The next time you're sitting on the sidelines of the soccer field at Jamestown Community College and a Jayhawk hollers to a teammate to make a pass, don't be surprised when the voice doesn't carry that once-omnipresent Western New York twang.
Sure, it'll be there some of the time, but the odds are almost just as good that it won't.
With five foreign-born players populating the JCC roster - and all expected to start or, at least, log a hefty amount of minutes during each contest - this year's edition of the Jayhawks men's soccer team will have a decidedly cosmopolitan feel.
One of four returning starters, Jamestown Community College sophomore Gage Bird, left, was a second-team All-Western New York Athletic Conference selection last year after tallying 11 goals in 14 games.
P-J file photo by Rob Tucker
The members of the Jamestown Community College men’s soccer team are, in front from left, Andrew Lindstrom, Brett Johnson, Eric Olson, Mike Morris, Gage Bird, Cody Hughes, Ryan Houghtalen, Matthew Walsh, Kisun Peters, Peter Dawe, Mitchell Gavin and Kaleb Pierce. In back are assistant coach Reid Sturzenbecker. Sam Valone, Justin Loverme, Tyler Dykstra, Brenton Walker, Jacob Searles, Miguel Parrara, Evan Ahlstrom, Jorge Devon Jimenez, Alijhiah Minor, Nico Buringrud, Nolan Farr, Jason Pembridge and head coach Pat Anderson.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
"I've said ever since I got here," fifth-year coach Pat Anderson said, "that we have to find a way to get more international players in order to broaden our team's understanding of the game and to get guys to play at a higher level."
Consider "Part A" of Anderson's imperative accomplished, for along with a strong contingent of local recruits, this is the highest number of international players the team, under Anderson's direction, has ever had.
As for "Part B," well, only time will tell, but early indications are positive.
At the moment, one week before the squad's first scrimmage (with Pitt-Bradford) and T-minus 12 days until the team's home-opening NJCAA Region 3 Division III battle with Mohawk Valley CC, the mix seems to be providing the desired results - namely, a patient style of play with a heavy emphasis on ball control.
"We really like what we see," Anderson said of his Jayhawks, who began practicing on Aug. 1. "(Normally) we have to work with some of our guys on making one or two touches and then getting rid of the ball. But (with the international players), they're more trained in that aspect of the game and they've played in systems that expect more ball control; that are not quite so racehorse.
"It (usually) takes a significant portion of the season before we get to that point, but we've already seen a greater degree of patience amongst the team than we generally do this time of year."
That's a good sign, especially considering that JCC, which finished with a 10-9-2 record and was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round in 2012, has just four returning starters, and only seven who saw any action at all last season?
Three of the international players this year hail from Australia, with two - Peter Dawe and Jacob Searles - set to join forces with local standout Justin Loverme (he was the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 defensive player of the year for league-champion Southwestern last season), and others, to provide the framework for what looks to be a solid defensive unit.
"I think we're going to be a pretty strong defensive team," Anderson said. "(Dawe and Searles) make us much stronger defensively. They're big, strong, high-quality defensemen, and Loverme will be a big contributor."
The third Aussie, Brenton Walker, who Anderson notes is 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, is currently locked in a battle with returner Tyler Dykstra (Falconer) for the starting goaltending job - though, no matter who ultimately wins out, both are expected to play this season.
The offensive contingent should be formidable as well.
At midfield, along with returners Evan Ahlstrom (a second-team All-WNYAC choice last year) and Nolan Farr (three goals, six assists), are newcomers Brett Johnson (Frewsburg), Mike Morris (Salamanca), Nico Buringrud (a Northern California native who played at Olean last season), Miguel Parrara (Peru) and Jorge Devon Jimenez (Mexico/Minnesota).
As high school seniors, Morris tallied 15 goals and 19 assists in 17 games for the Warriors while Johnson delivered a team-high 11 assists for the Bears.
And up front, joining prolific-scorer Gage Bird, whose 11 goals in 14 games last season was the second best tally on the team and earned him an All-WNYAC second-team selection, are Eric Olson (Maple Grove), who led the CCAA in scoring as a senior at Maple Grove with 21 scores, and another former Red Dragon, Jason Pembridge, who is a sophomore but is playing for JCC for the first time.
"We're pretty pleased with our recruiting," Anderson said. "Reid Sturzenbecker (Anderson's assistant coach) and I were talking about the different talent level and we said it seems to get better and better every year. We get better size, better depth of talent and the speed gets a little better.
"This year is a little better than the last, and we're hoping the results are better, too."
JCC MEN'S SOCCER SCHEDULE
Aug. 24 - Mohawk Valley CC, 3 p.m.
Aug. 31 - at Finger Lakes CC Classic, 3 p.m.
Sept. 1 - at Finger Lakes Classic, 1 p.m.
Sept. 4 - Alfred State College, 4 p.m.
Sept. 7 - Lorain County CC, 1 p.m.
Sept. 8 - at Westmoreland County CC, 3 p.m.
Sept. 14 - at Onondaga CC, 2:30 p.m.
Sept. 18 - Monroe CC, 4 p.m.
Sept. 21 - at Cayuga CC, 3 p.m.
Sept. 25 - Finger Lakes CC, 4 p.m.
Sept. 28 - Corning CC, 2 p.m.
Sept. 30 - Roberts Wesleyan junior varsity, 4 p.m.
Oct . 2 - Mercyhurst North East, 4 p.m.
Oct. 5 - Tompkins Cortland CC, 2 p.m.
Oct. 6 - at Broome County CC, 3 p.m.
Oct. 9 - at Genesee CC, 4 p.m.
Oct. 12 - Niagara County CC, 2 p.m.
Oct. 16 - at Erie CC, 5 p.m.