Unique Characters Look to Join CCNY Soccer Champs

By Ralph Chery, Contributor | 

Nine months after winning the CUNYAC championship, the City College Men’s soccer team is back on the field in seek of new additions to their championship roster. Tryouts started on August 19th and will end on September 1st. Three players head coach Roberto Ignaccolo should keep his eyes on are USA international futsal (indoor soccer) player Miguel Muniz, CCNY track star Stephen Ojo and former NEST+M high school star Francisco Ochoa.

46 players are trying out this season, 27 newcomers and 19 returning players. One newcomer who stands out is Miguel Muniz.

Muniz immigrated to the US from Spain only three weeks ago to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He played for Segosala, a futsal team in Spain, and competed for the US international futsal team when he was 18. Muniz was eligible to play for USA because one of his parents is Puerto Rican.

Muniz never played on a big field, but he’s positive that he will easily adjust to it. “I know they’re [City College] the current champions so it’s great to have the opportunity to play for them,” Muniz said after a morning tryouts session at Randall’s Island.

Muniz is trying out as a midfielder or striker but played defense during his futsal career. “I think that futsal adapts really well to outdoor soccer,” the freshman said, “especially futsal is smaller size and trying to be quicker and all that stuff so I think I’ll do great in outdoor.”

Another newcomer who will keep coach Ignaccolo off his seat is City’s Indoor Track & Field Rookie of the Year, Stephen Ojo. The 18-year-old was the captain of his high school soccer team in Prospect Heights. Ojo wanted to pursue his soccer career with City when he was a freshman, but missed the tryouts.

Ojo is keen to having a championship mentality when he contends. The Men’s Track & Field were the CUNYAC champions of 2015-2016, their sixth straight championship.

“I’m used to being a champion,” Ojo said. “Being on the CCNY track team, we’re always winning. I was on the championship team last year. I was the Rookie of the Year so coming to a championship team is definitely a great feeling.”

“I know I have a lot to offer on the table for the team to be the champion again. To win the championship this year is going to mean a lot. Back to back championships is definitely a good thing, it shows how much your team is progressing.”

Ojo is trying out for forward. The Beavers’ two starting strikers last season were Kenan Redzematovic, who tallied seven goals in 11 games, and Stephanos Hondrakis, who scored three goals in 18 games.

Ojo is confident that he will break into the starting line-up by the mid-season.

“There’s a lot of competition on the team but I’m just going to have to give all that I’ve got,” the sophomore track-star said, “You know, put my years of experience on the field for the team. I feel like I should definitely try to be a starter or will be a starter.”

CCNY lost starting right back Clifford Leriche in the off-season. Fresh out of  high school, Francisco Ochoa is eager to step in Leriche’s cleats in the back four.

“When coach told me that they’re missing a right back and they’re looking for one, it made me more motivated to play stronger,” the 17-year-old said, “It made me more motivated to earn that position as a starter.”

Ochoa played for New York Fusion Gremio. The Fusion finished second in the NYPSL under-18 third division last year.

The three young prospects will have a chance to make their debut for City College on September 1st, when the Beavers kick off their season against non-conference opponent Carthage College.

*Cover Photo by Taylor Jo Gillen / The Campus magazine

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