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Goalkeeper Joe Larson Returns to Mariners for 2003 Season

December 6, 2002 - USL First Division (USL-1) - Virginia Beach Mariners News Release

Virginia Beach, VA – Mariners owner Mike Field announced that the team has officially signed goalkeeper Joe Larson for the 2003 season. “Joe was our best discovery last season and re-signing him was a top priority in the off-season,” said Field.

At the beginning of the 2002 season, Larson was largely unknown in A-League when the Mariners signed him to back up goalkeeper Tim Figureido. Larson made the most of his first start on May 11 when he held the Charlotte Eagles scoreless for 97 minutes. He retained the starting position for the remainder of the season, but was temporarily sidelined because of a serious mid-season injury.

Larson racked up 70 saves in 17 games and had a GAA (goals against average) of 1.62 in the 2002 season. Larson also had three shutout wins (against Pittsburgh, Richmond and Charlotte). He was named to the United Soccer League’s (USL) Team of the Week for his 11 saves in a June 15, 2002 game against the Charleston Battery. Although the Mariners lost when Charleston scored four minutes into overtime, Larson had kept the top team in the Eastern Conference from scoring for over 90 minutes.

Larson is a North Dakota native who spent his college soccer career at Liberty University. As a player, Larson was named to All-South Atlantic Region, All Conference First team and All-Virginia as voted by the Virginia Association of Sports Information Directors. He also led the Liberty Flames in goals against average for three out of four years. Larson trained with Helsingsborg HIF in Sweden in 1998 before returning home to play professional soccer. He signed with the A-League's El Paso Patriots in 2001, but saw little action on the field prior to joining the Mariners in 2002. In addition to his role with the Mariners, Larson serves as the assistant soccer coach at Liberty University.

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