OGDEN -- Looking to build off a strong finish to the 2009 season, the Ogden Outlaws kick off their fifth season tonight with their sights firmly set on success.
Armed with the deepest and unquestionably most loaded roster in franchise history, Ogden is looking to not just be competitive, but to win matches.
"Formation-wise, whether we run a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 we want to press in the attacking third," said Ogden owner/coach Mike Hickman Sr. "We're not going to sit back and counterattack like we did early last year. We want to press in the attacking third and press in the middle third, and attack from there with numbers. That's how I expect us to play this whole season."
Ogden kicks off its 2010 season tonight at 8 p.m. against the Fresno Fuego at Chukchansi Park in Fresno, Calif., followed by a meeting with 2009 Premier Development League champion Ventura County on Saturday at Buena High School's Stadium by the Sea.
Hickman and the Outlaws' coaching staff made it a key priority to increase the teams' depth across the pitch.
"We are committed to bringing the highest level of talent to our team that we can possibly get," Hickman said. "It's important that we put a great product on the field for the fans."
It addition to many Outlaws mainstays, Ogden added two highly decorated players to its roster in recent weeks. Central midfielder Michael Farfan joins the team from the University of North Carolina, where he was a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference performer. Goalkeeper Austin Guerrero comes to Ogden after being named All-West Coast Conference at the University of Portland.
Ogden will be missing several of its top college players during this opening weekend as not every university is out of school yet, but Hickman expects his roster to be at full strength for its home opener on May 21.
"Soccer isn't a foreign game by any means; we make it harder than it is sometimes," Hickman said. "As they get time it helps with cohesiveness and stuff like that, but soccer is about moving and playing the space, and a combination of ...
"I think once we get everyone on the same page and with the same purpose of mind, we'll be pretty good. It's just getting everyone on that same page of how we want to play."
Also joining Ogden this season is former Utah Freeze and Utah Blitzz player Rob Karas. Karas, who also helps run Real Salt Lake's youth camps, will share head coaching duties with Hickman.