Soccer team to kick off season with tourney


NMU’s soccer team will take part in the annual Dome tournament to kick off the spring season this weekend.

The ‘Cats will play four games throughout the two days against two Canadian club teams as well as Michigan Tech and NMU’s club team.

NMU head coach, Matt Granstrand said the tournament will be a great opportunity to prepare the team for the regular season in the fall.

“We have our fall season, which is about winning, and we have our spring season, which is about developing our players, and looking for different combinations we may use in the fall,” he said.

Last season, NMU went 11-9-1 and ended the year in the GLIAC quarterfinals against Ferris State.

The ‘Cats also lost seven seniors, so NMU will go into the tournament with just 15 players on the roster.

“Everyone is going to play and everyone is going to get opportunities and lots of (playing) time this weekend,” Granstrand said. “And this will help us piece the puzzle together for next year.”

Also helping the cause for next season are the seven freshmen NMU signed in the offseason.

“We knew we were going to lose some big names and we knew we needed to bring in a good class, and I think we did that,” Granstrand said. “I expect these freshmen to jump right in and contribute right away.”

While recruiting, Granstrand said he wasn’t looking for specific positions to fill but rather athletes who fit the program.

“Every year we look for bigger, stronger, faster, and we certainly have some great athletes now, and we’re just trying to add to that,” he said.

Granstrand added the new soccer stadium, which will open next fall, was a big help with recruiting new players.

“Once the recruits saw the commitment from the president and the athletic director, that we were going to get a fenced field-without a doubt, it made a recruiting difference,” he said. “And it (the new stadium) allows us to recruit maybe a higher level.”

Granstrand said he hopes the additions of the new field and the new players will be what NMU needs to make the NCAA tournament for the first time in the program’s history.

“We have been on the bubble for few years,” he said. “I think my expectations for this group are very high.”

The spring season is just the beginning of the road, but Granstrand said he has liked what he has seen thus far.

“I think we are probably working harder then we have worked in the spring for the last couple years,” he said. “That is accredited to our upperclassmen who demand we put in the work in now because they want to get into that national tournament.”

The first game for NMU in the tournament will be Saturday at 11 a.m. against the Sault Ste. Marie Thunder at the Dome.

Saturday’s matches are: Windsor Eastside Kickers vs. NMU Alumni at 1 p.m., Sault Ste. Marie Thunder vs. Michigan Tech University at 3 p.m., Windsor Eastside Kickers vs. NMU at 5 p.m., Michigan Tech University vs. NMU Club team at 7 p.m. and Sault Ste. Marie Thunder vs. Windsor Eastside Kickers at 9 p.m.

Sunday’s are: Windsor Eastside Kickers vs. NMU Club at 10 a.m., Sault Ste. Marie Thunder vs. NMU Alumni at noon, Michigan Tech University vs. NMU at 2 p.m. and NMU vs. NMU Club team at 4 p.m.