said he’s happy with his progress as a player this season and really focused on improving his range of passing.
The Bluejays, (11-5-3) have struggled with consistency at times being a young team, especially on the road, but LaGro thinks they have righted the ship as the postseason has gotten underway.
“We tend to come out a little timid on the road and didn’t have a lot of experience playing in that environment,” LaGro said. “We outshoot teams and impose our style of play, but we haven’t converted them into goals. I think we’re figuring it out at the right time of year as we mature.”
The start of that maturing on the field and learning how to play on the road can be traced back to the summer with the Reds, when head coach John Galas was able to instill his love for the game on the players.
Motivating guys to show up every day ready to work hard and improve can be tough, even more so during a season that features a lot of games in a short amount of time. Galas was able to accomplish that.
“He was able to get us excited and want to go to practice each day,” LaGro said. “The kind of coach he is, you want to play for him and do well. He knows when he needs to be strict, but also when to joke around and have fun.”
As the Bluejays continue through the Big East Tournament and get ready for the NCAA Tournament to start next week, Galas could see the framework of Creighton’s strong season coming last summer.
“Playing, training and living together over the course of the season with us really helped them get to know each other’s tendencies as players,” Galas said. “It’s been nice to see them translate that into a successful season at Creighton this fall.”
LaGro is confident his team is ready to play their best soccer of the year when it’s all on the line in a win or go home situation like the postseason.
“You have to look at each game as a final,” LaGro said. “Limiting mistakes in a tournament environment is huge and when you’re playing great opponents it comes down to who’s able to capitalize on those mistakes.”
The Bluejays will have that opportunity Sunday when they take on Butler in the Big East Tournament Championship Match.
By Keeler McJunkin
Matt Bersano is staying focused on development after his first year of professional soccer.
The former Lane United and current Seattle Sounders 2 goalkeeper played in only two games this season, but spent time training with the first teams of both the Sounders and the Chicago Fire before signing with Seattle.
Bersano, who played his fifth-year senior season at Penn State after spending the first four seasons at Oregon State, said the mentality of the pro game is the biggest difference between what he experienced playing both college soccer and two seasons with Lane United in the PDL.
“You can tell who has been a pro for a long time and you can tell who is a rookie,” Bersano said. “The way guys carry themselves and come to work is different. We’re playing the game we love, but it’s also a business.”
While he would have certainly liked to be on the field for more minutes throughout his rookie season, learning the day by day aspect of being a pro and developing as a goalkeeper at the highest level of the sport were Bersano’s main goals for the year.
For a younger goalkeeper, sitting on the bench is all about patience. You have to wait for your time and need to be ready for whatever opportunity presents itself. That mindset came to fruition for Bersano earlier this season.
“I didn’t play for 27 games straight, then had to go in during the 80th minute because of a concussion to the other goalkeeper,” Bersano said. “I had to make a breakaway save in the 86th, then we scored in the 90th to tie the game. It’s all about making yourself as ready as you can be and making the most out of your situation.”
Bersano has also made the most of time spent on the practice field with the Sounders first team. Whether that’s learning from veteran teammates or just soaking in the atmosphere of the pro game, he’s been able to get a feel of what being a pro entails.
Training with the first team has allowed Bersano to be in goal and face shots from stars who have played at the highest level in this country like Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris.
“I still had things to look forward to when I didn’t get the start on game day,” Bersano said. “I knew Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday I would be in with Clint and Jordan having them shoot on me. That gave me something to look forward to even when the game minutes weren’t coming my way.”
The two summers Bersano spent with Lane United were key in adjusting to the professional game. He said the structure of the club, and the way head coach John Galas organized practices and training in a professional environment opened his eyes to what the future with the Sounders would be like.
That first season with LUFC, Bersano played summer ball with his Oregon State teammate and good friend, Khiry Shelton, who joined the pro ranks with NYCFC after being selected second overall in the MLS Superdraft after the 2014 season with Lane United.
Shelton was able to get a year of professional soccer under his belt while Bersano spent 2015 with the Reds and his fifth-year senior season at Penn State. The two former teammates talk on a weekly, if not daily basis, and have helped each other with on the field situations and also life in general.
“I can call Matt at anytime, no matter what time of day and he’ll answer,” Shelton said. “We always talk about what we could do better at training and how we can better ourselves to make sure we are successful.”
After being on the same team for three years in Corvallis, followed by a summer with Lane United, being on different sides of the country hasn’t stopped Bersano and Shelton from communicating and helping each other. Their friendship might be even stronger now than it has ever been.
Bersano was able to keep Shelton on track through his rookie year with NYCFC, a season filled with missteps and adjustments as he tried to find his footing in the pro game.
“Seeing Khiry go through struggles with the injuries, he’s faced a lot trials through his experience with New York,” Bersano said. “He’s obviously prevailed, and has a great professionalism about him. He’s always there if I need something. Having a best friend in a similar situation to me, you can’t get any luckier than that.”
At the same time, Shelton has confided in Bersano whenever he needs it. No matter if he’s looking for advice, help with a problem, or just wanting to talk.
“Matt will always challenge me to be better and keep it real with me whether I want to hear it or not,” Shelton said. “People like him make me a better all around human whether on or off the pitch.”
As Bersano enters the offseason and prepares for his second year as a pro, he’s focused on taking what he learned as a rookie and using that experience to get more time on the field next year and beyond.
“Any competitive professional would have loved more minutes this year,” Bersano said. “At the same time, I’m trying to play for 15 years so at the end of the day it’s all about taking in what you can to make for a better career in the long run.”