Recruiting Class News and Analysis - California Adds Seven Member 2019 Recruiting Class

Kevin Grimes once again cast his recruiting net over the state of California and landed an impressive recruiting class that should win a lot of games before its tenure in Berkeley is over.  The newcomers join a Cal team that experienced a season of growing pains in 2018 due to injuries and inexperience.   

Departures and Gaps - The Golden Bears will be without the services of a five member 2018 senior class that included All-Pac-12 First Team forward Shinya Kadono, All-Pac-12 Second-Team midfielder Sam Ebstein (3g, 1a), and defender Sam Junqua who was eighth overall pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft. The loss of Kadono (12g, 2a), who was California's top goal scorer the past two seasons, leaves a big scoring void to fill.  Kadono and Ebstein accounted for fifteen of the twenty-two goals the Golden Bears scored last year.  

Opportunities for Improvement - Injuries and inexperience hampered California in 2018.  Injuries resulted in line up changes that contributed to inconsistency and the ability to get into a rhythm.  Keeping healthy in 2019 should improve consistency. Twelve of the twenty-four players on the 2018 roster were either true freshman or redshirt freshman. Five freshmen were in the starting lineup. It is tough to learn on the job in the Pac-12 Conference. The good news is that the experience the current sophomores gained last year should pay dividends in 2019. However, offensive productivity is a key unanswered question and is a definite opportunity for improvement in 2019. Returning players scored a total of only seven goals last year. Someone will have to emerge to provide punch to the attack. Sophomores Alonzo Del Mundo (3g, 1a) and Taylor Davila (2g, 3a) are among returning players and forward Arman Samimi and midfielder Fahmi Ibrahim are among the newcomers who could help fill the void.      

Coaches Recruiting Class Comment -  "These guys have it all,"Grimes stated. "From a character standpoint, they fit our culture. Academically, they are all outstanding are are driven to get their degree from Cal." 

Summary -  Cal was 7-9-2 overall with a 3-7-0 mark in Pac-12 play in 2018.  In 2017 the Golden Bears were 11-7-0 overall with a 6-4-0 record in conference play.  They returned to the NCAA Tournament in 2017 for the first time since the 2014 season. In 2013 California advanced to the Elite Eight and in 2014 to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament.  The Golden Bears have earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament a total of eighteen times with twelve of them under the guidance of Kevin Grimes.  California will still be a young team in 2019 with a lot of underclassmen in key roles. If all the young talent meshes, the potential exists for significant improvement in 2019.  If not, it could be another challenging season. Cautious optimism is appropriate.    


Arman Samimi - Forward - La Jolla, California - Bishop's School - Played on the U16 and U18 National Teams. Good finisher. 

Collin Travasos - Goalkeeper - Encinitas, California - Played with the U18 National Team.  Played with Atlanta United. 

Fernando Andrade - Midfielder - Chula Vista, California - St. Augustine HIgh School - Played for Albion SC. 

Togo Nakamura - Defender - Torrance, California - Particiapated in U14 and U15 National Teams camps. Member of the US ODP. HIghly regarded soccer savvy defensive midfielder.  

Paolo Carrillo-Weisenburger - Midfielder - Newport Beach, California - Participated in the ODP program. Will join Cal in the spring season. Defensive mid 

Fahmi Ibrahim - Midfielder - Alameda, California - Played for the San Jose Earthquakes Academy.  Scored fouteen goals last year for the U18/U19 San Jose Earthquakes.

Jack Singer - Midfielder - San Francisco, California -  Three-time All-Marin County Athletic League First-Team selection. 

Recruiting Class News and Analysis - Loyola Chicago Announces Five Newcomers For 2019

Loyola Chicago announced five early signing members of its 2019 recruiting class.  The Ramblers have added a ton of athletic ability with a class that includes experienced junior transfer midfielder Jusin Sukow and four true freshmen who will join a solid congient of returning players including senior Josh Lagudah, the 2018 MVC Goalkeeper of the Year and junior midfielder Giann Magnow who was a 2018 Second-Team All-MVC selectoin.    

Departures and Gaps - The Ramblers lose a seven member 2018 senior class. The graduation of defeneder Grant Stoneman who was the 2018 MVC Defensive Player of the Year and a three-time MVC First-Team selection leaves the biggest shoes to fill.  Some reloading will have to take place in the midfield due to the departure of Tucker Stevenson (0g, 2a), a 2018 MVC Second-Team selection, Fabian Lifka (2g, 3a), and Ryan Walker (1g, 1a).  Loyola Chicago will also be without the services of forward Alec Laskinski who had thirteen career goals..  

Opportunities for Improvement - Solid play on the defensive side of the ball has been a trademark for the Ramblers. Six of their ten wins in 2018 were by a 1-0 score. The Ramblers are tough to beat when they score first but they struggled in 2018 when their opponent scored first.  In all seven of their losses their opponent scored first.  In only one of their ten wins were they able to come from behind to claim a victory.  Additional firepower, balance, and the emergence of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball would be a big plus.   

Coaches Recruiting Class Comment - Neil Jones stated, "We could not be more excited to welcome this recruiting class to the Loyola Men's Soccer program. Each of these five young men embody the values of a Loyola Rambler Men's Soccer student-athlete."  Jones added, " On top of these positive traits, each one is a top level soccer player that fill specific positional needs in our team moving forward."

Summary -  Loyola Chicago was 10-7-2 overall with a 3-1-2 record in Missouri Valley Conference play in 2018.  The Ramblers have had double digit win seasons three out of the past four years. They were 3-1-2 in MVC play in 2018 finishing in the number two spot behind Central Arkansas. The Ramblers advanced to the championship match of the 2018 MVC Tournament where their season came to an end when they were defeated by recent nemisis Central Arkansas 2-1. The Ramblers will enter the 2019 season with several key gaps to plug but with a solid necleus of returning players spiced with a recruiting class that could contribute immediately.  

Newcomers - 

Sean Knoblauch - Midfielder - Coon Rapids, Minnesota - Played at Shattuck St. Mary's Academy where he started twenty-nine of thirty-five contests over the past two seasons. 

Liam Moore - Defender - New Plymouth, New Zealand - Played with the New Zealand National Team. A physical 6'1" center back who was the captain of the Wellington Phoenix Reserves for three seasons.

Alex Moskal - Forward - Schaumburg, Illinois - Played for the Sockers FC Chicago.  Netted four golas during the 2017-2018. 

Andrew Mitchell - Defender - The Woodlands, Texas Woodlands HIgh School. - Captain and center back of the Texans Houston Development Academy.  Started every game so far in the 2018-2019 season.

Justin Sukow - Midfielder - San Antonio, Texas - Junior transfer from the University of South Carolina where he started twenty-seven of thirty-four games over the last two seasons. Scored five goals in 2017.  Scored three goals in 2018.



Recruiting Class News and Analysis - Duke Announces Four Member 2019 Recruiting Class

Duke has announed the addition of a four member recruiting class that consists to date of a highly regarded graduate student transfer and three true freshmen with resumes that include very competitve US Soccer Development Academy play.  The newcomers will join a Blue Devil team that returns a ton of talent including ten starters from a very productive 2018 team. As a result, Duke does not require a large recruiting class.  Graduate student transfer Sergi Nus, a two-time All-ACC selection at Virginia will arrive in Durham with the experience and skill needed to make an immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball for the Blue Devils. The three freshmen will add depth in 2019 while gaining the experience needed to fill the voids that will exist due to graduation in 2020.  

Departures and Gaps -  Duke's 2018 roster included three seniors and two graduate students. Outside back Ciaran McKenna, a Third-Team All-ACC selection last year and a team captain, is the lone starter from the 2018 squad not slated to return in 2019. McKenna appeared in sixty-one games with thirty-seven career starts during his tenure in Durham. There will be no shortage of talent or experience nor huge gaps to plug heading into the 2019 season at Duke.   

Opportunities for Improvement - Duke found the back of the net a total of thirty-three times last year.  However the inability to finish scoring opportunities in the attacking third hampered the Blue Devils at times in 2018 and prevented them from getting into a rhythm at times on the offensive side of the ball. The Blue Devils should enter the season with a top ten ranking but the bottom line is that improvement will be required on both sides of the ball in order for Duke to improve their win total, move upward in the ACC, and make a sustained run in the NCAA Tournament. Duke was outscored fourteen to three in their seven losses last year.  There are unanswered questions. Can Duke build upon the success they have achieved the past two season, will the sophomores get the bump in play that normally comes after a year of experience, and who will provide senior leadership? 

Summary - Duke will enter the 2019 season with momentum and promise. John Kerr, a former All-American at Duke, is accomplishing what everyone thought he would when he became the Duke head coach. The Blue Devils were 13-4-3 in 2017 and 11-7-2 in 2018 against a very competitive slate of opponents. The Blue Devils are coming off two banner seasons during which they were awarded the number six seed in the NCAA Tournament which speaks well for the state of the program. However you have to go back to 2006 to find a season in which Duke advanced past the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament.  An additional year of experience, continued improvement, and a recruiting class that includes a healthy Sergi Nus could change that in 2019.  

Newcomers - 

Cameron Duke - Midfielder - Overland Park, Kansas - Played with Sporting Kansas City Academy.  Member of the U.S. U-18 National Team. Selected to the US Soccer Development Academy Best XI in 2017. Highly regarded recruit with plenty of top notch competitive experience which will facilitate his transition to collegiate soccer.   

Cameron Kerr - Midfielder - Chapel Hill - Chapel Hill HIgh School - Played with NC Fusion Academy where he started five of eight games for the U-18-19 team. Started twenty-five games for the U16-17 NC Fusion Academy.  A playmaker who scored five goals and contributed twenty assists as a sophomore at Chapel Hill HIgh School. 

Scotty Taylor - Forward - Millburn, New Jersey - Played for the New York Red Bulls Academy. Also played one season with North Carolina FC U14 team. Invited to the U16 U.S. National Team camp. Selected to the USSDA Eastern Region Bext XI team. A goal scorer. Started six of seven games for the Red Bulls U18-19 team and scored seven goals.  Scored twenty-three goals for the U16-17 Red Bulls team.

Sergi Nus - Defender - Barcelona, Spain - University of Virginia - Played at Virginia for three seasons. Graduate student transfer. Two-time All-ACC selection.  Third-team selection as a sophomore in 2016 and second-team selection as a junior in 2017. Two-time All-South Region selection. Missed 2018 season due to injury.  Scored nine goals at Virginia. Should make an immediate impact.