Over the offseason, the Dodge City Community College Conquistadors women’s soccer team has underdone some significant changes.
On a roster with 23 players, 17 are freshmen.
“We have players that did phenomenal in here and the moved on,” Conquistador head coach Steward Bortey said. “I recruited and I did what I could to bring in great players, and that’s what I feel like I’ve done. Right now I’m happy with what I’ve brought in, and we just need to test ourselves and truly see where we are at.”
It’s a very diverse roster, with players from Kansas, Georgia, Alaska, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida and Mexico.
Team chemistry right now is strong, Bortey said.
“Obviously we’re very talented, they’re talented individuals, but you can have a lot of individuals who are talented and if they’re not together it’s not gonna make the dream work,” Bortey said.
Two key players who moved on where the Conqs leading scorers last year: Begona Rodriguez Bravo, who had 11 goals and four assists last year, and Siobhan Longmore, who had 10 goals and five assists.
On paper last season, Bortey said the team was okay that and he did well as a first-year head coach.
“Then again, I wasn’t happy because of the competitiveness,” Bortey said. “We were a good team, and individually we were good. We just didn’t figure things out early enough.”
The team beat Cloud County Community College 2-1 later in the season, and Cloud County went on to win the Region VI Soccer Championship.
The team also lost to some weaker opponents though, and that made Bortey beat himself up a little bit about it.
“If we can beat Cloud, why can’t we beat other teams? And the girls from last year actually kind of see that as well,” Bortey said. “We could have done so much better than we thought we could have.”
Hopefully, the returners can help carry on the torch the team lit last year, Bortey said.
Statistically, the Conqs were middle of the pack in many categories compared to other Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference teams. Of 16 teams, they were sixth in shots, ninth in goals and tied for 10th in assists.
Bortey said he thinks improved team chemistry this year will help that a lot.
“I think we will do better,” Bortey said. “I mean that’s every coach’s goal.”
But nothing is certain until the actual season starts, Bortey cautioned.
“Regardless of what you bring in, you truly do not know what you truly have until you actually play somebody,” Bortey said.