UNO men’s and women’s soccer see roster overhaul

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Jack Hoover

SPORTS EDITOR

Omaha’s No. 21 Avarie Howard fights for the ball against North Dakota State. Photo by Stephanie Veloso.

It’s been close to the year since we’ve last seen Omaha men’s and women’s soccer play, and when we see them again, they’ll have a distinctly different look.

Both teams lost some key pieces in the offseason, to either graduation or transfer. It appears that 2021, when the teams will compete in the spring, could be a bit of a rebuilding season.

On the men’s side, gone are four-year starters like defender Seth Rinderknecht and midfielder Cole Nelson. The leading goal-scorer from last season, Aaron Uribe, will no longer be with the team next season, nor will creative playmaker Diego Gutierrez. Those loses are just a few from a roster that will need to replace over 10 players.

The story is largely the same on the women’s team, as they will also have some big shoes in to fill. The Mavericks will have to replace six strong seniors– five of which were consistent starters. In addition, the Mavericks will also have to replace on their top point-scorers from last season in Amanda Rapaduski. Last year, Rapaduski picked up two goals and one assist.

While replacing marquee players might seem like a tall order, it appears on paper like both the men’s and women’s soccer team have done just that. Both teams made a bevy of signings in the off season, with the men’s team adding nine new players and the women’s team adding eleven, enough to make a whole new team.

There’s every reason to be excited about the new additions to the Maverick squads this season. The men’s team will have a particularly international flavor on their team this year, as the new crop of players can trace their countries of origin back to France, Norway, Spain, Jamaica, England and Japan.

One of the new players to watch next season will be Hugo Kametani, who comes to Omaha from Pima Community College. Kametani brings a goal scoring touch that will be sorely needed by the Mavericks. In 2018, Kametami scored 30 goals for Pima Community College. In comparison, Omaha scored all of 14 goals last season. If Kametami can become a consistent goal scorer at UNO, opposition defenses will have to be on high alert.

For the women’s team, local talent reigns supreme in the incoming class. Of the 11 incoming players, six of them attended high school in Nebraska.

The local players will likely be led by a trio of Graces, with Grace Ostergaard, Grace Crockett and Gracie Parsons. All three played in metro-area schools: Millard West, Marian and Burke respectively. Parsons and Ostergaard are midfielders who racked up a combined 47 goals and 40 assists in their high school careers. With spots opening up in the midfield next season, the two freshman could stake a claim at the heart of the Omaha offense.

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