A month after concluding the National Premier Soccer League season, a group of Laredo Heat SC players will reunite and square off Saturday as Texas A&M International University hosts Colorado Mesa University to close out the TAMIU Classic at 7 p.m. at the TAMIU Soccer Complex.
NPSL Golden Glove winner Connor Durant is back in town to lead Colorado Mesa in net. Durant was named the Goalkeeper of the Year in the 95-team NPSL this season after playing every minute for Laredo and posting nine clean sheets in 15 matches while yielding only eight goals. He did not allow a goal in three postseason matches and stopped 5 of 12 shots faced in a pair of shootouts.
Durant became the fourth first-team All-American in Colorado Mesa history last season and was named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Goalkeeper of the Year as he was second in the nation with an .855 save percentage and third with 0.57 goals allowed per match. He finished 16-3-2 and had 10 solo and two combined shutouts.
Durant is joined on Colorado Mesa by Heat players Colton Shafer and Daisuke Takanaka. All three were key contributors as Laredo won both the regular season and postseason titles in the Lone Star Conference this summer. The Heat finished 10-2-3 and advanced to the regional semifinals where they were edged 6-5 in eight rounds of penalty kicks following a scoreless draw on the road against the Tulsa Athletic.
Colorado Mesa finished 16-4-2 in 2021 and won the RMAC championship. The Mavs advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament before falling 2-1 in overtime against No. 6 Cal State LA.
The Dustdevils feature Heat players Andres Herrera, Jorge “Koke” Mares, Martell Martinez and Jordan Mase as they attempt to build off TAMIU’s 6-10-1 finish last season which include a 3-3-1 home record. They were routinely involved in tight matches as they were narrowly outscored 26-23 for the season.
Before facing the Dustdevils on Saturday, Colorado Mesa opens the season with a 3 p.m. game Thursday at the TAMIU Soccer Complex against No. 22 Midwestern State University. TAMIU follows at 6 p.m. beginning its season against Regis.
Visit laredoheatsc.com and follow @laredoheatsc on social media to stay up to date on the latest news. Any youth players interested in joining the academy can visit laredoheatscyouth.com for more information.