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FGCU 2015 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School – Florida Gulf Coast University
Conference – Atlantic Sun Conference
Coach – Bob Butehorn (9th Season)
Background – The men's soccer program at FGCU has only been in existence for eight years. The Eagles served a four-year reclassification period after becoming a D-1 program in 2007 and qualified for the NCAA Tourney in the program's first year of D-1 postseason eligibility in 2011. FGCU is 74-55-18 overall during the past eight seasons with a 44-17-5 record in Atlantic Sun Conference play. FGCU has won the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season title for the past five consecutive seasons and won the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament and a spot in the NCAA Tournament in 2011, 2012 and 2014. FGCU has the longest home regular-season conference unbeaten streak in the country. The Eagles have not lost a home regular-season conference contest in their last twenty-six games, The Eagles were 8-7-5 overall in 2014 with a 4-1-1 mark in conference play. Their 2014 season came to an end when they were topped 1-0 by Coastal Carolina in the first round of the NCAA Tourney. Goalkeeper Nathan Ingham, defender Aaron Guillen, midfielder Rodrigo Saravia and forward Felipe DeSousa were 2014 All-Atlantic Sun Conference First Team selections. Midfielder Isaiah Madrid and forward Henry Penagos were 2014 All-Atlantic Sun Conference Second Team selections and midfieder Miguel Jaime and forward Albert Ruiz were named to the All-Atlantic Sun Freshman Team.  
Offense – Offensive productivity is a bit of a mystery at FGCU heading into the season simply due to the fact of the void that exists due to departures and the fact that it is unclear at this point who is going to fill that void. No returning player scored more than a single goal last year. The Eagles will be without Felipe DeSousa (5g, 0a), Henry Penagos (4g, 0a), Isaiah Madrid (3g, 2a) and Santiago Echeverri (2g, 2a) who were FGCU's top four goal scorers last year. The loss of DeSousa, who was a three-time Atlantic Sun All-Conference First Team selection, leaves the biggest shoes to fill. Sophomore forwards Albert Ruiz (1g, 0a) and Arion Sobers-Assue (1g, 1a) are among returning players who will be counted upon to fill the void. Both should benefit from the playing time they experienced last year. Seniors Rodrigo Saravia (1g, 0a) and Steven Oliveri (0g, 1a), junior David Robledo (0g, 1a) and sophomore Miguel Jaime (0g, 1a) are among returning midfielders who should play key roles in 2015. Sophomore midfielder Robert Ferrer who transfers in from Brevard College, freshman midfielder Dennis Zapata and freshman forward Thiago Silva are among the members of the recruiting class who should compete for playing time from the get-go. 
Defense – The defense looks to be a team strength in 2015. Senior center back Aaron Guillen (0g, 1a) who has been a starter for the past three seasons returns to anchor the backline. Sophomore center back Nicolas Samayoa (1g, 1a) who was a starter last year also returns at center back. They will be joined by senior outside back Skylar Wilks (0g, 1a) who has been a starter the past two seasons and sophomore Kamar Marriott (1g, 0a) who gained valuable playing time last year. Sophomore back Eli Roubos who transfers in from Oregon State is among the newcomers who could contribute immediately. Redshirt senior Nathan Ingham who had a 0.71 goals against average and posted nine clean sheets last year returns in goal.    

Newcomers –  Four Star Recruiting Class 

Coach Butehorn stated, "The character and potential for this group is unlike any we've ever had. They're a good group with a bright future; they're good technically and they fill evry need we have."

Dennis Zapata – Midfield – Orlando, Florida – University High School –  Played for the Orlando City U-18 Academy. All-Conference. Florida ODP team. Region III ODP All-Tournament team. Also played for CFK Black. 

Preston Kilwien – Defender – Pleasant Hill, California – Campolindo High School – Played for the De Anza Force Soccer Club. A left-sided back.

Jordan Lue – Midfielder – Tampa, Florida – Warton High School – Redshirt transfer from UCF. Played with the Chargers Academy. All-County.

Pedro Fonseca – Forward – San Jose, Costa Rica – Colegio Monterrey – Junior transfer from Briar Cliff University where he started eighteen games last year.  

Eli Roubos – Defender – Toronto, Ontario – Northview Heights Secondary School – Sophomore transfer from Oregon State where he appeared in seven games last year. Played for Toronto FC Academy.

Dylan Sacramento – Midfielder – Unionville, Ontario – Transfer from York University in Canada. Former member of the Canadian U-18 National Team. Played for Toronto FC Senior Academy Team. 

Fernando Ramirez – Forward – Weston, Florida – Cypress Bay High School – All-Broward County Honorable Mention. Played for Plantation FC. 

Chase Webert – Goalkeeper – St. Peters, Missouri – Francis Howell High School – First Team All-GAC South. Played for St. LouisScott Gallagher 

Robert Ferrer – Sophomore – Midfielder – IES Calmot – Sophomore transfer from Brevard College where he started fourteen games last year. 

Joseph Malu – Forward – Gainesville, Florida – Eastside High School – Gainesville Sun's Small School Co-Player of the Year. Netted thirty-one goals his senior season. 

Sawyer Jackman – Goalkeeper – St. Charles, Illinois – St. Charles East – Played for the Chicago Fire U-18 Team.

Deion Hunter – Defender – Laurel, Maryland – Meade High School – Played for the Arundel Soccer Association. 

Alec Waller – Defender – Columbia, Illinois – Columbia High School – Played with the St. Louis Scott Gallagher Metro. 

Thiago Silva – Forward – Brasilia, Brazil – Colegio Nossa Senhora do Perpetuo Socorro – Played for Brazil Legiao and CFZ.

Prognosis for 2015 – The progress that the program at FGCU has made in such a relatively short period of time is impressvie. It may not happen in 2015 but it is just a matter of time before FGCU makes a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Florida is a talent rich state and a lot of talent outside of the state may find Fort Myers and the climate there a desirable place to earn a degree and play college soccer. Add in the fact that FGCU head coach Bob Butehorn knows how to build a winning team and all the ingredients are in place for continued success. Fourteen letterwinners return from the 2014 team supplemented by a very good recruiting class but questions remain heading into the 2015 season regarding offensive productivity. For evidence of this you need look no further than the fact that FGCU will enter the 2015 season without players who were responsible for fifteen of the twenty goals they placed in the back of the net last year. While questions exist on the offensive side of the ball that is not the case on the defensive side of the ball. A tenacious Eagle defense, anchored by center back Aaron Guillen and senior goalkeeper Nathan Ingham, that held opponents to a total of only fifteen goals last year returns pretty much intact. The midfield led by senior Rodrigo Saravia who has been a starter since arriving on campus looks to be experienced and deep. Other challenges facing Butehorn in 2015 include effectively merging such a large recruiting class in with the returning players while also instilling a team first rather than individual mentality. Based on their dominance in the past and the talent returning FGCU remains the team to beat in the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2015. The Eagles will once again have a very competitve non-conference slate of opponents but it should prepare them well for conference play. Early season non-conference contests with the likes of Georgetown, Wake Forest and South Florida are potential resume builders but they also could take a toll on FGCU's overall win record. 


Posted in 2015 Team Reviews

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