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DWU men's soccer coach fielding calls

When the University of Sioux Falls decided to discontinue its men's soccer program Monday, Dakota Wesleyan University coach Jeremy Tosaya said his cell phone "kind of exploded."

USF announced Monday that effective for the upcoming 2013-14 academic year, the school would no longer support men's soccer in its athletic department, forcing at least 27 returning players and all of the incoming recruits to be without a team.

This week, Tosaya said he's been fielding calls, texts messages and emails from former USF players looking to join the Tigers' roster. Before he went in-depth into talking with the players, he had to wait for Sioux Falls to grant their official releases, which came Tuesday, because of collegiate athletic rules.

"We're going to have to take it like the normal recruiting process," he said. "We can't take too many players and have kids who are unhappy. We're kind of going through the normal process of having them apply and see where they're at academically and where they'll fit in to our program."

USF is an NCAA Division II school that competes primarily in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The NSIC sponsors women's soccer but not men's soccer. This forced USF to join the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and, according to a USF news release, "involved significant travel and excessive class absences for student-athletes due to the location of the GNAC member schools."

Before USF moved out, the GNAC fielded eight men's soccer teams that were based mostly in Montana, Washington, Alaska and Canada.

"From what I've gathered, a lot of the travel was by air," Tosaya said. "Kids were missing three days a week of class. It just wasn't an ideal situation."

Tosaya said he's been contacted by eight or nine USF players, but he's not sure exactly how many he has room for on his team. DWU already has eight incoming players committed to join the team by next fall. The Tigers lose at least six seniors to graduation.

Although he's disappointed to see one of the men's soccer programs in the state dissolve, Tosaya and the DWU coaching staff will have one less program to recruit against from now on. But a downfall is the Tigers will have one less team to schedule scrimmages and will be required to travel farther for exhibition games.

He's waiting to see if there are enough scholarship money and roster spots for any additions.

"We can't guarantee anything to anybody," he said. "We definitely want to help and there are kids there who we've tried to recruit and kids we're interested in. We're looking to bring in a few more (players), but you're just asking for problems if you overload a roster just for the sake of having numbers."