After a successful first season, in which they won a share of the National Premier Soccer League's Southeastern championship, the Georgia Revolution begin another professional soccer season in Conyers today.
The Revolution, run by the Rockdale Youth Soccer Association, begin year number two hosting the Mississippi Storm in an evening-long event starting at 5:30 p.m.
The night starts with one of the Georgia Revolution's newest additions, a women's team. The new squad, coached by Harry Kustick, will participate in a six-game season, meeting three of the Southeast Conference's other female teams.
Following the women's game, the Revolution's men's team will take the pitch at 7:30 p.m.
The squad will feature 15 returners from the 2011 team but will also have a new look to it.
Chief among the new additions is the Georgia Revolution's coach John Sprague. Sprague was an assistant coach with the team in 2011 and takes over for General Manager Rafe Mauran.
Mauran was both the GM and coach in 2011 and has stepped aside to focus more on the managerial aspects of both Georgia Revolution clubs.
"Last season, I was trying to manage and coach the group at the same time," Mauran said. "It was incredibly difficult. I figured I would step away from that and try to manage two groups instead of managing and coaching at the same time."
Sprague inherits a team which not only returns a lot of key players such as Dusty Folwer, Diego Nicholson, Jack Shultze and Scott Redding but also gained a few new ones.
Among the new Revolution talent is Clemson's Riley Sumpter, Oglethorpe's All-American Mark Lavery and four-year starter and two-time captain at Virginia Tech, Clark Bently.
"We have a lot more top-level Division I players this year," Mauran said. "We have a couple of guys on the cusp of signing professional contracts. The talent level is going to be higher than it was last year."
The talent will be put to the test early as the NPSL's Southeast Conference champions will host the Mississippi Brilla of the PDL in the first round of the U.S. Open Cup Tuesday. The U.S. Open Cup features all of the country's top soccer leagues competing in one competition.
If the Revolution manage a win Tuesday against a fellow fourth-division team they will host the Atlanta Silverbacks, who compete in the second division. A win over the Silverbacks would pit Georgia Revolution against a Major League Soccer team.
"Obviously playing a PDL team, they're going to be very good," said Mauran about the matchup with Brilla. "They're chock full of All-American and great NAIA players.
It's going to be a difficult game but it's going to be an opportunity for our guys on a larger scale to get some recognition.
"It certainly will be the biggest game our team has ever played in and might be the biggest soccer game that ever happened in Rockdale County."
After the U.S. Open Cup the Georgia Revolution will travel to NPSL champion Jacksonville United on May 19.
"I think teams are going to be aiming for us and Jacksonville," Mauran said. "Every game is going to be difficult for us."