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UNO soccer squads open their first full season on new pitch as all Maverick teams enter final year of Division I transition.
For much of 2013, getting to play on-campus seemed like an almost unattainable goal for the UNO men’s and women’s soccer teams.
Multiple times, poor weather delayed the opening of the new UNO soccer pitch at renovated Caniglia Field. Work eventually was completed, but each Maverick team was able to play just a handful of games on the beautiful, all-weather surface.
Optimism — and the hope for a significant home-field advantage — abounds as 2014 approaches.
“Having a facility like Caniglia Field allows us to attract top opponents, and that builds the profile of your program, especially one like ours that’s so new,” says Jason Mims, UNO men’s head coach. “Soccer is a small world, and if you have high-caliber teams come in, word spreads and you’re able to attract more teams from the top conferences for nonconference games.”
Mims’ team opens its fourth season at home Aug. 29 and Aug. 31 against, respectively, traditional powers UC Santa Clara and Stanford.
“When you schedule great teams in a great facility, your guys get excited,” Mims says. “They train harder and they play harder and eventually, if you have success, that should help you recruit top players.”
The UNO women’s soccer team, established in 1999, views its first full season at Caniglia Field a bit differently.
“For me, it goes deeper than just the full season,” says Don Klosterman, the only head coach in team history. “For us, it’s so important to be in one place.”
Previously, UNO’s women’s soccer team played its home games on the UNO soccer field at Chili Greens, a modest facility even by the Division II standards under which the Mavericks once played.
“Now, we can practice, change, get treatment in the training room, workout and study all in one place,” Klosterman says. “We have the best of all worlds. There is not a better facility in the Summit League than ours.”
The women play their home opener Aug. 22 against Incarnate Word.
Following is a preview of all Maverick teams playing this fall. All UNO teams now have completed two seasons of Summit League play and enter their final year of Division I transition. Beginning in 2015 Maverick teams will be eligible to compete for Summit and NCAA postseason championship appearances.