SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In his 24th year at the helm of the program, Sacramento State men's soccer head coach Michael Linenberger sat down to do a Q&A before his team begins a historic season.
Linenberger and the Hornets will compete as members of the Big West Conference in 2012 after spending 20 seasons in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Sacramento State won MPSF titles in 2009 and 2010 and also advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in each of those seasons.
Q: You are moving from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation to the Big West this season. How do you view the challenge?
Linenberger: "We are very excited about it. The MPSF was great to us. We were an inaugural member and the longest tenured member in the league. It was a great conference for us, especially the last few seasons when we had a lot of success. But the Big West makes a lot of sense for us. Geographically we are paired with like universities, all UCs or CSUs. It's also a very strong conference. Last year it was rated the second toughest in the nation and is routinely in the top five while the MPSF was usually in the top-10 or top-15. The Big West is set up exactly the same as the MPSF, with two four-team divisions like we had before. So we're very familiar with that and we're also very familiar with the teams in the league. We've played two or three Big West opponents every year. Having said that, we know its different playing teams for points and championships as opposed to two or three non-conference games. Being in the Big West, we're excited that we don't have to leave the state of California any more. No more getting on airplanes, no more playing at altitude. We're also looking forward to getting some of these teams to come to our place, like UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly. Cal State Fullerton has actually never played here in the history of our program. Playing UC Davis twice a year is really exciting. We think it's a great move and we're looking forward to the challenge."