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WCFC draws 50 tryouts in advance of thrilling sophomore season

Feb. 16—WORTHINGTON — 50 area soccer players tried out for the Worthington Community Football Club between two tryouts on January 26th and 27th.

The club is preparing for its second season in the United Premier Soccer League with an expanded first team roster. They also feature an expanded coaching staff.

The Bulls manager staff is fronted by co-owner and local adult soccer organizer Eswin Hernandez. Hernandez is joined on the staff with trusty assistant John Borrero from last season and newcomer Jordan Balster, who will focus on the team's goalkeepers.

Balster is a highly regarded junior college coach, who led the Minnesota West Bluejays team to their best season to date this past fall.

"He's done a great job bringing in some talent, and it's really exciting to see some of those guys and see if they can step in and really help us," said co-owner Patrick Mahoney. "If we start off a little bit better last season, we're in a different spot. We need to be a playoff team and that's how you get in and so we're hoping that a few of these guys can help us unlock that next level."

WCFC finished its inaugural season in the UPSL with a five win, one draw and four loss season. The club was in the hunt for a playoff season in the final week of their season and was on a win streak with three straight victories to close out their year.

But expectations for this year are different. For one, there will only be one roster this year, which will provide the club with more depth in the upper division. The expectation for the club will be a featured mixture of new faces, promoted players from the former second team and of course key contributors from the past season. They also will have some key departures from athletes who have left the area and others who will miss the season with injury.

The club also viewed the addition of Balster on the staff as being key in addressing a spot of need from the past season.

"Eswin and John did such a great job with the guys, but we knew coming into this season one of the areas that we lacked last year and wanted to really improve was the goalkeeper position," said Mahoney. "Jordan just makes sense on so many levels. He's got the acumen of being a good goalkeeper, he's coached goalkeepers and he's a collegiate head coach. So to have somebody with his resume joining the club is just a huge gift for us."

WCFC had a great attendance in their home games last season and that support from the area is a driving force of the team. The Bulls won four of their five home games last year, their lone loss at home came playing down three players.

"It's Worthington community, but really, we want to highlight southwest Minnesota," said Mahoney, "There's a bunch of talent here, obviously in Worthington, but we've got a bunch of great kids here from Marshall this year, Prince (Lebbi) from Fairmont in the past, we've had kids from Sioux Falls and Spirit Lake. So I mean, we really just want to highlight that it's not just the Metro kids; that there is talent here, and that this is a way to showcase that."

The WCFC second year schedule will drop later this year with the team's schedule beginning in the spring. Last year's schedule ran from late April to the end of June with the aforementioned playoffs being played in July.

The four playoff teams from the Midwest West conference were Vlora FC, St. Croix Soccer

Club, Minneapolis City SC and Superior City FC — all teams which beat WCFC last year.