2020 Team Reviews

2020 Team and Recruiting Class Reviews

Virginia Tech Adds Ten Newcomers. Opportunity Knocks Once Again For Hokies In 2020.

Virginia Tech will seek to sustain the level of play and momentum in 2020 that has resulted in four consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournamnet but they will have to do so while playing one of the most challenging schedules in the country and without the services of the most decorated senior class in the history of the program. The good news is that a solid contingent returns supplemented by a recruiting class that does a good job of addressing the gaps that exist. Cautious optimism is warranted for a team that looks to have the ingredients needed to present matchup problems for most opponents. 

Departures and Gaps - Losses due to graduation include forward James Kasak (3g, 5a) who was a two-year starter with six career goals and thirteen career assists, forward Brendan Moyers (1g, 2a) who was a four-year starter with seven career goals and six career assists, defender Will Mejia who was a three-year starter, defender Nikal Clarke-Smith (1g, 0a) who was a two-year starter after transferring in from Louisburg College, defender Marc Hoppler (3g, 1a), and defender Jon Ingason (6g, 2a) who was a three-year starter who added an additional dimension to the attack out of set pieces.  

Opportnities for Improvement -  The Hokies allowed a total of twenty-eight goals last year including fourteen in Atlantic Coast Conference contests. Injuries likely contributed to the lack of consistency on the defensive side of the ball. Nonetheless improvement is needed on the defensive side of the ball in order for Virginia Tech to prevail against their most competitive opponents. 

Coach's Recruiting Class Comment - Mike Brizendine stated, "This class blends in with our team chemistry perfectly. Anytime that you have awesome young men that have a deep desire to win you will have a chance to win some games. I look forward to getting these guys on campus and getting started." 

Summary - The Hokies come into the 2020 season off the most productive four-year span in the history of the program that began in 2016 with a program changing season during which Virginia Tech returned to the NCAA Tournament field for the first time since 2007 and advanced to the Elite Eight with a 13-5-4 overall record. The Hokies followed the 2016 campaign with three consecutive invites to the NCAA Tournament including the 2019 season in which they were awarded a program best number ten seed and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.

Virginia Tech now has a roster with the across-the-board depth needed to annually reload rather than to rebuild. The success that the program has achieved has breed success on the recruiting trail both within the state of Virginia and elesewhere and created a winning culture. Accordingly, Mike Brizendine will enter the 2020 campaign with a solid contingent of returning players to work with augmented by an impressive ten member recruiting class that includes four experienced transfers with the potential to contribute immediately and several highly regarded freshmen which bodes well for the future of the program.

Good things are happening in Blacksburg but the natural cycling of college sports means that every year is different so cautious optimism is warrented. Virginia Tech faces a daunting 2020 schedule in which the difference between a win and a loss and a single-digit and double-digit win season can be very slight. There are no gimmie wins in the Atlantic Coast Conference. History has established that the balance of power in the ACC, which had a record ten teams in the NCAA Tournament field last year, can shift quickly from season to season. While the schedule will be a challenge, it also provides the opportunity for the Hokies to make their presence known on the national scene.   

Virginia Tech should again have a potent and balanced offense in 2020. Chances are pretty good that the Hokies will be particularly dangerous out of set pieces. Senior midfielder Kristo Strickler (11g, 3a), an All-ACC Second Team selection, returns to power the attack along with sophomore midfielder Daniel Pereira (5g, 5a), a 2019 All-ACC Freshman Team selection, who was a key contributor to the success the Hokies enjoyed last year out of set pieces. Strickler, who was a walk-on as a freshman, is a three-year starter and Virginia Tech's leading goal scorer the past two seasons. Strickler's work ethic and team oriented attitude embodies the cohesive culture of the program. Pereira, who started every contest last year, now has the advantage that comes with having a season worth of experience under his belt.  

Senior Jacob Labovitz (5g, 2a) who transferred in last year from Fairleigh Dickinson and sophomore Nick Blacklock (0g, 5a) who started fifteen of nineteen matches last year are among returning forwards who will likely be counted upon to add fuel to the attack up-top. Junior Kahill Dover, sophomore Alex Adjetey and redshirt freshman Daniel Starr are among other returning forwards who look to be in the mix. Junior transfer Cameron Joice out of Monroe College is among the newcomers with the potential to add an additional dimension to the attack up-top.

Strickler and Pereira return to set the pace in the midfield. Senior Camron Lennon (2g, 0a) who saw action in fifteen contests last year, junior Chris Little (0g, 1a), senior Andrew Weber and redshirt freshman Kyle Stenzel are among other returning linkmen who will seek to play a greater role in 2020. Junior defensive midfielder Kyle McDowell who joined the program in the spring transfers in from Ottawa University and sophomore Diogenes Mayola Kinyua who transfers in from Appalachian State are among the members of the recruiting class who should be in the hunt for playing time in the midfield.

The departure of backs Will Mejia and Jon Ingason (6g, 2a) who were three-year starters will sting but a solid necleus returns along with several newcomers who have the potential to make an immediate impact. Senior Jakob Bluemler (1g, 1a) who appeared in seventeen contests with ten starts, junior Sivert Haugli (0g, 1a) who has been a starter for the past two seasons, redshirt sophomore Nathan Durst who appeared in thirteen contests with six starts and redshirt freshman Mason McClendon are among a solid contingent of returning defenders. Junior transfer Zane Bubb from North Florida who joined the program in the spring is among the newcomers with the athleticism and experience to compete for a starting job in the back.    

Senior Mathijs Swaneveld returns in goal to anchor the defense. Swaneveld, who led the ACC last year with sixty-eight saves, is a talented and composed shot stopper who kept the Hokies in several contests last year with key saves. Redshirt junior Hayden Kickbush, redshirt sophomore Connor Jordan-Hyde and redshirt freshman Matt Zambetti also return in goal for the Hokies.  

Virginia Tech had sufficient productivity on the offensive side of the ball last year to win several of the contests that they either lost or tied but were unable to contain their opponent. The offense, which found the back of the net thirty-nine times last year, should again be productive in 2020 and the additional depth of the 2020 team has the potential to enhance the consistency of their play. 

There is some work to be done but an increase in the number of wins could be in the cards for the Hokies in 2020 if they stay healthy, if the attack continues to hold up its end of the bargin, and if they tighten things up and improve the consistency of play on the defensive side of the ball. The schedule is daunting but not so daunting to preclude another successful season in Blacksburg if everything falls into place.    

Newcomers

Emmanuel Ameres - Midfielder - Palmetto, Florida - Palmetto High School - Played for Clearwater Chargers for five years. Also played for Atlanta United.   

Birkir Eythorsson - Midfielder - Icleand - Borgarholtsskoli - Played for Icelandic club Fylkir in Iceland's premier league. Prior to that he played for Fylkir youth team for fourteen years. 

Diogenes Kinyua - Midfielder - Nairobi, Kenya - Montverde Academy - Sophomore transfer from Appalachian State University where he appeared in nineteen games in 2019 with four starts. Recorded two assists at Appalachian State. Played for two seasons at SIMA Gold team at Montverde Academy.  

Zane Bubb - Defender - Saint Johns, Florida - Creekside High School - Junior transfer from the University of North Florida where he started sixteen contests in 2019 and led the Opsreys in minutes played. Scored two goals and added one assist at North Florida in 2019. Played in five games with one start in 2018. Four-year varsity player and three-time team MVP at Creekside HIgh School and was named the North Florida Player of the Year.  Played for Florida Elite Soccer Academy for four years.

Weinilton Da Silva - Defender - Para, Brazil - Montverde Academy - Played for two years for club Athletic Paranaense. Played for Montverde Academy. Trained with the Orlando City Development Academy.  

Cameron Joice - Forward - Newcastle, Australia - Saint Phillip Christian High School - Junior transfer and team captain from Monroe College where he was a two-year letterwinner and appeared in twenty-nine contests with twenty-six starts. Had six career goals and one assist.at Monroe College. Played for the New Castle Jets and was a member of Austria's U-17 National Team. 

Oryem Kilama - Forward - Wilmington, Delaware - Wilmington Friends School - Four-year varsity starter and the top scorer from four consecutive seasons at Wilmington Friends School. Played for Delaware FC.

Kyle McDowell - Midfielder - West Sussex, England - St. Phillip Howard Catholic - Junior transfer from Ottawa University where he was a 2018 Third Team NCCAA All-American and a 2019 First Team NCAA All-American. Started twenty-three games in 2019. Lead Ottawa University with eleven assists in 2019 and eight assists in 2018.

J.P. Pascarella - Defender - Manassas, Virginia - Leesville Road High School - Played for one season at North Carolina FC Youth Academy. Played for four years for Sporting Kansas City Academy.  Played with North Carolina's FC ECNL team.   

Ethan Stevenson - Forward - Clover, South Carolina - Clover High School - Three-time All-Region and two-time All-State selection at Clover High School where he had thirty one goals and nineteen assists during junior season. Named The Hearld's 2019 All-Area Player of the Year. Played club for Charlotte Independence. 


Michigan Adds Nine Member Recruiting Class. Wolverines Seek To Take Another Step Upward In 2020.

Michigan is coming off three consectuitve double-digit win seasons and three straight at-large berths in the NCAA Tournament that included a trip to the Sweet Sixteen last year. The Wolverines have a few key gaps to fill but look to be on solid ground in 2020 with a talented foundation of experienced upperclassman slated to return on both sides of the ball. 

Departures and Gaps - Departures due to graduation include forward Jack Hallahan (5g, 6a) who was a three-time All-Big Ten Team First Team selection and four-year starter with twenty-six career goals and twenty-one career assists, forward Nebojsa Popovic (10g, 4a) who was the 2019 All-Big Ten Offensive Player for the Year after transferring in from Oakland University for a single season; goalkeeper Andrew Verdi who was the 2019 All-Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year with a 0.78 goals against average and seven shutouts, and defender Abdou Samake (0g, 2a) who was a three-year starter after missing his freshman season due to injury. 

Opportunities for Improvement - The loss of forwards Jack Hallahan and Nebojsa Popovic creates a significant void in the offense that must be filled. A key to the program's success in 2020 continues to include a mindset of continual improvement and lots of hard work.    

Coach's Recruiting Class Comment - Chaka Daley stated, "We are delighted to add these nine newcomers to our program in 2020. These student-athletes are not only talented soccer players that will complement our returning group. but they are outstanding young men who will become amazing ambassadors for our program."

Summary - The Wolverines were 11-5-6 overall last year with a 4-1-3 mark in Big Ten regular season play that was good for a third place finish behind Indiana and Penn State. Michigan looked like a team that could be headed for a slide last year after back-to-back losses to Indiana on the road and Western Michigan at home and a tough match coming up against Notre Dame in South Bend. What occurred at that critical tipping point was noteworthy and reflected a lot of grit. The Wolverines rebounded and finished the season with a flurry that included an eight game unbeaten streak with wins over Notre Dame, Michigan State, Maryland and Penn State and a run to the Big Ten Tournament final for the second consecutive year.  Michigan was subsequently awarded the number thirteen seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen where their season ended with a 3-1 loss on the road to number four seed Wake Forest.   

Michigan will enter the 2020 season with enough talent and experience to make a fourth consecutive double digit win season and berth in the NCAA Tournament realistic expectations. In fact, anything less will be a disappointment for a senior laden team that should again have a multi-dimensional attack and a stout defense despite several key departures due to graduation.

Seniors Umar Farouk Osman (1g, 3a) and Mohammed Zakyi (3g, 0a) and junior Derick Broche (7g, 3a) who had a breakout season last year after missing the 2018 campaign due to injury and sophomore speedster Christian Pulselli (1g, 3a) who had an impressive freshman season are explosive playmakers who are among the likely candidates to power the power the attack up top and fill the void that exists due to the graduation of Nebojsa Popovic and Jack Hallahan. Junior Sosa Emovan is among other returning forwards who will seek to play a greater role in 2020. The members of the 2020 squad may not be able to replicate what Hallahan accomplished during his four year tenure and what Popovic accomplished during his one year at Michigan but they will bring a lot of firepower to the pitch. The potential exists for a very productive offense.   

Senior holding midfielder Marc Ybarra, a 2019 All-Big Ten Second Team selection  who led the conference in assists last year, returns to set the pace in the middle of the park. Ybarra is a three-year starter and team captain who takes good care of the ball, distributes well, and is a strong defender. Senior Carlos Tellez (1g, 2a), junior Kevin Buca (0g, 1a) and sophomore Harry Pithers (0g, 2a) are among other very capable returning linkmen who should play key roles. Junior Aidan Nam and sophomore Inaki Rodriguez (0g, 1a) are among other returning linkmen who will seek to pay a greater role in 2020. Junior Cameron Martin, a transfer from the University of San Francisco, and freshman Bryce Blevins are among several very promising newcomers who should challenge for playing time and add depth to the Wolverine midfield.

Last year Michigan had a program best 0.79 goals against average with seven of the eighteen goals they allowed coming in a 4-3 season opening loss to Florida Gulf Coast University and a 3-1 loss to Wake Forest in the NCAA Tournament. The backline should be stout in 2020 due to the return of a solid group of defenders led by veteran senior center back Jackson Ragan (2g, 4a), a 2019 All-Big Ten First Team member, who has three years of starting experience under his belt. Seniors Joel Harrison (1g, 0a) and Austin Swiech (0g, 1a) who have been starters for the past two years provide additional stability and experience to the backline. Sophomore Carter Payne who played in ten contests with eight starts last year, junior Declan Gaffney and new recruit Jens Hoff round out what should be a very organized and unified backline. Sophomore Owen Finnerty returns in goal after playing in eight contests last year with seven starts. Finnerty gained valuable experience and performed well under pressure last year when he became the starting netminder after Andrew Verdi was injured in the later part of October. 

The Wolverines have a winning identify and a lot of momentum under Chaka Daley. Michigan looks to be a deep,quick and experienced team in 2020. Regardless, the Big Ten schedule will once again leave little wiggle room and it is highly likely that the road to the conference title as in the past will again travel through Bloomington. Michigan has emerged as a top tier contender in the Big Ten but their ability to take the next step and secure the conference title and make a deeper run in the NCAA Tournament still remains a stretch goal but it's clearly less of a stretch in 2020 than it has been in the past.   

Newcomers

Bryce Blevins - Midfielder - Plainfield, Illinois - Plainfield North High School - Playedf for FC United. U.S. men's national team pool player from 2012-2017. Also played for Liverpool FC. An attacking player with great touch on the ball. 

Jamis Fite - Goalkeeper - West Hartford, Connecticut - Loomis Chaffee High School - Played for Black Rock FC. Two-time NEPSAC Class A All-Star. MVP of the 2019 Allstate All-American Game. 

Jens Hoff - Defender - Drammen, Norway - Norwegian School of Elite Sports - Played with Asker FK and Stromsgodset TF U-19 in Norway. An athletic and physical center back.  

Daniel Massey - Midfielder - Sparta, New Jersey - Shattuck-St Mary's - Box-to-box midfielder who honed his soccer skills at Shattuck-St. Marys. Has international experience as part of a Select Team in Spain and Germany.

Quin Rogers - Midfielder - San Jose, California - Bellarmine College Prep - Played for De Anza Force SC. A holding midfiedler who was named to the USSDA Bext XI in the West Region. Team captain. Soccer savvy player with excellent quickness.  

Bode Saul - Midfielder - Los Gatos, California - Los Gatos High School - Played for De Anza Force SC. Trained with Cordoba CF in Spain. Quick with the touch on the ball needed to create space. 

Simon Vasquez - Midfielder - Weston, Florida - Somerset Academy - Played for Weston FC. Holding midfielder with high level of competitive and technical experience. Team captain at Weston FC.

Ethan Wood - Goalkeeper - Syosset, New York - Syosset High School - Played with the NYCFC Academy. Selected for the Deutscher Futbal-Bund MLS Goalkeeper select camp in Munrich, Germany. Composed netminder with solid technical ability.

Cameron Martin - Midfielder - Mill Creek, Washington - Henry M. Jackson - Junior transfer from the University of San Francisco where he started nineteen contests scoring two goals and contributing one assist. Named to the 2018 West Coast Conference All-Freshman Team. Played with the Seattle Sounders Academy.  Well rounded midfielder.


 

 

Wisconsin Adds Ten Newcomers. Badgers Set To Rebound In 2020.

Wisconsin entered the 2019 season with high expectations but things didn't go as expected in large part due to an onslaught of injuries that began in preseason. As a result the Badgers dropped from double-digit win seasons in 2016, 2017, and 2018 to a total of three wins in 2019. Uncertaintly exists heading into 2020 but if the Badgers avoid the injury bug they look to be well-positioned to bounce back.   

Departures and Gaps - Losses due to graduation include defenders Elan Koenig (0g, 2a) and Robin Olofsson (1g, 0a) who were three-year starters, midfielder Noah Leibold (2g, 0a) who was a four-year starter, midfielder Duncan Storey (1g, 1a) who was a two-year starter, and goalkeeer Dean Cowdroy who was a two-year starter. 

Opportunities for Improvement - Last year Wisconsin scored a total of eleven goals and allowed twenty-six. The eleven goals may be the fewest that Wisconsin has ever scored in a single season. Upward movement in 2020 is contingent upon improvement across the board but particularly on the offensive side of the ball.  

Coach's Recruiting Class Comment - John Trask stated, "The staff has done an outstanding job of identifying players who will be a big part of Wisconsin Soccer overt the next four years. Big compliments to assistant coaches Keith Tiemeyer, Aaron Hohlbein and Tim Boruff on this year's class." Trask added, "This ten-member class addresses many positional needs and adds depth and quality to our existing team. Each of these young men come from high-level soccer programs, have had memborable successes on the field, and each has a high level of academic background." 

Summary - Adversity in one season sometimes creates conditions that generate success the following season. Whether or not that will be the case at Wisconsin remains to be seen but the potential for improvement and upward movement in the highly competitive Big Ten race appears likely due to three factors.

The first involves the healthly return of the likes of senior midfielder Mitch Guitar, a 2018 All-Big Ten Second Team selection, who missed the entire 2019 campaign due to injury, junior forward Noah Melick, the Badgers top goal scorer in 2018, who missed all but four games due to injury, and junior forward Andrew Akindele, a 2018 All-Big Ten Freshman selection, who missed multiple contests last year due to an ankle injury.

The second pertains to the experience and additional playing time that returning players received in 2019 out of necessity due to the injury situation.

The third relates to the additon of a ten member recruiting class that includes several players with the potential to make a contribution on both sides of the ball.

The productivity of Wisconsin's attack will likely hinge to a large degree on the play of Akindele (0g, 1a) and Melick up-top. Both are playmakers who, if healthy, have the athletic ability, strength, and quickness to be difference makers. Senior Alex Alfaro, who missed the entire 2019 season due to injury, and redshirt freshman Michael Wampler are among other returning players who could add additional punch to the offense up-top. Freshman forward Jack Finnegan, the Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year out of Brother Rice High School, is among the newcomers who could add another dimension to the Badger attack.

The graduation of Noah Leibold (2g, 0a), a four-year starter and team captain, and Duncan Storey (1g, 1a), a two-year starter after transferring in from the Air Force Academy, creates a void that must be addressed in the midfield. The return of Guitar, team catalyst and rock solid starter in 2017 and 2018, and sophomore Inaki Iribarren (2g, 1a) who now has a year of starting experience under his belt provide a strong necleus in the center of the park upon which to reload the midfield. Highly regarded sophomore Tim Bielic, who only appeared in three contests last year due to injury, and redshirt senior Michael Russell II (0g, 1a) who started fifteen contests last year are among other returning linkmen who figure to be in the mix in 2020. Junior Jan "Henri" Tophoven who transfers in from Mercyhurst University and freshman Eliot Popkewitz, the Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year out of Verona High Schooi, are among several members of the recruiting class who will likely be in the hunt for playing time in the midfield and could add to the attack.   

The graduation of defenders Elan Koenig (0g, 2a) and Robin Olofsson (1g, 0a) who were three year starters leaves an experience and talent gap to fill in the back. Redshirt junior center back and team captain Zach Klancnik (1g, 2a), a starter for the past two seasons, returns to anchor the backline along with senior Patrick Yim, a starter for the past two seasons. Kim, a manistay on the field, played through injuries last year but looks to be fully recovered heading into the 2020 campaign. Senior Ben Leas (0g, 1a), a starter for the past two years, returns to give Wisconsin another experienced and solid defender. Sophomore Justin Bobb who played in ten contests with five starts last year and sophomore Loren Altman who sat out the 2019 campaign due to an injury that occurred prior to the start of the season are among other returning players who will seek to play a greater role in the back in 2020. Junior back Moritz Kappelsberger who transfers in from Duquesne where he was a starter for the past two seasons is a solid addition who should hit the ground running and challenge for a starting job.

A new face will be between the pipes for the Badgers in 2020 due to the graduation of Dean Cowdroy who was the starter in goal in 2018 and 2019. The good news is that Wisconsin has a very solid contingent of netminders who will battle for the starting job. Graduate student Sven Kleinhans who had a very productive tenure in goal before transferring in last year from Bluefield College, junior Beto Spielvogel, sophomore Ben Krongard, and redshirt freshman Carter Abbott are the candidates for the important role in goal.  

No program is completely invulnerable to a down year. It is a plus for the program that Wisconsin continued to play everyone tough last year despite the adversity they faced. The Badgers finished regular season play with a 1-1 tie at Michigan, a 0-0 tie at home with Northwestern, and a 1-0 win over Ohio State. The goals were few and far between for Wisconsin last year. As a result the Badgers appeared to lapse at times into a mindset of playing not to lose rather than to win. Without a more productive attack in 2020, Wisconsin will again have little margin for error in the highly competitive Big Ten Conference where weaknesses are exploited.

The bottom line is that enhanced equilibrium between the offense and the defense and a bounce upward is likely in 2020. The effort, resolve, and toughness needed to win will likely exist at Wisconsin in 2020 but how that translates in terms of wins depends on the degree of improvement on both sides of the ball. 

Newcomers

Liam Bailey - Midfielder - Mission Kansas - Rockhurst High School - All-State selection. Played for Puma FC - Southampton Pro Academy. Played in St. Louis All-High School All-Star game in 2018 and 2019. 

Murat Calkap - Midfielder - Demarest, New Jersey - Met Oval Academy - Scored five goals and contributed seventeen assists his senior season for Met Oval Academy. Played for NYCFC. PLayed for Met Oval Soccer Club in the USDA.  

Ethan Chung - Defender - San Juan Capistrano, California - Played for the Pateadores Soccer Club. Played for Cal South ODP Team. 

Jack Finnegan - Forward - Hometown, Illinois - Brother Rice High School - All-State selection. United Soccer Coaches All-American selection. Southtown Player of the Year. 2019-2020 Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year. 

Dawson Gulley - Midfielder - Lee's Summit, Missouri - Lee's Summit West High School - Played for Sporting Kansas City Academy. 

Moritz Kappelsberger - Defender - Rosenheim,Germany - Sebastian Finsterwalder Gymnasium. Junior transfer from Duquesne University where he was a starter in 2019 and 2019. Had three career goals and one assist at Duquesne. Played for Spvgg Unterhaching.  

Dylan McCrary - Defender - Melville, New York - St. Anthony's High School - All-State. All-League at St. Anthony's. Played for Commack Great Danes and Albertson Fury. 

Bennett Pauls - Midfielder - Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin - Hamilton High School - High School All-American. All-State selection. Greater Metro All-Conference First Team. Team captain at Hamilton High. Played for SC Wave. 

Eliot Popkewitz - Midfielder - Verona, Wisconsin - Verona Area High School - Three-time team captain at Verona Area High School. All-Conference selection. All-Area. All-State. United Soccer Coaches Great Lakes All-Region. Had forty career goals at Veroa Area High School. Named Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year. Played for the Madison 56ers. 

Jan "Henri" Tophoven - Midfielder - Bruegeen, Germany - Junior transfer from Mercyhurst University. PSAC Freshman of the Year. All-PSAC Second Team. All-Region Second Team. Played club at 1.FC Monchengladbach.    


 

Marquette Adds Twelve Member 2020 Recruiting Class. Golden Eagles Have Gaps To Fill.

Marquette looks to replace a six-man contingent of seniors with seven freshmen and five transfers as they look to qualify for the Big East Tournament for a third consecutive season. 

Departures and Gaps - Departures due to graduation include MLS SuperDraft picks defender Parick Seagrist (2g, 7a) and midfiedler Luka Prpa (1g, 4a), leading scorer forward Josh Coan (6g, 4a), All-Big East Third Team forward Connor Alba (3g, 3a), defender Leo Villa and forward Griffin Jende (2g, 0a). The Golden Eagles will also be without junior defender Josh Hancock (1g, 0a) who played in seven contests who transferred.  

Opportunities for Improvement - For a side that enjoys playing an offensive style of soccer, the Golden Eagles coud do with some refinement in their end-product in the final third. Their incoming class is full of prospective forwards that can help improve unpon the twenty-five goals they scored last year and defenders capable of coping with the demands of Louis Bennett's high-octane system. 

Coach's Recruiting Class Comment - Louis Bennet said, "We're losing several guys from a very successful senior class. Our staff worked hard to find a bevy of talented players who we can develop to step in and fill some holes in our roster. We're excited about the talent and versatility of this group."

Summary - It is a little difficult to get a handle on Marquette heading into the 2020 season. Louis Bennett will have a necleus of players from the 2019 team to work with but he also has some rebuilding to do due to the departure of a senior class that included All-Big East First Team defender Patrick Seagrist, All-Big East Second Team selection midfielder Luka Prpa, and All-Big East Third Team forwards Josh Coan and Connor Alba. On the other hand they have added a promising twelve member recruiting class that has the potential to make an immediate impact on both sides of the ball for a team that scored twenty-five goals last year and allowed thirty-one. That means there will likely be a lot of competition for playing time as well as some growing pains as the newcomers merge with returning players to fill the gaps that exist.   

The Golden Eagles were 8-9-1 overall last year with a 4-5-0 mark in Big East Conference play that was good for the number six spot in the Big East Conference Tournament. The eight wins was a tiny step forward since it represented Marquette's highest win total since the Golden Eagles recorded eight wins in 2014. But it was a roller coaster season of sorts during which Marquette fell into a pattern of two wins followed by two losses with numerous changes throughout the year in the composition of the starting lineup. A total of twenty-one players earned a start with senior forward Conner Alba and senior defender Patrick Seagrist the only players who started every contest. 

Junior Lukas Sunesson (3g, 1a), redshirt sophomore Christian Marquez (3g, 1a) redshirt junior Sam Thornton who missed all but the first three games of the 2019 season due to injury, and redshirt sophomore A.J. Franklin (0g, 1a) are among returning forwards who are likely candidates to power the attack in 2020. Junior transfer Cristian Gennaro from Ottawa University and freshman Beto Soto are among several members of the reruiting class who could add an additional dimension to the attack up-top. 

Redshirt sophomore Alex Mirsberger (1g, 2a), junior Alan Salmeron and redshirt juniors Christian Albelo and Zak Wegner are among returning midfielders who figure to play key roles in 2020.  Junior transfers Matheus Pereira from Marshalltown Community College and Zyan Andrade from the University of San Francisco and freshman Thomas Priest are among a solid contingent of newcomers who could challenge for minutes in the midfield.   

Redshirt junior Manuel Cukaj (3g, 1a) returns to anchor the backline. Redshirt senior Oliver Posarelli who was a starter in 2018, redshirt sophomore Gabe Kash who played in fourteen games with five starts, and sophomore Clay Smith who saw action in ten games with one start are among other returning players who will seek to play a greater role in the back in 2020. Sophomore back Harvey Read who transfers in from Rhode Island looks to be among the members of the recruiting class who will challenge for a starting job. Junior Cedrik Stern who started the final nine games of the 2019 season and reshirt sophomore Jackson Weyman who started the first nine games return in goal. Redshirt sophomore transfer Chandler Hallwood from Gannon University adds a third contender for minutes between between the pipes.

Marquette played well at times last year but their inability to consistently put together a full ninety minutes of play hampered their win loss record and resulted in a very small margin for error. The potential exists for improvement in 2020 but in order for Marquette to come out on the winning side of the equation more often in 2020 they need to be more consistent, avoid lapses in play, and playmakers must emerge on both sides of the ball.   .   

Newcomers -  

Kacper Chrapczynski - Forward - Streamwood, Illinios - Lyons Township High School - Played for Sockers FC of Chicago where he was the fifth-highest goal scorer in the country, with twenty goals in twenty-three games. Scored seven goals in eleven matches in 2019-20. 

Joey Fitzgerald - Defender - Western Springs, Illinois - Lyons Township High School - Played for Sockers FC and started thirty-three of a possible thirty-six matches over the last two seasons, scoring two goals. Three-year letterman at Lyons Township High School.

Jai Hsieh-Bailey - Defender - Oak Park, Illinois - Oak Park-River Forest - Four-year letterman at Oak Park-River Forest High School and severd as team captain during his senior year. Won All-State and All-Academic squad honors and was named All-Conference Player twice. Helped lead the Huskies to a pair of conference and regional titles.

Alan Kim - Forward - Cedar Rapids, Iowa - Kennedy High School - Four-year letterman at Kennedy High School and served as co-captain during his junior and senior years. All-State honoree as a junior in 2019. Named All-Conference and All-Metro as a sophomore and junior. and claimed All-Academic All-State accolades. 

Noah Madrigal - Forward - Peoria, Illinois - Peoria Notre Dame High School - Four-year letterman at Peoria Notre Dame High School. Set a school record 116 career goals. Claimed IHSSCA All-State honors and First-Team All-Big 12 Conference accolades in his final two season as well as being named the Peoria Journal Star Player of the Year three times. Set personal-high with forty-one goals and fourteen assists as a junior. Played for FC United. 

Thomas Priest - Midfielder - Neenah, Wisconsin - Neenah High School - Four-year letterman at Neenah High School and served as team captain his senior year. Led team to two conference titles and a runner-up finish at the state tournament in 2019. Named Fox Valley Conference Player of the Year in 2019 and co-MVP in 2018. Earned All-State, All-Region, and All-Conference accolades as a senior. Played for FC Wisconsin. 

Beto Soto - Forward - Houston, Texas - Played for the Houston Dynamo U-19 team and practiced with Houston Dynamo's MLS team in the summer of 2019. In 2018, his team was named the USSDA Central Conference Team of the Year. Participated in the U.S. U-16 National Team Camp in the summer of 2017. 

Zyan Andrade - Midfielder - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Centro Educacional Podium -  Junior transfer from the University of San Francisco - Played his freshman and sophomore years at the University of San Francisco. Started nine of the fifteen games he played as a sophomore and started all eight of his appearances as a freshman in 2018.  

Cristian Gennaro - Forward - Vigevano, Italy - Junior transfer from Ottawa University (Arizona) - Set single-season program records in points (46) and goals (20) and ranked second in single-season shot percentage (.339) as a sophomore. Led the Golden State Athletic Conference in points, goals, shots on goal (37) and game-winning goals (5). Named a NCCAA First-Team All-American in 2019.   

Chandler Hallwood - Goalkeeper - Halifax, England - Sophomore transfer from Gannon University (Pennsylvania) where he logged 1,863 minutes in goal and finished with an 18-3-0 record. Recorded the most single season wins in program history. Named the 2019 PSAC West Devensive Athlete of the Year. Named to the United Soccer Coaches All-America Second Team.

Matheus Pereira - Midfielder - Brasilia, Brazil - Junior transfer from Marshalltown Community College. Played two seasons at Marshalltown where he helped the team finish fifth at the NJCAA National Championship in 2018 with an 18-2-1 record. Named to the 2018 NSCAA All-Region Second Team. In 2019, Marshalltown was the NJCAA North Central District runners-up. Pereira was named to the NSCAA All-Region Second Team and was named the Region XI Tournament MVP. Pereira scored ten goals and contributed fourteen assists during his career at Marshalltown.  

Harvey Read - Defender - Southampton, England - Hounsdown School - Sophomore transfer from Rhode Island where he played in sixteen games as a freshman in 2019. Played for Southampton FC, Stoke City FC and Eastleigh FC. 


Wake Forest Adds Banner Nine Member 2020 Recruiting Class. Deacons Will Once Again Be Hard To Beat

Wake Forest returns a solid contingent of experienced players from the 2019 team that was 16-5-2 overall and advanced to the College Cup with significant contributions from the entire roster due to a series of key injuries that necessitated lineup changes.   

Departures and Gaps - Departures due to graduation include midfielder All-American, All-ACC First Team selection, and team captain Bruno Lapa (10g, 3a), defensive midfielder and three-year starter Joey Dezart (1g, 1a), forward Tater Rennhack (0g, 3a) defender, team captain and 2019 All-ACC Third Team selection Alistair Johnston (3g, 5a) and defender and two-year starter Eddie Folds (0g, 1a).   

Opportunities for Improvement - Defense is where it starts at Wake Forest. Continued tenacity and organization on the defensive side of the ball. Solid team defense is critical to Wake Forest's possessin oriented offense and their ability to take advantage of opportunities to stretch the field of play and get in behind opposing defenders.   

Coach's Recruiting Class Comment - Bobby Muuss stated, "We're really excited about this year's signing class and can't wait to get them on campus. It's a versatile group with high-level experience, which will help us all over the field. I especially want to thank my Associate Head Coaches, Steve Armas and Dane Brenner, for their hard work on the road to help put this impressive class together"  

Summary - The old saying that the more things change the more things stay the same is applicable to the talent level and the style and brand of play at Wake Forest with the caveat that Bobby Muuss and his staff annually do an excellent job of making the adjustments needed to maximize the performance of the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest has won a total of eighty-nine games and advanced to the College Cup twice during the five seasons that Muuss has been at the helm of the program. That level of sustainable success and consistency doesn't occur without the existence of a solid foundation and culture.    

Wake Forest will again be a multidimensional and experienced team in 2020 with a nice blend between upper and underclassmen. A solid group of returning players and a fresh crop of talented newcomers will give Muuss a lot of lineup options and combinations. Individuals like All-American midfielder Bruno Lapa who led the Deacons in scoring last year are not easy to replace but this is a program that has a history of players making big strides between their sophomore and junior seasons. In addition several of the current sophomores flourished last year as freshmen. The playing time the sophomores gained time last year should result in a bump in the level of their play in 2020. The newcomers will add depth and help stock the program for continued success while having the time to make a smooth transition.

Junior Kyle Holcomb (9g, 0a) is a prime timer and go-to guy who returns up-top to add punch to the offense. Senior playmaker Machop Chol (4g, 8a), a 2019 All-ACC Third Team selection, and sophomore Calvin Harris (6g, 3a), a 2010 ACC All-Freshman selection, are among others who will add balance and quickness to the attack up-top or in the midfield.  Sophomore David Wrona who appeared in sixteen contests last year will also be in the mix up-top.

Junior Isaiah Parente (1g, 7a), a 2019 All-ACC Third Team selection, returns to set the pace in the midfield. Senior Justin McMaster (4g, 1a), junior  Aristotle Zarris (3g, 4a) and sophomore Omar Hernandez (1g, 4a) are among other very talented returning linkmen. Senior Kyle McCurley who stepped into the lineup when Joey DeZart was injured last year, redshirt sophomore Jake Swallen (1g, 0a), and sophomore Takuma Suzuki round out a very deep and talented Deacon midfield.   

Redshirt senior Michael DeShields (1g, 1a), a three-year starter, returns at center back to anchor the backline. Senior Justyn Thomas (0g, 1a), junior Holland Rula, sophomore Nico Benalcazar (2g, 0a) and junior Koby Carr who missed the 2019 season due to injury are among other returning defenders who figure to play prominent roles in 2020.  

Redshirt junior Andrew Pannenberg who had a 0.72 goals against average with nine shutouts last year returns in goal along with redshirt junior Dominic Peters and sophomore Cole McNally to give the Deacons a deep contingent of returning netminders.

One of the biggest questions facing Wake Forest, as well as all college soccer programs in 2020, will be the impact that the downtime due to the coronavirus will have on their ability to gel as a team and develop a rhythm on both sides of the ball. This is particularly important to a team like Wake Forest with a possession oriented style of play.  

Wake Forest has consistently been among the best teams in the country. There is no reason to expect anything different in 2020 from a program that has national aspirations and is aware that falling into a comfort zone can be hazaradous in the highly competitive ACC. The Demon Deacons will again have the talent base to challenge for the ACC Title and another deep run in the NCAA Tournament. 

Newcomers

Prince Amponsah - Defender - Bronx, New York - Manhattan Hunter Science High School - Played for the New York City FC Academy for four seasons appearing in eighty-six contests with seventy-nine starts. Participated in U.S. U-14 National Team camps.

Christian Escribano - Defender - Frisco, Texas - Legacy Christian Academy - Played for FC Dallas Academy. Played in USL with North Texas FC.  

Jahlane Forbes - Defender - Clermont, Florida - Florida Virtual School - Played with the U.S. U-17 National Team. Played with the Orlando City SC Academy. Played with SIMA Aguilas and Orlando City B in USL. 

Hosei Kijima - Defender - Yokohama, Japan - IMG Academy - Enrolled in January 2020. Played club with the IMG Academy U-18 Elite Bosys team.

Chase Oliver - Midfielder - Kennesaw, Georgia - Woodward Academy - Played for the Atlanta United FC Academy. Named to National Best XI. Scored twenty-eight goals in four seasons with Atlanta United FC Academy and Concorde Fire. 

Thomas Raimbault - Forward - Wellington, New Zealand - University Hill Secondary - Participated in New Zealand Youth National Team camps with U-17 and U-20 teams. A goal scorer who played with Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy where he scored fifty-three goals in three seasons.

Oscar Sears - Midfielder - Stockholm, Sweden - Danderyds Gymnasium - Played for IFK Stocksund in Danderyd, Sweden. Had a total of eleven goals and thirteen assists in twenty-six contests in 2019.

Colin Thomas - Midfielder - Canton, Georgia - Creekview High School - Played for United Futbol Academy where he scored twenty-nine goals in 108 matches.

Garrison Tubbs - Defender - Brunswick, Georgia - Capstone Academy - Played for Atlanta United FC Academy for two seasons with thirty-four appearances and thirty-one starts. Played for Armada FC Pro Academy for three seasons during which he scored seventeen goals. Played with Atlanta United 2 in USL in 2019.  


Purdue Fort Wayne Adds Eighteen Member Recruiting Class. Stephen Gorton Takes Over Reigns Of Program

It's a new beginning for the Mastodons. A new coach, a new conference, and the addition of an eighteen member recruiting class. Purdue Fort Wayne checks all of the transition year boxes in 2020. . 

Departures and Gaps - Departures include midfielder Kyle Hoagland who was a two-year stater, midfielder Nick Cozad, forwards Blake Cearns and Alex Frank who were two-year starters, defender Jan Schumacher and goalkeeper Tor Erik Larsen who was a two-year starter. .  

Opportunities for Improvement - The Mastodons scored a total of ten goals and allowed a total of fifty-one last year. There is ample room for improvement on both sides of the ball in 2020. 

Coach's Recruiting Class Coment - Stephen Gorton stated, "It was important for our program that we brought in student-athletes that will represent us culturally, academically, athletically and socially. This class has hometown, in-state, out of state and international talent. With a talented group of returners, it's important that we added strength and depth in all areas of the field.. All of these players will have the opportunity to compete for minutes right away allowing for a high level of internal competition on our roster." 

Summary - Stephen Gorton takes over the reigns of the program from Mike Harper who stepped down as the Purdue Fort Wayne head coach after thirteen seasons with a career record of 65-150-22.  Gorton's resume includes serving as an assistant coach at SIUE and Oakland and as the head coach of Garden City Commuity College.

The Mastodons will begin the 2020 campaign with a roster that includes eighteen newcomers and a handful of returning players. That's bad news for most teams, but it's probably good news when a team is coming off a twelve game losing streak and 3-15-0 overall record. Senior forwards Emil Fosse (0g, 3a) and Mathias Mikalsen, senior midfielder Nemanja Gvozdic (1g, 0a) and junior defenders Adam Chedi and Moses Akimana are among key returning players. Sophomore Mario Perez who played in two contests last year is the lone returning goalkeeper.  

Freshman forward Angel Arismendiz out of the Indiana Fire Development Academy is among the newcomers who could add much needed additional punch to the attack up-top. Transfers Andy Lomeli from Valparaiso, Ali Nasser from Marshall and Alejandro Lopez from Prairie State College are among the members of the recruiting class who have the potential to make an immediate impact in the midfield. Transfer Vukasin Bulatovic from Valparaiso and freshman Nate Edwards look to be among the newcomers who will be in the hunt for minutes in the back right out of the gate. 

This is truly a transitional year for the Mastodons who move from the Summit League to the Horizon League. Accordingly, it's hard to know what to expect from Purdue Fort Wayne in 2020. Rebuilds don't occur overnight. The Mastodons could surprise but realistically, they are probably a year or two away from having a legitimate chance of cracking the Horizon League's upper echelon. In meantime, Purdue Fort Wayne will likely continue to improve as building blocks are put into place but wins could still be difficult to come by in 2020. The Mastodons face a learning curve with a roster that includes many young and inexperienced players but chances are pretty good that Purdue Fort Wayne will be a stronger team in 2020, if for no other reason than the energy that Gorton will bring to the program. 

Newcomers

Ali Nasser - Midfielder - Dearborn, Michigan - Edsel Ford High School - A redshirt transfer from Marshall. Played with Vardar Academy for three years recording twenty goals over seventy-six matches. 

Brody Seaton - Midfielder - Peoria, Illinois - Peoria Notre Dame High School - First Team All-Conference at Peoria Notre Dame. Had seven goals and twenty assists in high school. Played club for Peoria FC and Central Illiniois United. 

Ryan Gray - Defender - Troy, Michigan - Troy Athens High School - Freshman transfer from Marshall University. Played for Vardar Academy for four years during which he played in seventy contests with sixty-four starts. 

Angel Arismendiz - Forward - Chicago, Illinois - George Washington High School - Had sixty-two career goals and thirty-five assists at George Washington High School. All-City and Chicagoland Soccer All-State. Played for Indiana Elite and Indiana Fire Academy. 

Marco Navarro - Defender - Fort Wayne, Indiana - Homestead High School - Sophomore transfer from Oakland University. Had twenty career goals and twelve assist at Homestead High School. All-State Honorable mention. First Team All-District. All-Great Region. Played with FC Pride. Played in two contests as a freshman at Oakland University. 

Adam Hunt - Goalkeeper - New Palestine, Indiana - New Palestine High School - All-Conference and All-County selection. Second Team All-District selection. Played for FC Pride and Indiana Fire Academy. 

Zain Akeel - Midfielder - Rochester Hills, Michigan - Detroit County Day School - Played for Vardar Academy with eleven career goals in thirty-seven contests.

Damon Almazan - Midfielder - Joilet, Illinois - Joliet West High School - All-Conference selection. Named Attacking MVP at Joliet West High School. Played for Chicago Magic Soccer Club.

Erik Josson - Goalkeeper - Bloomfield Hills, Michigan - Bloomfield Hills High School - All-State, All-Region, All-District and All-Academic selection at Bloomfield Hills. Played club for the Michigan Wolves, Nationals Union and Vardar Academy as a senior.

Romario Simpson - Defender - Vaughan, Ontario - Maple High School - Played for Vaughan Soccer Club for seven years.

Nathaniel Edwards - Defender - Brampton, Ontario - St. Edmund Campion - Played for Vaughan Soccer Club. MVP for St. Edmund Campion.

Luke Benford - Forward - Canton, Michigan - Salem High School - Scored thirteen goals and contributed eight assists as a senior at Salem High School. First Team All-State, All-Region, and Michigan All-State Dream Team. Played club for the Michigan Jaguars.

Seth Russ - Defender - Mason, Michigan - Mason High School - All-State selection in 2018. Played for Vardar Academy making sixteen appearances and scoring three goals. 

Alejandro Lopez - Midfielder - Hammond, Indiana - George Rogers Clark High School - Junior transfer from Prairie State College where he played for two seasons during which he scored twenty-four goals and contributed eight assists. All-Region selection.

Andy Lomeli - Midfielder - Dyer, Indiana - Lake Central High School - Sophomore transfer from Valparaiso were he was named to the Missouri Valley All-Freshman Team in 2019. Scored two goals at Valparaiso in 2019.

Vukasin Bulatovic - Defender - Elmwood Park, Illinois - Elmwood High School - Sophomore transfer from Valparaiso where he played in seventeen games in 2019 and recorded two assists.

Danny Salazar - Goalkeeper - East Chicago, Indiana - Bishop Noll High School - Sophomore transfer from Valparaiso where he appeared in one contest in 2019. Played for Indiana Elite FC. Four-year letterwinner at Bishop Noll High School.  

Josue Fernandez - Midfielder - South Holland, Illinois - Thornwood High School - Sophomore transfer from Valparaiso where he played in two contests in 2019. Played for Chicago Fire Academy. Played for the Portland Timbers Academy. Two-time IHHSCA All-Conference and All-Sectional selection at Thornwood High School.  


 

 

SMU Adds Banner 2020 Recruiting Class. Seven Starters Return From 2019 Elite Eight Team

SMU has several key experienced pieces to replace, but things won't get any easier for opponents in 2020 who will likely have to find the back of the net multiple times in order to keep up with what should once again be a very productive Mustang offense. 

Departures and Gaps: Departures due to graduation include forward Garrett McLaughlin (16g, 5a) who was a four-year starter with thirty-six career goals, defender Eddie Munjoma (12g, 8a) who was a four-year starter and the 2019 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, defender Philip Ponder (0g, 1a) who was a three-year starter, midfielder DJ Williams (1g, 1a) and goalkeeper Patrick Michael Hillyard. The Mustangs will also be without defender Henrik Bredeli (3g, 3a), a 2019 AAC All-Rookie Team selection, who elected to sign a professional contract in Norway at the conclusion of his sophomore season. McLaughlin and Munjoma were 2019 All-America Team selections. The 2019 seniors finished their career with fifty-one wins, three conference championships and three NCAA Tournament berths. 

Opportunities for Improvement: Others will have to step forward to replace the leadership, experience, and toughness not to mention the talent that the departed players provided. The departure of SMU's top two goal scorers has created a void in the attack that others will need to fill. SMU was tough on the defensive side of the ball last year but were vulnerable due to match-up problems in contests that resulted in a 3-3 tie with UCF, a 4-3 loss to Memphis and a 3-2 loss to Virginia.     

Summary: Kevin Hudson will welcome back an impressive necleus including seven starters from the 2019 team that was 18-2-1 overall, won the American Athletic Conference Championship for the third consecutive year, and advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Touranment. There are not a lot of gaps to fill due to departures but those that do exist are significant. The four starters who have departed the building leave big shoes to fill from a talent, experience and leadership perspective that will not be easily replaced. Hats off to the coaching staff for bringing on board a 2020 recruiting class that will help lessen the blow.  

Last year a very prolific SMU attack netted a total of sixty-three goals. Only Clemson with a total of seventy goals scored more. Chances are pretty good that the Mustangs will again have another high powered multidimensional attack in 2020 if a player or two emerges to add firepower to the attack up top. Sophomore forward Papa Ndoye who transfers in from Long Island University where he was a 2019 All-NEC First Team selection and highly regarded freshman forward Jose Ortiz out of Arlington Sam Houston High School and the Solar Soccer Club are among the newcomers who could add the desired punch to the attack up top. The Mustangs need a scoring presence up-top to add balance to the attack.  

SMU returns a group of midfielders that are built to run and stretch opposing defenders, which is something that SMU always does as well as anyone in the country. Junior Gabriel Costa (8g, 11a), the 2019  AAC Co-Midfielder of the Year and a consensus All-American, is a big play artist and prime timer who headlines a midfield that will be among the best from top to bottom in the country. Junior catalyst and playmaker Knut Ahlander (7g, 13a), a 2019 All-AAC Second Team selection, seniors  Nicky Hernandez (5g, 2a) and Noah Hilt (2g, 2a) and juniors Lane Warrington (0g, 3a) and Nick Taylor (0g, 3a) are among other returning midfielders who were starters last year. Junior Wyatt Priest (2g, 0a), sophomore Henry Smith-Hastie (2g, 1a) and senior Luke Thompson also figure to be in the mix. Junior transfer Skage Simonsen is a proven commodity who should immeiately factor into the rotation in the midfield. 

The loss of defenders Eddie Munjoma, Philip Ponder and Henrik Bredeli necessitates some reloading in the backline. Seniors Brandon Terwege and Talen Maples (1g, 1a) who are three-year starters return to provide a solid core around with to rebuild. Juniors Tom Haney (1g, 1a) and Tobin Shanks and senior Josh Berney are among other returning backs who will seek to play a greater role in 2020. The backline should be buoyed by the addition of junior transfer Timo Hummrich, an All-CAA selection at Delaware, and sophomore transfer Judson Burns who should compete for a starting spot in the back.

Senior Grant Makela, the starter between the pipes for the past two years with a 0.90 goals against average last year and seven shutouts, returns to give the Mustangs an experienced and composed presence in goal. Junior Shane Lanson, a starter in six contests last year with a 0.32 goals against average and four shutouts, and sophomore Stephen Canty also return in goal.  

On paper, SMU looks to be among the best teams in the country. However much will depend on the emergence of a scoring presence up-top, their ability to fill the voids that exist in the back, and how well the newcomers, particularly transfers Ndoye, Simonsen and Hummrich, adapt to SMU's style of play. 

Newcomers

Skage Simonsen - Midfielder - Bergen, Norway - Junior transfer from St. John's where he scored nine goals and contributed ten assists during two seasons in the starting lineup. He was named the Big East Freshman of the Year and was an All-Big East Second Team selection in 2018 and was an All-Big East Second Team member in 2019.

Timo Hummrich - Defender - Berlin, Germany - Hertha BSC -  A junior transfer from Delaware.  Named the 2018 CAA Rookie of the Year and a First Team All-CAA selection. Scored six goals and contributed one assist as a sophomore in 2019. Named an All-CAA Second Team selection in 2019.  

Papa Ndoye - Forward - Mbour, Senegal - Mbour - Sophomore transfer from Long Island University. United Soccer coasches All-Northeast Region First Team member. Named the 2019 NEC Rookie of the Year. All-NEC First Team selection. Led LIU with nine goals including three game-winning goals.   

Jose Ortiz - Forward - Arlington, Texas - Sam Houston High School - Played for Solar Soccer Club. Had a total of 133 goals in three seasons at Arlington Sam Houston HIgh School. 

Ceasar Garcia - Midfielder - The Colony, Texas - Played for FC Dallas Academy. 2019 United Soccer Coaches All-South Region Team. 

Moussa Sabaly - Midfielder - Senegal - Montverde Academy - Played for SIMA Gold. 

Kellan Barry - Midfielder - San Luis Obispo, California - San Luis Obispo High School - Played for Santa Barbara SC

Harvey Castro - Midfielder - Flower Mound, Texas - Marcus High School - Played for Solar Soccer Club - District 6-6A MVP.  Scored twelve goals and six assists. 

Cody Black - Midfielder - San Diego, California - Torrey Pines High School - Played for Rancho Santa Fe Attack. 

Nathan Ashley - Midfielder - Boca Raton, Florida - Saint Andrew's High School - Played for Boca United FC. South Florida Football Academy

Judson Burns - Defender - Argyle, Texas - Argyle High School - Sophomore transfer from Clemson where he saw action in five contests in 2019. Member of the FC Dallas Youth Academy.  

Tyler Oakson - Defender - Mission Viejo, California - Mission Viejo High School - Played for Pateadores SC Academy.   

Cole Johnson - Goalkeeper -  Phoenix, Arizona - Chaparral High School - Southwest Conference All-Conference Team. ECNL All-Conterence Team. Played for Real Salt Lake Soccer Club. Named to USYouth Soccer ODP National Training Camp. 


 

Oakland Adds Talented 2020 Recruiting Class To Solid Group Of Returning Players

Oakland under head coach Eric Pogue has added a super sized 2020 recruiting class that includes several players who should make an immediate impact and others that will evolve into a role of greater responsibility as they gain experience. The newcomers join a solid contingent of returning players from the 2019 squad that was 7-9-3 overall with a 4-2-2 mark and second place finish in Horizon League play.  

Departures and Gaps - Key departures due to graduation include defenders Elliott Bentley (0g, 4a), a 2019 All-Horizon League First Team selection and two-year starter, A.J. Shaw, a four-year starter, and midfielders Spencer Nolff (1g, 1a) and Evan Sawula (4g, 1a) who were three-year starters. The Golden Grizzlies will also be without defender Luke Morrell, a 2019 All-Horizon League Second Team selection and two-year starter, who transferred. 

Opportunities for Improvement - The ability to finish scoring opportunities in the final third. The ability to consistently put together two solid halves of play. The Golden Grizzlies dug themselves into a hole several times last year by allowing early goals.  

Summary - There is a lot to like about Oakland heading into the 2020 season. There are also specific areas where improvement is needed in order for the Golden Grizzlies to increase their win total and contend for the Horizon League championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The first order of business heading into the 2020 season is rebuilding and strengthening the backline. The second area pertains to improvement in the quality of their play in the final third. Oakland's inability to finish the scoring opportunities that came their way kept them from winning several contests last year in which they played well enough to win.

Redshirt senior Sullivan Lauderdale, the 2019 Horizon League Goalkeeper of the Year with two years of starting experience under his belt, returns to anchor a Golden Grizzlie defense that allowed a total of twenty-nine goals last year. Sophomores Reid Sproat and Mitch Meldrum (1g, 0a) are among returning defenders who will seek to play a greater role in 2020. Sproat appeared in eight contests last year with four starts and Meldrum appeared in seven contests with one start. Julien Beausire, Naji Elder, Jaiden Ramsay-Kelly, Sebastian Nuzzo and Nicholas Rolink are among the newcomers who will contend for a starting role in the back. 

The experience and savvy that Spencer Nolff and Evan Sawula brought to the pitch will be missed but Eric Pogue will have a solid and deep contingent of midfielders to work with. Senior Noah Jensen (4g, 5a), a 2019 All-Horizon League Second Team selection, three-year starter, and team captain, returns to set the pace in the center of the park. Jensen is a playmaker and hard working box-to-box midfielder. Senior Dylan Borczak, (4g, 8a), a 2019 All-Horizon League First Team member with two-years of starting experience under his belt, will add punch to the attack on the wing. Sophomore Adam McAleenan, a 2019 All- Horizon League Freshman Team selection with the benefit of a year of starting experience adds stability in the very important defensive midfielder role. Redshirt sophomore Cameron Wilde (3g, 3a), a 2019 All-Horizon League Freshman Team member, redshirt junior Napoleon Outlaw and redshirt sophomore Michael Teller are among other returning midfielders who should figure prominently in the mix in 2020. Sophomore transfer Ville Ahola, a member of the NEC All-Rookie Team last year at Fairleigh Dickinson, is a playmaker who should hit the ground running. Owen Smith, Arthur Widiez, Remco Gielen, and Logan Penton are among other members of the recruiting class who will challenge for playing time and add depth in the midfield.

Improvement up-top looks to rest in part on the shoulders of senior striker Charlie Braithwaite (6g, 1a) who led the attack last year after transferring in from Georgia Military College where he scored a total of thirty-five goals in two seasons. Junior Dawson Schrum who appeared in fifteen contests last year with one start and sophomore Mikey Ketteman (2g, 1a) who saw action in twelve games with two starts look to be among other returning forwards with the potential to add an additional dimension to the offense.   

Oakland looks to be a team that will be eager to get back on the field in 2020 after ending the 2019 campaign with a scoreless tie with Milwaukee and a 3-1 loss to Northern Kentucky in their last two regular season contests followed by a disappointing and unexpected 4-1 loss to Wright State in the semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament.

It may take a little while to sort out the best combinations but the bottom line is that the Golden Grizzlies have the potential in 2020 to top last years win total.  How Braithwaite, Jensen, and Borczak perform on the offensive side of the ball and the performance of Lauderdale between the pipes will likely determine Oakland's success in 2020, up to a point. Taking the next step and winning the Horizon League title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament will require a total team effort with improvement in the qualify of play in the attacking third and the avoidance of lapses in play on the defensive side of the ball. If everything falls into place the Golden Grizzlies appear to have the ingredients and the depth needed to write a different ending in 2020. 

Newcomers

Nour Moaoui - Goalkeeper - Palm Bay, Florida - Bayside High School - A junior JUCO All-American Second Team transfer from Eastern Florida State College. Posted twelve shutouts his sophomore season with a 0.46 goals against average. 

Sebastian Nuzzo - Defender - Ontario, Canada - Played for Vaughan Azzuri Soccer Club. 

Jaiden Ramsay-Kelly - Defender - Played for Woodbridge Strikers Soccer Club 

Owen Smith - Midfielder - New Plymouth, New Zealand - New Plymouth Boys High School - Played for Wellington Phoenix Academy. 

Finn Jurak - Goalkeeper - Canberra, Australia - Campbell High School - Played for Belconnen United. 

Julien Beausire - Defender - Vebey, Switzerland - Played for FC Lausanne.  

Arthur Widiez - Midfielder - Monaco - Played for AS Monaco 

Logan Penton - Forward - Vermilion,Ohio - Vermilion High School - Two-time First Team All-Ohio selection. Scored eighteen goals and had nine assists his senior season. Had forty-five career goals and forty-seven career assists. Sandusky Bay Conference Player of the Year.  Played for Team Challenger FC. 

Diego Lopez - Midfielder - Michigan - Played for Michiagan Wolves. 

Darek Panucci - Midfielder - Moon, Pennsylvania - Mood High School - Played for Pittsburgh Riverhouns Academy.

Taiga Shiokawa - Midfielder - Novi, Michigan - Novi High School - Played for Michigan Jaguars FC. 

Naji Elder - Defender - Dearborn, Michigan - Dearborn High School - Played for Vardar Academy.  

Remco Gielen - Midfielder - Netherlands - Played for EVV Echt.  

Nicholas Rolink - Defender - Louisville, Kentucky - Ballard High School - Played for Javanon 2001.

Ville Ahola - Midfielder - Jarvenpaa, Findland, Jarvenpaan Lukio High School - Sophomore transfer from Fairleigh Dickinson where he scored two goals and contributed five assists in 2019 and started thirteen of the sixteen contests he played in. Named to 2019 NEC All-Rookie Team.   


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