"Having the influence of seniors is a key component to a successful season, and we are fortunate to have 10 dedicated seniors this year," said head coach Ralph Lundy. "For six of our 10 seniors, they have almost seven years of experience with one another. I hope they realize how special that is and take advantage of their last year with one another."
The six players first came together in 2005 at the Disney Showcase, one of the more highly regarded tournaments in the nation, and the team had instant success winning the tournament over some of the top teams in the country.
"We have all played together for a long time and have great chemistry together," Benson said.
His teammate, All-Conference defender Shawn Ferguson, feels the class dynamic will help the team reach new heights in 2012: "Playing together for so many years gives us an advantage because we know each other's tendencies and know what it takes to win at a high level. We all played a part in our 2010 NCAA Tournament run and we all want to play an even bigger part in a successful 2012 season."
All six players, along with senior captain Sean de Silva, were influential in guiding the Cougars to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2010 where the team fell short to eventual national runner-up, Louisville.
"I want 2012 to be the best season that the College of Charleston has ever had," De Silva said. "I also want to be a true leader on this team to help us get to that level."
The challenge will be present every week for the Cougars as nine of the squad's 18 opponents made the NCAA Tournament in 2011. The schedule is highlighted by the Cougars hosting the 2011 national champion North Carolina along with powerhouses Stanford and Maryland.
"The amount of cohesiveness we've developed over the years mixed with the drive and talent we have will allow us to be ready for all challenges this fall," said Vukoder, acknowledging the high level of soccer that the team will need to play to be successful against such a tough schedule. "I feel like our group has been together for so long that we are not only teammates, but practically brothers," added Twohig.
"We have all been together for so long and have so many memories together on and off the field," Khoury said. "I want to see us finish the right way."
The men's soccer program begins its quest for a Southern Conference championship and NCAA Tournament bid on August 24th as the squad opens its season with an away match at South Carolina.
"We have a great senior class that have grown up playing together," Ralphie Lundy said. "Along with the Discoveries '90 team, De Silva, Geordi, and I actually played together down in Trinidad as youth players, so there is plenty of history within our group. Along with our seniors, we also have a strong group of underclassmen that will play a huge role as we all expect to maximize our final year together."