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Soccer notes

FC Tucson gets ready for first game

FC Tucson coach Rick Schantz isn't complaining, but acknowledges the challenges that he and his coaching staff face in managing a semi-pro squad.

At their final practice before their first official game on Thursday night, he talked a little about the style of play of the team. Unlike coaches at other levels, Schantz has to let the players available dictate the style of the team rather than finding player who will fit his system.

"We can't just go out and buy players we need," he said.

Still, the team has developed a style.

"We've got a strong central midfield, and two great forwards in Fernando Gauna and Minh Vu," he said.

For those who have spent hours watching European games, don't look for dozens of passes on every possession from FC Tucson, who will have a more direct style.

"We are not going to pass you to death," Schantz said.

The other challenge for the team and its coaches is getting the players to act as a team with so little time playing together. Professional teams train together twice a day, FC Tucson trains twice a week.

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Schantz thinks the team has stepped up despite their amateur status.

"We've been tough on them for three weeks. They keep showing up and being professionals even though we're not paying any of them."

***

Glenn Vauss's accent can be a bit hard to identify, with hints of German and British. As it turns out, the FC Tucson midfielder spent his formative years in Germany and England.

Vauss played in the youth system for storied German team Bayern Munich. His career there was cut short.

"I was doing well. Then I was tackled from behind and broke my calf. I had to get surgery and I couldn't walk properly after that."

He didn't play soccer for a year, and took up tennis. "Then I realized my foot was getting better so I got back into playing competitive soccer."

Vauss will be playing at the Univeristy of Santa Clara next year, but his coach wants him to play at FC Tucson this summer as part of his rehabilitation.

Vauss has been in the United States less than a month. "Everything is a bit new, but I'm having fun," he said.

The team has a lot of flexibility where they can use him; he has played a variety of midfield positions and is good with both his left and right foot.

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"I'll play where they want me to play, but I think they will use me on the wings."

He points out that he hasn't always been such a good player. On a youth team in England, "They gave me a trophy for most improved player because when I started, I was shooting on the wrong goal"

There is hope for all of us.

***

Friday night, the team will be playing Yavapai FC in Prescott. Next week, they will travel to Phoenix to play against the Arizona Sahuaros. Their first home game will be on June 4th.

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Omer Wazir/TucsonSentinel.com

FC Tucson players practice on Thursday night.