A CORUÑA, SPAIN – With the 2013-14 regular academic year at FGCU concluding earlier this week, men’s soccer players Steven Oliveri, Rodrigo Saravia and Aaron Guillen have already continued their preparations for the upcoming 2014 season by traveling to Spain where the group is currently training with professional club Deportiva la Coruña.
The trio will train with the club and its reserve squad for a two-week period through the middle of May as it makes its final regular-season push for a league championship. The unique opportunity allows all three rising juniors to learn from some of the best players and coaches not only in Spain, but Europe and the world.
“This is a fantastic time for Steven, Rodrigo and Aaron to watch, learn, train and interact with some of the most talented players and coaches in the sport,” FGCU head coach Bob Butehorn said. “I believe this will help all three further elevate their game, and I’m hopeful future FGCU players will have a similar opportunity during their careers.”
With a full name of Real Club Deportivo de La Coruña, Deportivo – as the team is most commonly known – has spent 42 years as a member of La Liga, the top professional league in Spain. However, while the club is not currently in La Liga (since 2012-13), it is at the top of the second division with four games to play – a position which would promote the team back into the premier league.
Steeped in history, Deportivo won the La Liga title in 2000, and in a 12-season period from 1992-2004 it finished in second place four times, third place four times and contested in the European Champions League five years in a row. The club’s 540 La Liga victories are the 11th-most in the league’s 85-year history. In addition, Deportivo claimed the Copa del Ray (annual Spanish championship) in 1995 and 2002 – one of only 12 teams to win multiple titles in the 112-year history of the event.
Oliveri (Stuart, Fla./Jensen Beach HS) was named to the Atlantic Sun Conference Second Team as he started all 16 games he appeared in during the 2013 season. Oliveri was perhaps the Eagles’ most dependable midfieler as he finished the year with 1,469 minutes played, logging at least 90 minutes in 14 matches. He was part of an FGCU defense which allowed just four goals in A-Sun action, and six over the final 10 regular-season games.
Guillen (El Paso, Texas/Coronado HS) was tabbed as an A-Sun All-Conference First Team choice last year after serving as a primary defender in the Green and Blue’s backline which allowed the least amount of goals in league tilts. Guillen played a vital role in five shutouts, scored his first career goal (one of only two defenders to score in 2013) and was the only player on the roster to play more than 1,500 minutes (1,506) – logging at least 90 minutes all 16 games.
Saravia (Guatemala City, Guatemala/College Internacional Montessori) also landed on the A-Sun All-Conference Second Team as he tied for third on the team with two assists from the midfield position. Like Oliveri and Guillen, he logged substantial minutes, finishing fourth on the team with 1,403, while starting all 16 contests.
FGCU — which will not lose any players to graduation for the upcoming campaign — became the first team in A-Sun history to win four straight regular-season titles this past fall with a 6-1-1 record. The Green and Blue has a 28-3-2 mark in A-Sun games since the start of the 2010 season. All three of its conference losses have come on the road, and out of a possible 99 points that could have been earned in that time, the Eagles have claimed an impressive 86 of them.