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Girls Oct 06, 2012

WAGS Tournament: JMU’s Lombardo eyes top talent

James Madison University’s women’s soccer team looks set to finish 2012 with a losing record for the first time in years, as coach David Lombardo works with a youthful squad which has 20 of 28 players in either their first or second year with the program.

Now building towards the future amid a 4-9 season, Lombardo is looking to add to the youth movement. Recruiting at the WAGS Rael Vodicka Memorial Tournament in Fairfax, Va. over the weekend, Lombardo sat down with Soccer Wire to talk about his Dukes, the tournament, the recruiting process and more.

“This is one of the [few] early fall tournaments that we can get to, because a lot of the activities take place during the summer, and then you start them around the holidays,” Lombardo said.

With just four seniors, there might not seem to be many spots open on next year’s squad, but the coach is aiming to build on the Dukes’ young talent over several recruiting cycles.

“This is a chance for us to get a look at kids we are currently recruiting, and an early look at some of the kids a year behind them,” Lombardo said.

“For us, it’s close. It’s only a couple of hours away, so it makes sense to be here.”

Lombardo praised the WAGS Tournament for all it offered, as he tried to keep tabs on several players at George Mason University’s sports complex on Saturday, where the tournament’s older age groups played.

“I think it’s what you expect at this level,” said Lombardo of the talent. “For us, we are trying to find the level that is going to work [for JMU].

“It’s going to be more [class of ] 2014 and getting some 2015 girls on our radar. Most of our recruiting classes are around eight kids…You are looking at it each year where it’s pretty much the same thing; You need a goal scorer, you need a playmaker, you need some kind of central defender, some kind of flank player…and the x-factor, whether you need a goalkeeper or not.”

The coach scouted several players, a few he hopes take a visit to campus and show what JMU is all about. He knows what he is looking for, though. Lombardo isn’t looking for just position-specific athletes for this class and future classes. He likes to see girls who can play multiple positions, and he pronounced himself pleased with what he has seen thus far.

“I think it’s huge,” said Lombardo of versatility. “I think that’s going to be different from school to school. Some people like very specific [positions]. I’m losing a right back, so I get a right back. We look for kids that are from a general background, but you want a good athlete that is a good soccer player.”

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