Washington - Four Star Recruiting Class - Clarity regarding direction is considered an essential ingredient in the long term success of any organization. There is no ambiguity regarding the direction at Washington under Jamie Clark who stated, "In UW athletics, the goal will never be anything short of a National championship and we are in the midst of building toward that."
While a national championship may be a stretch goal right now for the Huskies there is no denying that the program has momentum and took a very tangible step forward last year by returning to the NCAA Tournament field for the first time since the 2007 season. Washington was 13-4-3 in 2012 including a very respectable 7-2-1 in Pac-12 play. Washington's signature win of the regular season was a 2-1 win over UCLA which was their first victory over the Bruins in Los Angeles since the 2007 campaign.
Clark, who was an All-American as a player at Stanford in 1997 and 1998, will enter his third season as the head coach at the University of Washington with the task of replacing an eight member senior class from the 2012 squad that included central defender Dylan Tucker-Ganges (8g, 0a) and center midfielder Ben Fisk (3g, 3a) who were All-Pac-12 First Team members. Other departures due to graduation include forwards Nate Sackeyfio (3g, 0a), Quinton Beasley (1g, 0a) and Abdul Aman (2g, 1a) and midfielder Patrick Pacheo (1g, 4a).
Clark has added twelve newcomers including three players who joined the Huskies for the spring season. The class features forward/defender Mason Robertson and defender Jose Ocampo who are ranked by College Soccer News as among the top one hundred players in the class of 2013. The surprise player of the class may prove to be midfielder Chris Roldan who Clark describes as "one of the best three players coming out of Southern California." Junior forward Darwin Jones who transfers in from Highline Community College is among other members of the recruiting class with the potential to contribute to the offense immediately.
Last year Washington scored a total of twenty-nine goals while holding opponents to a total of nineteen. The Huskies were as effective as any team in the country in scoring out of set pieces as reflected in the fact that they were led in scoring by center back Tucker-Gangnes who found the back of the net eight times.
The loss of Sackeyfio, Beasley, and Aman means that some new faces will be called to duty up-top. Transfer Darwin Jones and incoming freshman Mason Robertson are among the likely suspects to play key roles up-top. Sophomore Josh Heard who saw action in thirteen contests last year and fifth year senior Brad Jacobson who transfers in from Dartmouth with one year of eligibility remaining also look to be in the mix up-top. Freshman Steven Wright is among others who may add depth up-top.
Sophomore attacking mid James Moberg (4g, 6a) who had an outstanding freshman season and senior defensive mid Michael Harris (1g, 4a) look to be a very productive duo in the center of the park for the Huskies. Moberg will be at the heart of the offense while Harris, who netted the game winning goal in Washington's NCAA Tournament win over Air Force last year, is a talented and tough ball winner who will likely serve as the glue that holds everything together. Redshirt Sophomore Thomas Spragg from Drury, New Zealand has been hampered with injuries the past two seasons but looks to be healthy and ready to contribute out wide in 2013. Sophomore Ian Lange who played in fifteen contest last year is among other returning players who should be in the hunt for a significant role in the midfield. Incoming freshmen midfielders Chris Roldan and James Nosack are among the newcomers who will likely compete for playing time right away.
The departure of Tucker-Ganges and Fisk leaves a big gap to fill on the defensive side of the ball. Both were rock solid leaders. However a good nucleus returns in the back led by center backs sophomore Michael Gallagher (1g, 0a) and senior Taylor Peay (1g, 0a). Both have the size and athleticism needed to get the job done. Andy Thoma (0g, 2a) who was a starter last year returns to give the Huskies an experienced and talented presence at the right back spot. Redshirt junior Charlie Ranahan is among other returning players who will have a shot at a starting role in the back in 2013. Freshman Jose Ocampo is among the newcomers who should be in the hunt for playing time in the back right away.
Senior Spencer Richey, a 2012 All-Pac 12 First Team selection, has been the starting netminder since arriving in Seattle in 2010. He will add stability to the defense particularly in the early going. Richey played every minute in goal for Washington for the past two seasons. Last year he had a 0.85 goals against average and recorded ten shutouts. Richey is a difference maker and is considered by many to be among the top netminders in the country heading into the 2013 campaign.
Washington has some gaps to plug and questions to answer but there are also a lot of positives heading into the 2013 season. Clark has added playmakers like Robertson and Jones who have the potential to strengthen the Huskies on the offensive side of the ball. The sophomores like Moberg , Gallagher, Heard and Lange have the benefit of a year of experience under their belts. Harris provides stability and senior leadership in the midfield. A solid foundation exist in the back and senior Richey appears primed for a great season between the pipes.
Washington should again be in the thick of the Pac-12 title race in 2013. If everything falls into place they have a very good chance to build on the success they enjoyed last year and take yet another step forward.
Darwin Jones - Forward - Des Moines, Washington - Mt. Rainier High School - Highline Community College - Junior transfer. Played with Dismuke in the Sounders Academy. Regional All-Star.
Dom Dismuke - Forward - Federal Way, Washington - Decatur High School - Three-time All-League First Team selection. Plays with Seattle Sounders Academy U-18 team.
Brad Jacobson - Midfield - Larchmont, New York - Mamaroneck High School - Dartmouth - Senior transfer with one year of eligibility. Played for Dartmouth in 2009. Played club with FC Westchester.
Ian Bartlett - Goalkeeper - Redmond, Washington - Brighton High School - Region IV ODP team. PLayed for Inter FC of Salt Lake City. Two-time RSL Academy Team selection.
Beau Blanchard - Midfield - Sammamish, Washington - Sammamish High School - Played club for highly successful Eastside FC. First Team All-State selection.
Danny Gavin - Forward - Phoenix, Arizona - Desert Vista High School - Played club for Real Salt Lake - Arizona. Invited to attend the U.S. U-17 National Team Camp.
Johnny Knutsen - Midfield - San Francisco, California - Plays for the San Jose Earthquakes Academy. 2010 Cal North 94 State Team. Region IV ODP camp in 2010 and 2011.
James Nosack - Midfield - Vancouver, Washington - Plays for the Portland Timbers Academy. ODP Region IV All-Star Team.
Jose Ocampo - Defender - Bothell, Washington - Plays for Crossfire Premier Academy Team. Rated by CSN as the number 74 recruit in the class of 2013. Named to Academy Select Team.