2020 Team Reviews

2020 Team and Recruiting Class Reviews

Maryland Announces Four Early Signees. Terps Return Nine Starters In 2020

Maryland did some things very well last year. They played well on the defensive side of the ball but the lack of offensive punch prevented them from doing some of the things that they normally do and resulted in a small margin of error. The Terps will seek to maintain the strengths and address areas of concern in 2020.  

Departures and GapsThe Terps lose center back Johannes Bergmann (2g, 2a), midfielder Eli Crognale (4g, 5a) and forward Luke Brown (1g, 1a) due to graduation. Bergmann and Crognale were team captains and 2019 All-Big Ten First Team selections. Bermann was a starter for three seasons and Crognale a starter for two seasons. Brown was a three-year starter at Hofstra before transferring to Maryland in 2020 for his senior season.    

Opportunities for Improvement - Possession and pressure. Maryland is at their best when they are able to apply pressure, create turnovers, and quickly counter. Their ability to do that on a consistent basis last year, in large part due to injuries, limited their effectiveness on the offensive side of the ball and put their defense under greater pressure. 

Coach's Recruiting Class Comment - Sasho Cirovski stated, "They are all of the highest character, have an insatiable desire to excel and bring with them a soccer skill set that will allow them to succeed individually as well as add great value to our program." 

Summary - Maryland struggled at times last year against the more difficult opponents. The effort was there throughout the season but key injuries hampered their ability to settle into a rhythm on the offensive side of the ball. As a result they were unable to get on the front foot at times and apply the pressure that has been the trademark of the program under Sasho Cirovski. Regardless the Teprs still managed a solid 11-8-2 overall record with a 3-3-2 mark in Big Ten play, earned their nineteenth consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament, and advanced to the second round of the tournament.  

Forward Paul Bin who played a key role in Maryland's attack in 2018 sustained a season ending ACL injury on the first day of preseason training and missed the entire 2019 season. Midfielder William James Herve, a starter in 2018 who added a different dimension to the Terp offense, was limited to just a few minutes of playing time in three contests last year due to a leg injury. Forward Bryan Padilla (2g, 9a), who started the 2019 season strong and looked like he might be the answer to Maryland's attack, sustained an injury that limited his season to eight contests. All three are slated to return in 2020 which should provide a real boost to the Terp offense.

In addition, senior forward Eric Matzelevich (6g, 2a) who was Maryland's top goal scorer last year and a 2019 All-Big Ten Second Team selection, junior forward Justin Gielen (4g, 1a) and sophomore forward Justin Harris will be back. Forward Jacen Russell-Rowe whose resume includes playing for the Canadian U-17 National Team is among the newcomers who look to be a perfect fit for Maryland's style of play.   

Sophomore midfielders Malcolm Johnson (4g, 4a), David Kovacic (3g, 1a) and David Kovacic and redshirt sophomore defensive midfielder Nick Richardson, are among returning linkmen who now have a year of experience under their belts. Johnson and Richardson were 2019 Big Ten All-Freshmen selections. 

The Terps will miss the stability and experience that central defender Johannes Bergmann who was a three-year starter brought to the defense but a drop off in the level of play on defense is not likely. Junior center back Brett St. Martin (1g, 1a) returns with two seasons of starting experience under his belt along with senior right back Ben Di Rosa (1g, 2a) and senior left back Matt Di Rosa (0g, 2a). Sophomore backs Marques Antoine who saw action in seven contests last year with three starts and Chris Rindov (0g, 1a) who participated in nine contests are among other returning players who should be in the hunt for a greater role in 2020.

Sophomore Niklas Neumann, a 2019 All-Big Ten Second Team selection, returns in goal after starting in eighteen contests last year and recording a 0.90 goals against average to anchor a Terp defense that posted eleven shutouts last year.  

Cirovski has a proven track record of building consistent winners. Under his guidance Maryland has had double digit wins in twenty-six of the last twenty-seven seasons, earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament twenty-four times, and won the national championship in 2005, 2008 and 2018.  He will enter the 2020 campaign a couple of wins away from securing four hundred wins at Maryland. When Cirovski reaches that milestone he will be one of only six coaches who have accomplished that feat at one Division I school.

No different from other elite programs, Maryland will enter the 2020 season with their sights set on no less than winning the Big Ten Title and a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Whether or not they can accomplish that hinges on their ability to up the level of their play by maintaining possession and applying pressure on the offensive side of the ball without a decline on the defensive side of the ball. Key factors include the ability of senior Paul Bin, junior William James Herve and junior Brayan Padilla who were injured last year to return to full strength in 2020, the ability of forwards Eric Matzelevich and Justin Gielen to build on the season they had last year, and the ability of others to take the next step in their playmaking ability.   

Maryland will be competitive and will put in a full shift in terms of effort in 2020 but the bottom line is that improvement is required in order for the Terps to win the contests against the top level opponents that eluded them last year.  


Ben Bender - Midfielder - Parkville, Maryland - Calvert Hall - Four-year starter at Calvert Hall where he scored fifteen goals his senior season and nine as a junior. 2019 Allstate All-American. Two-time All-MIAA selection. Played club for Baltimore Armour. 

Jamie Lowell - Goalkeeper - Brentwood, New Hampshire - Kentridge High School and Phillips Exeter Academy - Played for Seattle Sounders Academy. Prior to that he played club for Seacoast United. 

Joe Suchecki - Midfielder - New York, New York - Played for New York City FC Academy. Scored nineteen goals for the U16-17 team and four goals for the U18-19 team. Selected to the Generation Adidas Elite Soccer Program in 2017. 

Jacen Russell-Rowe - Forward - Bramton, Ontario - Played for the Toronto FC Academy and the Canadian U-17 National team. Scored nineteen goals for Toronto FC U-16-17 team and forty career goals in USDDA play. 

Indiana Announces Six Recruits. Hoosiers Eager To Get Underway In 2020.

Indiana returns a solid necleus from the 2019 team that was 15-3-4 overall with a 7-1-0 mark in Big Ten play. It was IU soccer as usual in 2019 with the Hoosiers winning both the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles and earning the number five seed in the NCAA Tournament despite the fact that they faced the challenge of replacing ten starters from the 2018 team that had advanced to the College Cup.     

Departures and Gaps - Back Jack Meyer (4g, 2a), the 2019 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and midfielder Aidan Morris (2g, 8a), the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, departed early to enter the professional ranks. Defenders Simon Weaver an All-Big Ten Second Team selection and Jordan Kleyn, midfielder Joris Ahlinvi (2g, 0a), and goalkeeper Sean Caulfield were the seniors on the 2019 team.  

Opportunities for Improvement - The Hoosiers had a lot of freshmen in key roles last year. If they get the traditional freshman to sophomore bump in the level of their play they will be a force to contend with in 2020. Indiana had a productive offense last year but there is room for improvement in their ability to take advantage of the scoring opportunities that come their way.

Coach's Recruiting Class Comment - Todd Yeagley stated, "We are really excited about our incoming class. It is a balanced group that will help strengthen our team heading into the 2020 season. It is important we continue to build upon our strong tradition of excellence and without question this class will leave a positive mark on the soccer program. They possess the strong character and winning mentality that we look for at IU."  

Summary - Expectations are always high at Indiana but they were tempered a little last year because the Hoosiers entered the 2019 season without ten starters from the 2018 team that advanced to the College Cup. Indiana's roster in 2019 included eighteen true or redshirt freshmen. The potential existed for a learning curve that would provide opponents the opportunity for a little revenge but that was not to be the case. Todd Yeagley and his stafff did an excellent job of merging the newcomers in with returning players. The freshmen proved to be differnece makers who hit the ground running and the returning players quickly transitioned into roles of greater responsibility. In retrospect, it was short-sighted to underestimate the ability of a program that has earned thirty-three consective invites to the NCAA Tournament to quickly reload. 

It was a banner season with the exception of the fact that the Hoosiers' season came to a heartbreaking end sooner than expected when they were upset at home by UC Santa Barbara 1-0 in the Sweet Sixteen. The memory of that loss, as is often the case, should provide a little extra incentive in 2020. 

Indiana will enter the 2020 campaign with significantly fewer gaps to fill and a talented bunch of sophomores who should benefit from the experience they gained last year. Regardless, the decision of defender Jack Meyer to depart to enter the professional ranks after his sophomore season and midfielder Aidan Morris to do the same after a one year stay in Bloomington leave gaps that could be a challenge to fill.

Yeagley will have a lot of lineup options. Sophomores Victor Bezerra (8g, 3a), All-Big Ten Second Team member Joshua Penn (6g, 2a), All Big-Ten Freshman Team selection Herbert Endeley (2g, 3a) and Maouloune Goumballe (2g, 3a) and seniors Thomas Warr (2g, 2a) and Ian Black (3g, 1a) are among returning players who will power what should be a balanced and explosive attack either up-top or in the midfield. Redshirt junior Joe Schmidt (1g, 2a) returns to set the pace and add stability to the midfield.

Redshirt senior, captain, and All-Big East Second Team selecion Spencer Glass (1g, 2a) and redshirt senior A.J. Palazzolo (3g, 4a) will provide an experienced and talented presence on the backline. Redshirt sophomore Daniel Munie (1g, 1a) and sophomore Brett Bebe are among other returning defenders who figure to be in the mix in 2020. Sophomore Roman Celentano who started fourteen contests last year with a 0.55 goals against average and eight shutouts returns in goal to anchor the defense with the added benefit that accompanies a year of experience.  

Todd Yeagley, as his father Jerry Yeagley did before him, always does a really good job of recruiting and developing talented soccer players who are also great athletes. The 2020 recruiting class is no exception with several members capable of contributing right away and providing the depth that is a critical success factor as the season progresses.

Players who scored thirty-two of Indiana's forty goals last year are slated to return. The Hoosiers look to be a very balanced and experienced team in 2020 with multiple players who have the ability to add punch to the offense along with a solid contingent of defenders. The stability that Jack Maher brought to the defense will be missed but the biggest challenge will be replacing the playmaking ability that midfielder Aidan Morris brought to the pitch. There is no need to temper expectations at IU heading into the 2020 season.  

Newcomers -  

Kyle Folds - Midfielder - Berea, Ohio - St. Ignatius High School - Plays for Indiana Fire Academy. 2018 Allstate All-American. Indy Eleven USL Academy. 

Lukas Hummel - Defender - Fenton, Missouri - Rockwood Summit High School - Co-Captain of St. Louis FC U-19 Academy Team.

Joey Maher - Defender - Caseyville, Illinois - Althoff High School - Plays for St. Louis FC. Team Captain. Made forty starts in forty-two career appearances for St. Louis FC Academy.

Emerson Nieto - Midfielder - Fort Wayne, Indiana - Bishop Dwenger HIgh School - Plays for the Indiana Fire Academy. Made USL debut as an amateur signee with Indy Eleven in 2019. 

Lawson Redmon - Defender - Glen Carbon, Illinois - Edwardsville High School - Plays for St. Louis  FC. Team co-captain. USL Academy contract with St. Louis FC. 

Nathan Ward - Forward - Connellsville, Pennsylvania - Greensburg Central Catholic - Plays for Beadling SC. Scored eighty goals with sixty-nine assists for Greensburg Central Catholic. Two-year letterwinner in baseball, basketball and track. 


Missouri State Adds Six Newcomers. Bears Seek To Build On Historic 2019 Season

What will Missouri State do for an encore in 2020 after an historic 2019 season in which they were a program best 18-1-1 with a perfect 10-0-0 mark in Missouri Valley Conference play? Don't let the fact that the Bears were eliminated in the second round of the NCAA Tournament distract you. They were among the top teams in the nation last year and will enter the 2020 season with a solid core of returning players supplemented by a six member recruiting class that has an international flavor and includes three transfers.  

Departures and Gaps - Missouri State has several big shoes to fill due to graduation. Departures include forward Matthew Bentley (15g, 4a), midfielders Stuart Wilkin (5g, 4a) and Ian Jones (3g, 2a) and defender Ben Stroud (4g, 0a). Bentley was a 2019 College Soccer News and United Soccer Coaches All-American and the Missouri Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Wilkin was a 2019 All-MVC First Team selection and four -year starter. Jones was a 2019 All-MVC Second Team selection. Stroud was an All-MVC First Team member and a four-year starter. 

Opportunities for Improvement -  Granted, it's hard to improve on an eighteen win season and perfect 10-0-0 mark in conference play. Continued improvement in their ability to close out games in 2020 hinges on the bump in play that the returning players get from the experience gained last year and the ability of the newcomers to help fill the voids that exist. Team chemistry and the hunger for improvement after a banner season are always important.  

Coach's Recruiting Class Comment -  Associate head coach Michael Seabolt stated, "The 2020 additions to our program are very important for our short and long term goals. It is our responsibility to make sure we continue on the path of growth that has hallmarked this program since its inception."

Summary - Missouri State will enter the 2020 season full of ambition and momentum as they hope to build on a stellar 2019 campaign in which they were 18-1-1 overall, won the MVC regular season title with a 10-0-0 mark in conference play, returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009, and secured the program's first ever win in the NCAA Tournament. With that said, the Bears do have a few key crucial gaps to address due to graduation. The 2019 team excelled in large part because they combined the program's normally tenacious play of the defensive side of the ball with an explosive and balanced attack that enhanced their chances of winning the close contests. 

Missourii State will be without the services of defender Ben Stroud who was a four-year starter. However, the backline will again be a position of strength for the Bears in 2020. Senior Kyle Hiebert (1g, 2a), a 2019 All-America selection and the MVC Defender of the Year, is slated to return to anchor the backline. Hiebert is a team leader and consistent ball winner with three years of starting experience under his belt. He will be joined by senior Connor Langan (0g, 3a), a three-year starter, and senior Gregg Stratton (1g, 3a) who was a starter last year. Redshirt sophomores Hugo Jonsson (1g, 1a) who appeared in fourteen contests last year and Sean Green and redshirt junior Evan DeGreeff look to be among other returning defenders who will be in the hunt for a greater role in 2020. New recruits Samuel Ottley who is a transfer from Newberry College and Mattis Koch have the potential to compete for playing time in the back right away. 

Redshirt junior Michael Creek, the 2019 MVC Goalkeeper of the Year and a United Soccer Coaches All-West Region selection, returns between the pipes to anchor a Bear defense that allowed a total of only thirteen goals last year while posting nine shutouts. Creek has been the starter for the past two seasons. Redshirt junior Gage Steiner who saw action in two contests in 2020 also returns between the pipes. 

The midfield is somewhat of a question mark heading into the 2020 season due to the graduation of All-MVC First Team member and four-year starter Stuart Wilkin (5g, 4a) and All-MVC Second Team selection Ian Jones (3g, 2a). Both added an additional dimension to the attack. Juniors Jack Denton (0g, 9a) and Aadne Bruseth (2g, 2a), sophomore Kian Yari (0g, 1a) and redshirt sophomore Will Osgathorpe (1g, 2a) are among returning players who provide a sound foundation upon which to reload. Denton was effective in the defensive midfielder role and played a key role in putting into play most of Missouri State's set pieces. Bruseth appeared in fifteen contests last year with twelve starts. Yari gained valuable first year experience and was named to the MVC All Freshman Team. Osgathorpe played well before sustaining an injury early own that cut short his season. Nicolas Torres who transfers in from Iowa Western Community College is among the newcomers who should compete for minutes in the midfield right away.   

Replacing a consensus All-American like forward Matthew Bentley will not be an easy feat. Bentley trasferred to Missouri State last year after playing for West Virginia Wesleyan College for three seasons. Bentley's fifteen goals including six that game-winners had a lot to do with the increase in the Bears' offensive productivity from twenty-six goals in 2018 to forty-three goals in 2019. The good news is that All-American senior forward Josh Dolling (7g, 5a) is slated to return up-top to power the attack. Dowling is a pure finisher and power forward with big play ability as refected in his five game-winning goals last year. Juniors Nicolo Mulatero (2g, 1a) who appeard in twenty contests with fifteen starts last year and Dawson Lee (1g, 2a) who appeared in twenty games with nine starts and sophomore Jon Koka who saw action in seventeen matches also return up-top. .

The bottom line is that it will be difficult to acheive another eighteen win season but despite the loss of several key players due to graduation, the 2020 team returns the talent on both sides of the ball to again be very good.    


Jesus Barea - Midfielder - Cadiz, Spain - Putnam Science Academy - Scored eight goals at Putnam Science Academy last year. Played for Cadiz CF for three years where he was the team's leading scorer. 

Melvrik Fernandes - Midfielder - Orlando, Florida - Cypress Creek High School - A transfer from Division II Alderson Broaddus which is located in Philippi, West Virginia. Second Team-All-Conference selection last year.

Mattis Koch - Defender - Berlin, Germany - Played for three seasons at FC Union in Berlin. Team co-captain. 

Samuel Ottley - Defender - Telford, England - Transfer from Division II Newberry College where he played the past two seasons. Played with Wolverhampton and Barnsley clubs in England. 

Jack Stewart - Forward - Sydney Australia - Played for Sydney Olympic FC in Australia. Played for Blacktown City FC,  Sydney FC and Sydney United. 

Nicolas Torres - Midfielder - Linares, Chile - Played for Iowa Western College last year where he had ten goals and contributed fourteen assists. Played for Barton Community College in 2018 where he scored five goals. 

Louisville Adds Impressive Six Member Fall Recruiting Class. Solid Contingent Returns.

Louisville will be without its top goal scorer and playmaker last year and they lose a lot of experinece in the back due to graduation. But with a solid contingent of proven players returning and the addition of a very talented recruiting class the cupboard is far from bare. Another winning season and berth in the NCAA Tournament is clearly within reach, but upward movement in the highly competitive Atlantic Coast Conference is not going to be easy.  

Departures and Gaps - The Cardinals will be without midfielder and playmaker Cherif Dieye (7g, 6a) who was a 2019 All-ACC Second Team selection. Dieye was Louisville's top scorer and their go-to guy on the offensvie side of the ball. They also will be without the services of forward Kino Ryosuke (3g, 2a) who was a two-year starter, defender Cody Cochran who was a four-year starter, defender Louka Masset who was a two-year starter, and defender Connor Brazil who was a two-year starter.   

Opportunities for Improvement - Consistency.of play and the avoidance of lapses in play on the defensive side of the ball. Louisville allowed a total of twenty-eight goals last year.   

Coach's Recruiting Class Comment - John Michael Hayden stated, "This class exemplifies the high standards we have set for the program. These players have each excelled tremendously in their youth careers and are very much driven to succeed. Their character is strong, which will be the foundation for their growth within our program."

Summary - This is a program with a winning culture. Louisville has earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament twelve out of the last thirteen seasons including the last four. They have advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tourney in seven out of the last ten years and the Elite Eight five times in the last ten years. 

The Cardinals were 10-8-2 last year with a 3-4-1 mark in ACC play in John Michael Hayden's first season at the helm of the program. Louisville enhanced their standing with a season ending run to the Sweet Sixteen with wins over South Florida 4-1 and number fourteen seed UC Davis 1-0 before a season ending 5-1 loss to Georgetown. Louisville concluded a roller coaster season ranked as the number eighteen team in the country in the final College Soccer News Poll and the number twenty team in the final United Soccer Coaches Poll.

The 2019 campaign was a productive but not classic Louisville season. The nature of Louisville's 2019 season is reflected in the fact that they had signature wins over non-conference foes Kentucky 3-0 and Georgetown 1-0 but struggled against the top tier ACC opponents losing to Virginia 2-0, Clemson 4-0 and Wake Forest 3-1 in regular season play and Virginia Tech 2-0 in the conference tournament.

Upward movement in the hierarchy of the highly competitive ACC conference in 2020 will require improvement on both sides of the ball. Louisville scored a total of twenty-eight goals last year while allowing twenty-eight. This was not a team that had the punch or toughness last year to come from behind. In all of Louisville's losses in 2019 their opponent scored first. In only one of their wins were they able to come from behind. Finding the appropriate equilibrium or balance between applying pressure on the offensive side of the ball and stability on the defensive side looks to be a critical success factor for the Cardinals in 2020. At times Louisville did a good job of sorting that out last year but not so good at others. At times their inability to pressure their opponent on the offensive side of the ball put additional pressure on their defense. At other times their inability to contain their opponent on the defensive side of the ball limited the amount of pressure they could apply on the offensive side of the ball.  

Seniors Emil Elveroth (3g, 1a), Izaiah Jennings (4g, 1a) and junior Haji Abdikadir (1g, 0a) look to be among returning forwards who will be counted upon to add additional punch to the attack in 2020. Nico Diaz and Aboubacar Camara are among the members of the fall recruiting class who could add an additional dimension to the offense. The graduation of Cherif Dieye leaves a big void in the midfield but a solid contingent of linkmen return led by seniors Elijah Amo (0g, 1a), Liam Bennett (1g, 0a) and Carlos Sanchis, junior Cameron Wheller (0g, 1a) and sophomore Bradley Sample (1g, 1a).

The backline requires significant reloading due to graduation. Sophomore Leonard Getz (1g, 2a) and junior William Portman are among experienced backs who are slated to return in 2020. Nico Carrera, a 2019 United States Youth All-American, looks to be among the newcomers who could immediately challenge for playing time in the back. Redshirt senior Jake Gelnovatch, a starter for the past two seasons, returns in goal to give the Cardinals an experienced and composed presence between the pipes.  

Hayden had a good first season as the Louisville head coach. If the Cardinals can build on their strengths while addressing the weaknesses that existed last year there's reason to believe the 2020 campaign will be better. It is a plus that Hayden now has a year at the helm of the program under his belt, that a solid foudation returns upon which to build, and that there will be promising newcomers in the fold. Nonetheless, it is a given that the ACC schedule will again be challenging and unforgiving from top to bottom. Louisville will be competitive but it is hard to envision significant improvement without a more dynamic attack, balance, and consistency on the defensive side of the ball.   


Aboubacar Camara - Forward - Upper Darby, Pennsylvania - Played club for Philadelphia Union. Called into the United State U-17 National Team during the Youth Summit in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. 2018 and 2019 United Soccer Coaches Youth Boys All-East Region. Since 2016 he has scored a total of fifty-six goals while playing in seventy-six games with the Philadelphia Union.  

Nico Carrera - Defender - Pachuca, Mexico - Played for FC Dallas. Played for the United States U-17 National Team at the 2019 U-17 World Cup. Played for the Mexico U-17 National Team in 2019 in Japan. Named a 2019 United Soccer Coaches Youth Boys All-American. 

Osmar Chavero - Goalkeeper - Mission, Texas - Played club for the Houston Dynamo since 2015. Has played with the U-19 Houston Dynamo team for the last three years.  Member of the United States U-16 National Team in 2016.  Regularly trains with the Houston Dynamo first team. 

Nico Diaz - Forward - New Smyrna Beach, Florida - Joined MLS expansion Inter Miami for the 2019-20 season where he plays with the club's U-19 Academy. Played three years with the Orlando City SC Academy where he scored forty-four goals in sixty-five starts. 

Bryce Lebel - Defender - Sparta, New Jersey - Played for the New York Red Bulls since 2016 with sixty-seven starts and seventy-eight appearances. Called up to the U-19 team for the 2019 Development Academy Playoffs. Regularly trains with the NYRB first team. 

Roarke Schmeider - Midfielder - Aurora, Ohio - Played for the Internationals since 2016. Has played for the U-19 team for the past four seasons. Will enroll at Louisville in January after graduating a semester early from Aurora High School. 

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