2018 Team Reviews

N.C. State Team and Recruiting Class Review

School:  North Carolina State 
Conference:  Atlantic Coast
Coach:  George Kiefer - Second Season 
2017 Record:  8-6-4 overall - 3-3-2 in conference play 
2017 Final Season Ending Rank:  N/A
Key Personnel Losses from the 2017 Team:  Defener Caleb Duvernay and midfielders Julius Duchscherer and Jan-Luca Ahillen due to graduation. 

Five Year Win Total:

2013:  8

2014:  7

2015:  8

2016:  5

2017:  8

2017 Goals Scored and Goals Allowed:  21 scored - 20 allowed
2017 Goals Scored and Goals Allowed Per Game:  1.17 scored per game - 1.11 allowed per game. 
2017 Key Statistic: 6-2-3 when playing at home.     

Background:  The Wolfpack were 8-6-4 last year with a 3-3-2 mark in ACC play in George Kiefer's first season as the head coach.  N.C. State had signature regular season wins in 2017 over Clemson, Syracuse, UNC-Wilmington and Louisville to earn an at-large berth and return to NCAA Tournament field in 2017 for the first time since the 2009 season.  

N.C. State has earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament field a total of fourteen times. The Wolfpack won the ACC Tournament in 1990.  

Midfielder Manny Perez was named the 2017 ACC Freshman of the Year and was named to the All-ACC Second Team. Midfielder David Loera joined Perez as a member of the 2017 ACC All-Freshman Team.  Perez and Loera were also named to the College Soccer News All-Freshman Team.

Number Starters Returning in 2018:  Eight   

Newcomers:

Coach Kiefer stated,  "I'm really looking forward to watching the returning players help the new players acclimate to our team culture.  Every player on the roster understands that we are working to restore the rich tradition of NC State men's soccer and many of them could have chosen a place that has more trophies in recent years, but they chose N.C. State in order to grind and restore the glory to this program."

Alex Bautista - Defender - Nashville, Tennessee - Played for FC Dallas Academy.

Iverson Brisma - Forward - East Windsor, New Jersey - Played for Philadelphia Union Academy. 

Aidan Foster - Midfielder - Cary, North Carolina - Played for North Carolina FC Adademy. 

Jose Garcia Valles - Defender - Valencia, Spain - Played for Sima Aguilas of the USL Premier Development League.  Played for Torre Levante CF. 

Matt Lockwood - Defender - Murray, Utah - Sophomore transfer from Cal State Domingues Hills where he stated twenty-one matches.   Played for AFC Apex '99 College Prep.  

Gabriel Machado - Midfielder -  San Paulo, Brazil -  Played the 2016 and 2017 seasons at Monroe College in New York.  2017 NJCAA Division I Region XV Men's Soccer Player of the Year.  Named to the 2017 NJCAA Division I Men's Soccer All-Region XV team.   

Caleb Martinez - Midfielder - Wesley Chapel, Florida - Played for the Orlando City SC Pro Academy.  Played with Chargers Soccer Club 2015-2017.  

Kuda Muskwe - Forward - Leicester, England - Played for Paule Warne of Rotherham United.  

Bailey O'Conner - Midfielder - Cary, North Carolina - Played for the North Carolina FC Academy.  Also played for the NCFC Academy.  

James Orozco - Defender - Durham, North Carolina - Played for North Carolina FC Academy.  Played for the U.S. U-15 Youth National Team. 

Orlin Rogue - Forward - Durham, North Carolina - Played for North Carolina FC.  Played for the Capital Area Railhawks. 

AJ Seals - Midfielder - Orlando, Florida - U.S. Soccer Development Academy Eastern Conference Best XI for the 2018 season.  Played for the Orlando City SC Pro Academy from 2013-2017.  Participated in the U17 USMNT Residency Traning Camp in 2017. 

Outlook for the 2018 Season:  The Wolfpack faithful have reason to feel good about the future of the men's soccer program.  Year one of the George Kiefer era in Raleigh was a success.  There is still a lot of work and some catching up to do but with the recent addition of another banner recruiting class the upward trajectory should continue at N.C. State. 

The return of five sophomore starters along with a group of upper classmen who now have a year under Kiefer should make the Wolfpack an interesting and potentially dangerous team in 2018.  Depth could be the only thing hampering the Wolfpack in 2018.   

Last year the most noteable improvment was on the defensive side of the ball where the Pack held opponents to a total of only twenty goals as compared to thirty-four in 2016. N.C. State did a good job of knocking the ball around, maintaining possession,  and finding the open man last year but there is room for improvement on the offensive side of the ball where the Wolfpack netted a league low twenty-one goals.  

Seniors Tanner Roberts (4g, 2a) whose season was cut short due to injury last year,  Ade Taiwo (2g, 4a), Clayton Sparks (3g, 0a), Stephen Elias (1g, 2a) and Tyler Gabarra (1g, 2a) are among returning forwards.  Sophomore Manny Perez (5g, 4a) who had a superb freshman season, earning the ACC Freshman of the Year honors, returns to add additional punch to the attack along with talented sophomore midfielder David Loera (1g, 5a).  Sophomore Brad Sweeney (0g, 2a) returns in the defensive midfielder role after a solid freshman season. 

The backline should be very good with the return of senior starters Simon Blotko (0g, 3a) and David Schneuwly and sophomore David Norris.  Blotko is the guy who will set the pace in the back. Sophomore Leon Krapf returns in goal to give the Wolfpack an experienced, athletic, and composed presence between the pipes.

Good things usually occur when a team that has been absent from the NCAA Tourney field for several years reenters the field in the first season under a new head coach.  It creates momentum, buy-in, and confidence soars.  The Wolfpack appear to have all of that.

Things are headed in the right direction but realistically N.C. State is  probably a year or two away from joining the league's upper echelon.  Kiefer has added two very good recruiting classes but then again so have the other teams in the ACC that finished above them last year. 

The degree to which the Pack takes their game to a higher level in 2018 will depend on the bump the sophomores get in the level of their play, the ability of the newcomers to add depth, and increased productivity on the offensive side of the ball.