Washington 2015 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School - University of Washington 
Conference - Pac-12
Coach - Jamie Clark (5th Season)
Background - When Jamie Clark was named the head coach at Washington in 2011 he indicated his sights were set on the Huskies annually competing for the Pac-12 title and a national championship. Although the program had a winning tradition the Huskies had been absent from the NCAA Tournament field for the past four seasons, had not won the Pac-12 Conference title since 2000, and had never advanced further than the Sweet Sixteen in NCAA Tournament play. At the time Clark's aspirations appeared to be long term stretch goals. However, that has not proven to be the case as the past four seasons have established that his intentions were not just fake rhetoric. Under Clark's direction, the Huskies have been 53-16-12 overall, they won the Pac-12 title in 2013, and earned invites to the NCAA Tournament in 2012, 2013, and 2014.  While they have not yet advanced to the College Cup or won a national championship, they advanced to the Elite Eight in 2013 for the first time in the history of the program and to the Sweet Sixteen in 2014. In a very short period of time Clark put in place a solid foundation and he has continued to build on it yearly as reflected in the very tangible results the Huskies have achieved. Washington has a ton of momentum and looks to be a program for which the sky is the limit. Forward Darwin Jones and midfielder Cristian Roldan were named to the 2014 All-Pac-12 First Team. Roldan was also named an All-American by both the NSCAA and College Soccer News. Midfielder James Moberg, forward Mason Robertson, and defender Andy Toma were 2014 All-Pac-12 Second Team selections. Toma was also named a 2014 NSCAA All-American.
Offense - The Huskies must fill the gap that the graduation of Jones (8g, 5a) leaves up-top. Jones was Washington's leading goal scorer and point producer last year. They will also be without the services of attacking center midfielder Roldan (3g, 2a) who directed traffic in the middle of the park for the Huskies. Roldan elected to ink a contract with Generation adidas to enter the professional ranks and forgo his final two seasons of collegiate eligibility. Both Jones and Roldan will be missed but plenty of offensive firepower returns.  Last year eleven different players found the back of the net for Washington including six who netted multiple goals. Four of Washington's top five goal scorers return led by junior Robertson (7g, 2a) who is an excellent target forward with proven big play ability. Senior winger Josh Heard (7g, 1a) also appears to figure prominantly in the attack. Sophomore Kyle Coffee who redshirted the 2014 season should add yet another dimension to what should be a very balanced offense. Senior center midfielder Moberg who has been a starter for the past three seasons returns to set the pace for the team. Moberg, who has twenty-one career assists to date, is among the best at his position in the country.  Look for him to play a greater role in the attack in 2015. Senior holding midfielder Ian Lange (2g, 2a) should also play a key role in 2015 as well as highly regarded sophomore center midfielder Henry Wingo (1g, 2a) who played in nineteen games last year with four starts. Redshirt sophomores Beau Blanchard (1g, 2a) and Danny Gavin and senior Jim Oganga are among other returning midfielders who will be in the mix in 2015. Freshman Corban Anderson is among the newcomers who should vie for playing time in the midfield.     
Defense - The Huskies will be without speedy left back Andy Thoma (0g, 2a), a 2014 All-Pac-12 Second Team selection, due to graduation.  They also must replace fifth-year senior goalkeeper Spencer Richey who posted a total of thirty career shutouts during a highly productive tenure between the pipes for Washington. Senior Justin Schmidt (3g, 7a) who played every game last year at center back will likely move to the left back spot vacated by Thoma. Schmidt's ability to push forward and his effectiveness out of set pieces adds an additional element to the offense. Senior Michael Gallagher who is a lock down defender also returns. Washington was a much stronger team last year when Gallagher who missed the later part of the season due to injury was in the lineup. Sophomore Justin Fiddes (1g, 2a) returns at right back with the advantage of a year of starting experience under this belt. Fiddes is a box to box defender with the ability to push forward at speed down the flank to add numbers to the attack. Fifth-year senior goalkeeper Ryan Herman saw limited action last year but played brilliantly as the starter in 2013 when Richey was out due to a broken leg. Herman, who had a 0.83 goals against average with eight shutouts in 2013, gives Washington a prime timer in goal. Sophomore Garrett Jackson (1g, 2a) and junior Stephen Wright (1g, 0a) are among other returning backs who will seek to play a greater role in 2015. Highly regarded freshman defender Quentin Pearson, who was a 2014 NSCAA Youth All-American out of the Colorado Rapids Academy, is among the newcomers with the potential to contribute immediately. 

Newcomers -  Four Star Recruiting Class 

Coach Clark stated, "This class is certainly very talented, but what blows me away about every player in this group is their work ethic and character. So while I believe they all have the talent to help from day one, this group is going to grow and develop into a special group during their time at UW."

Corban Anderson - Midfielder - Roseville, California - Granite Bay High School - Named MVP of 2014 NSCAA High School All-America game.  Played club for Placer United. 

Andrew Conwell - Midfielder - Brentwood, Tennessee - Mongomery Bell Academy - Played for Tennessee Soccer Club. 

Ryan Degroot - Midfielder - Tacoma, Washington - Bellarmine Prep - Played for Seattle Sounders Academy.

Kasey French - Defender - Lacey, Washington - Timberline High School - Played right back for Seattle Sounders Academy.  

Saif Kerawala - Goalkeeper - Bellevue, Washington, Issaquah High School - Played for the Seattle Sounders Academy.  Nominated for Gatorade Player of the Year in the State of Washington. Seattle Times All-Area.

John Magnus - Midfielder - Snohomish, Washington - Snohomish High School - Played for Seattle Sounders Academy.

Joey Parish - Forward - Redmond, Washington - Redmond High School - Played for Crossfire Academy.  A goal scorer. 

Quentin Pearson - Defender - Longmont, Colorado - St. Vrain Global Online Academy - Ranked by CSN as among the top fifteen players in the class of 2015. NSCAA 2014 Youth All-American. Colorado Rapids Academy Player of the Year. Member of U.S. U-18 National Team.  

Prognosis for 2015 - Seven starters plus Ryan Herman who was the starter in goal in 2013 along with a solid group of players who saw significant minutes last year are slated to return from the 2014 team that was 12-5-3 overall with a 5-4-1 mark that was good for a third place finish in conference play. In addition, Clark continues to put his stamp on the program with the addition of another talented recruiting class. Washington should have a multi-dimensional attack in 2015 with Robertson and Heard who are dynamic finishers leading the way. Seniors Moberg and Lange are proven veterans who will anchor what looks to be a very solid midfield.  Ditto that for seniors Schmidt and Gallagher in the back. Fifth-year senior Herman is a proven commodity in goal. The bottom line is that Washington will be a veteran team in 2015 that looks to be extremely talented down the spine. Will the Huskies contend for the Pac-12 title and earn their fourth consecutive invite to the NCAA Tournament? Barring the unforseen, the answer to that quesiton is yes. Anything less than that would be a big disappointment. Will Washington win the Pac-12 title and advance to the Sweet Sixteen or beyond in the NCAA Tournament again in 2015?  The answer to that quesiton is a little more complicated. The response is yes they have a good shot at accomplishing both if they play as well as they did in the first eleven games of the 2014 season when they were 9-1-1 and had signature wins over Pac-12 foes California and Stanford.  The answer is no if they play like they did from mid October through the end of the season during which time they were 3-4-2. Inquiries to key players, conditioning, depth, lack of focus, or perhaps it was simply that the level of competition was tougher may have hampered the Huskies down the home stretch last year. Regardless of the reason, the Washington players know that they didn't finish strong in 2014 and that should make them a hungry team in 2015.  

 

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