2020 Team Reviews

2020 Team and Recruiting Class Reviews

Colgate Adds Twelve Member 2020 Recruiting Class. Raiders Return Eight Starters

Colgate's string of three consecutive Patriot Leauge championships and berths in the NCAA Tournament ended last year. The Raiders will enter the 2020 season with several pluses that bode well for improvement as well as several key unanswered quesitons.  

Departures and Gaps - Colgate will be without goalkeeper Jacob Harris whose twenty career shutouts are the second most in Raider history, midfielder Kentaro Morrison (1g, 2a) and defender Christian Clarke (3g, 3a) who were three-year starters. They also will be without forward Lucas Lezcano and midfielder Sebastian El Abdellaoui due to graduation.

Opportunities for Improvement - Colgate came out soft at times last year allowing their opponents to take an early lead. Improvement is also needed in offensive productivity.  

Coach's Recruiting Class Comment - Erik Ronning stated, "Great people, terrific students, and talented players; these young men will contribute greatly to Colgate University and Colgate Men's Soccer. This is a fun, exciting group and I expect many to make immediate contributions on the field, while adding quality depth to our squad. It is a great day for Colgate Soccer." 

Summary - Erik Ronning has instilled an excellent work ethic and team oriented culture at Colgate which helped a relatively young Raiders team play pretty much everyone close last year but a lack of big play ability on the offensive side of the ball hampered their capability to come from behind and their capacity to win the close contests. Under Ronning, the Raiders have played their best soccer of the year down the homestreach and been at their best during the Patriot League Tournament. While the effort was there and Colgate improved as the 2019 season progressed, things were different down the home stretch last year. As a result, their string of four consecutive double-digit win seasons and three consecutive Patriot League championships came to a halt with a 6-9-4 overall record and a loss to Layayette in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League tournament.

Statistics can sometimes be misleading but also revealing. Colgate found the back of the net a total of sixteen times last year while allowing opponents to score twenty-three times. You have to go back to Colgate's four-win 2013 season to find a year in which the Raiders scored fewer goals.

Sophomore forward Drew Fischer (4g, 3a) who started all but one game last year, junior forward Edward Bass (3g, 1a) who was a 2019 All-Patriot League Third Team selection with fifteen starts in eighteen matches, and junior forward Ryan Krueger (0g, 1a) who appeared in sixteen contests with fourteen starts are among those who could provide the spark on the offensive side of the ball that Colgate needs in 2020. Their collective ability, or the emergence of someone else, to become more of a weapon on the offensive side of the ball will be a huge factor in the level of success the Raiders have in 2020. 

The midfield looks to be deep and experienced but must also become more productive on the offensive side of the ball in 2020. Senior Chris DePetro, a hard nosed competitior and starter for the past three seasons, returns to set the pace in the midfield. Junior Kian Alberto (1g, 4a). a starter for the past two years, is a key distributor who has been Colgate's top assist man the past two seasons. Seniors Mason Miller (2g, 0a), Simon Fisher and Colin Apel are among other returning linkmen along with sophomores Antonio Ducrot (1g, 9a), Max Edelstein (1g, 0a) and Bobby Foose (0g, 1a) who also figure to be in the mix with a year of experience under their belts.

Colgate will enter the 20120 season with a void to fill on the defensive side of the ball due to the graduation of defender Christian Clarke, a 2019 All-Patriot League First Team seleciton and three-year starter, and goalkeeper Jacob Harris who was also a three-year starter. Clarke and Harris were 2019 United Soccer Coaches All-Atlantic Region Second Team members. However, a solid contingent of defenders return including juniors Baraka Kiingi, Dominic Galietta, John Gerard, and Will Stroud and sophomores John Muckstadt and Chris Noriega (0g, 1a). The return of a healthy Stroud, a starter in 2018 who missed all but two contests last year due to injury, is a big plus.

Replacing Jacob Harris, whose shot stopping ability in goal kept a lot of contests close last year, will fall on the shoulders of junior Nick Gerlach, senior Wilson Fitzgerald and freshmen Andrew Cooke and Danny Coyle. 

There are several things on the plus side of the ledger at Colgate entering the 2020 campaign and several unanswered questions. The pluses include the experience and confidence that the younger players gained last year which should reduce the learning curve and enhance the consistency of play in 2020, the proven ability of Ronning to merge together the individual talents of his players into a unified team, and the addition of a recruiting class that should enhance depth. The primary unanswered question is Colgate's ability to up their productivity on the offensive side of the ball without a decline in effectiveness on the defensive side of the ball.

Colgate will be a stronger team in 2020 than in 2019 with the talent to contend for the Patriot League title but even if all the pieces fall into place their margin for error will remain thin in an always competitive Patriot League race. 

Newcomers

Will Bugliari - Midfielder - Madison, New Jersey - The Pingry School - Two-time All-State selection at The Pingry School. Had sixty-one career points with eighteen goals and twenty-five assists in high school. All-State and All-Conference as a senior with eleven goals and eleven assists. Played club for Players Development Academy. 

Brett Chrisman - Midfielder - Glencoe, Illinois - Loyola Academy - Played for Chicago Fire Development Academy. Played for FC United Developmental Academy and then FCU DA. Attended multiple U.S. Soccer National Team regional camps. 

Andrew Cooke - Goalkeeper - Bath, Ohio - Revere High School - Played with the Internationals DA has senior season. Played for the Kalamazoo Kingdom where he was a two-time captain. 

Danny Coyle - Goalkeeper - Scotch Plains, New Jersey - Scotch Plains-Fanwood - All-Conference selection in high school. All-State second Team and All-County First team. Team captain. Played for PDA Soccer. 

Aidan Davock - Forward - Medway, Massachusetts, The Rivers School - Scored sixty-two goals and contributed twenty-five career assista at The Rivers School. 2019 All-American. Scored twenty-seven goals and had five assists as a senior. All-State selection for three seasons. Played club for New England Football Club. 

Adam Fam - Forward - Dover, Massachusetts, Dover-Sherbon Regional High School - Scored forty career goals and had twenty career assists at Dover-Sherbon Regional High School. Netted nineteen goals with twelve assists his senior season. Eastern Massacusetts All-Star. Played club soccer for NEFC where he has six goals and three assists in five contests in 2019. 

Andrew Feltz - Midfielder - West Des Moines, Iowa, Dowling Catholic High School - Scored thirty-two goals and had ten assists in three seasons at Dowling Catholic. All-Iowa Elite Team. Two-time All-Conference selection. Played club for Sporting Iowa. 

Duncan Green - Defender - Houston, Texas - Starke Jesuit College Preparatory - Played club for Houston FC. Three-year captain. Youngest player to start for Houston FC in USL League 2 play. Member South Texas Olympic Development Team. 

Simon Hall - Defender - Washington, D.C. - Washington Latin Public Charter School - Had seven career goals at Wasington Latin Public Charter School. Played for Bethesda Soccer Club. 

Ryan Leask - Defender - Webster, New York - Webster Thomas High School - Played for Empire United Development Academy. Two-time team captain. Started every contest his junior and senior seasons and tallied a total of four goals. Appeared in sixty-six games with fifty-eight starts for Empire United Development Academy. 

Craig McIlwraith - Midfielder - Fayetteville, Georgia - McIntosh HIgh School - All-Region and All-County selection. Had four goals and six assists in nine games in 2020. Had a total of thirteen goals and fifteen assists during high school career. Played club soccer for Gwinnette Soccer Academy. 

Justin Weiss - Midfielder - Syosset, New York - Syosset High School - Scored thirty-two goals in three years in play in United States Development Academy play. Had fourteen goals during his senior season. Played for New York Red Bulls Academy, BW Gottschee Academy and Met Oval Academy. 


Georgetown Adds Top Notch 2020 Recruiting Class. Hoyas Return Solid Core From National Championship Team.

The Hoyas return a wealth of talent at every position and have added a top-notch recruiting class that should add depth and bodes well for the future of the program. 

Departures and Gaps - The Hoyas will be without All-American back and Big East Defensive Player of the Year Dylan Nealis (4g, 5a) who was a four-year starter, forward Achara (6g, 5a) who was a 2019 All-Big East Second Team selection, forward Riley Strassner (1g, 0a) and midfielders Ethan Lochner (0g, 1a) and Austin Riddick due to graduation.  

Opportunities for Improvement - Georgetown will enter the 2020 season with the momentum that accompanies winning a national championship and the big target on their chests that goes with it. Last year Georgetown did a really good job of staying  true to their system of play while making the adjustments needed to deal effectively with the different styles of play that they faced. Their ability to do that again in 2020 will be among the keys to the level of success that they experience.   

Coach's Recruiting Class Comment - Brian Wiese stated, "We are really happy with this group of nine student-athletes. It is a big and talented class that is designed to be ready to take on the expectations and challenges of competing at a national level year in and year out." He added, "All nine of them are capable of contributing right out of the gate, which will make next Fall the most competitive team for playing time that I've had in my time at Georgetown. I love the character that these young men will bring to the program both on and off the field."

Summary - When we last saw the Hoyas, they were celebrating the program's first national championship in men's soccer, a 20-1-3 overall record, and the Big East Conference regular season and tournament titles. After Georgetown emerged on the national scene in 2012 when they advanced to the national championship game and had a nineteen win season, it seemed that it was just a matter of time before they took the next step and won a national championship. With that step now in the record books the focus moves to replicating the level of success that the 2019 squad achieved. 

Georgetown will enter the 2020 season with a wealth of returning talent, the additon of a top notch nine member recruiting class, a ton of momentum and the very big target on their chests that comes with being the defending national champions.

The Hoyas had a deep rotation last year which served them well and gave them an edge as the season progressed. The Hoyas will again be a deep team in 2020 with high-caliber players a every position. Brian Wiese will again have a lot of lineup options. If you had to pick an area of concern it would be the void that exists on the defensive side of the ball due to graduation of team captains All-American and two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year Dylan Nealis and forward Achara. Nealis was an impact player from the day he set foot on campus as a freshman and Achara, although hampered by injury, was an explosive finisher who added an addtional dimension to the offense anytime he was on the pitch.

Senior All-American forward Derek Dodson  (11g, 8a) who has powered the Hoyas attack for the past three years returns up-top along with junior Zach Riviere (4g, 2a). Dodson is a force on the offensive side of the ball and will be a tightly marked man. Accordingly, Riviere and others will need to add an additional dimension to the attack to keep oppoents from clamping down on Dodson. Marlon Tabora Ponce out of the Bethesda Soccer Academy is among the newcomers who could add additonal punch to the offense up-top.

The Hoyas will have plenty of options in the midfield, thanks to a solid core of returning linkmen and several new additions who will add depth and whose role will increase as they gain experience. A solid case can be made that from top to bottom the Hoyas will have the strongest midfield in the country in 2020.

Senior All-American and 2019 Big East Midfielder of the Year Jacob Montes (11g, 5a), who has been a starter for the past three seasons, returns to lead the way in the midfield. Montes is a playmaker and difference maker who adds balance to the attack in the middle of the park. Montes emerged as one of the top midfielders in the country last year. His big play ability was a big factor in Georgetown's success last year and will be again in 2020. Junior Sean Zawadzki, a 2019 All-Big East Second Team selection and 2020 captain (3g, 1a), who scored a goal and added an assist in Georgetown's 2-0 big semifinal win over Stanford in the 2019 College Cup, returns to add stability and grit to the midfield. Senior Paul Rothrock (4g, 7a) who transferred in last year from Notre Dame and made an immediate impact and senior Jack Beer (3g, 4a) return to add additional firepower and touch on the ball in the midfield along with sophomores Dante Polvara (4g, 2a), Will Sands (1g, 1a) and Aidan Rocha (0g, 1a) who now have a year of experience under their belts.

A solid core of backs return including senior and 2020 team captain Rio Hope-Gund (0g, 2a), senior Sean O'Hearn (0g, 4a), senior Foster McCune (3g, 1a) who may also be utilized as a midfielder, senior Chris Le, and sophomore Daniel Wu (1g, 0a) who had a banner freshman season. Hope-Gund, O'Hearn, and Wu were starters in the back last year along with Dylan Nealis. Newcomers Kenny Nielsen and Dominic De Almeida could push for minutes in the back. 

Junior Giannis Nikopolidis, the 2019 Big East Co-Goalkeeper of the Year and a Big East First Team selection, and sophomore Tomas Romero, a College Soccer News 2019 All-Freshman First Team selection, who split time in goal last year return in 2020. While a goalkeeper rotation system is often problematic from a continuity and organization standpoint, it clearly worked well for Georgetown last year. Their return gives the Hoyas two very talented, composed, and battle tested netminders. Nikopolidis who hails from Athens, Greece had a 0.49 goals against average in twelve appearances last year while Romero who is from Cherry Hill, New Jersey had a 0.64 goals against average in twelve appearances.  

Newcomers

Trevor Burns - Midfielder - Southborough, Massachusetts - Algonquin Regional - Played for the New England Revolution Academy where he was a four-year starter and team captain. 

Dominic De Almeida - Defender - Lincoln Park, New Jersey - Morris County School of Technology - Played for the U.S. Youth National Team. Played club for PDA where he was a four-year starter.

John Franks - Midfielder - Atlanta, Georgia - Woodward Academy - Played with Concorde Fire and United Futbol Academy. Member of the ODP Region 3 Team in 2015 and 2016.   

Chris Hegardt - Midfielder - San Diego, California - Bellarmine Prep - A four-year starter for the Sounders Academy. 

Pranav Jha - Forward - Short Hills, New Jersey - Pingry - Four-year starter and captain as a senior at the Pingry School. All-Somerset County. All-Skyland Conference. All-State. USA All-American. Netted twenty-three goals and contributed fourteen assists in high school. Four-year starter for PDA. 

Kyle Linhares - Midfielder - Teaneck, New Jersey - Dwight Morrow - Played for PDA where he was a four-year starter. Scored forty-eight career goals for PDA.

Kenny Nielsen - Defender - Irvine, California - University High School - Played for the Pateadores where he was a four-year starter and captain. Played with the U-15 and U-17 United States Youth National Team.

Ryan Schewe - Goalkeeper - Marietta, Georgia - Holy Innocents' Epicscopal - Played for United Futbol Academy for three years. Played for Atlanta United Development Academy for three seasons.

Marlon Tabora Ponce - Forward - Rockville, Maryland - Winston Churchill - A four-year starter with the Bethesda Soccer Academy. US Soccer Development Academy Starting XI East Region. United Soccer Coaches All-American. Scored more than fifty goals in club career.


 

 

High Point University Adds Promising 2020 Recruiting Class. Panthers Have Big Shoes To Fill.

The Panthers have added a six member recruiting class that includes four transfers that could help address the voids that exist.  HPU is coming off back-to-back thirteen win seasons.  

Departures and Gaps - High Point will be without forwards Ilias Kosmidis (9g, 1a) and Siggi Benonysson (3g, 1a) due to graduation. Kosmidis was an All-Big South First Team selection in 2018 and 2019 after transferring in from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Benonysson was a four-year starter, playmaker, and impact player. The Panthers must also fill the gap that exists due to the graduation of midfielders Ryan Inman, a 2018 and 2019 All-Big South First Team selection and three-year starter, Josh Baker (1g, 2a) a two-year starter and Jonathan Bolanos (2g, 3a) who was a four-year stater and 2019 and 2017 All-Big South First Team member. High Point must also fill the void that exists in goal due to the graduation of Keegan Meyer who was a four-year starter, three-time All-Big South First Team selection, and High Point's all-time leader in career shutouts.   

Opportunities for Improvement - The departure of six talented and experienced senior starters who were responsible for eighteen of the twenty-seven goals HPU scored last year necessitates that others step forward and assume a greater role in 2020 on the offensive side of the ball.   

Coach's Recruiting Class Comment - Zach Haines stated, "Their character, leadership, and work ethic are every bit as impressive as their talent, which will allow for the most significant impact to our culture and potential success."  He added, "The 2020 class will add competition and depth in numberous spots, which will help drive this program forward in a big way."

Summary -  Zach Haines will enter his second season at the helm of the program with the advantage of a year of experience under his belt and with the addition of a very promising recuriting class but without the experienced services of six senior starters from the 2019 team that was 13-7-0 overall, had a 7-1-0 mark in Big South Conference play, and advanced to the title match of the Big South Tournament where they were topped by Campbell 4-1.  

Sophomore Jordan Lonchar (4g, 4a), a 2019 All-Big South Second Team selection, is among returning players who Haines will count on to add punch to the offense up-top. Sophomore forward MD Meyers (0g, 1a) who appeared in eighteeen games last year, graduate transfer Victor Pimentel from the University of Mobile and freshman Ousmane Gueye out of the Pennington School are among others who could add an additional dimension to the attack up-top. Juniors Alex Abril (5g, 2a) and Lalas Ayertey and senior Dylan Bradley are among returning midfielders who look to be in the hunt for a greater role in 2020. Junior transfer Sebastian Chalbaud from Stetson and senior transfer Mason Marcey from Valparaiso are among the newcomers who have the potential to make an immediate impact in the midfield.

The backline looks to be a team strength heading into the 2020 campaign with the return of senior Nick Phipps (0g, 1a) who has  been a starter for the past two years, juniors Alessandro Sobacchi (0g, 1a) and Josh Dubost, and sophmore Karson Kendall who was a 2019 Big South All-Freshman Team selection. Phipps, Sobarcchi, Dubost and Kendall were all starters last year. Senior backs Daniel Shahim who appeared in fourteen contests last year with five starts and sophomore Brady Francher who played in nineteen games with five starts also look to be in the mix.

The departure of Keegan Meyer means that a new face will be between the pipes in 2020 for the Panthers. Redshirt freshmen Gunnar Siegel and Holden Trent and redshirt sophomore transfer Ricky Ceballos from Akron will contend for the starting job in goal. 

The backline will be experienced and skilled so HPU looks to be in good shape in that aspect of the game. Unanswered questions exist pretty much everywhere else on the pitch. Regardless, there's enough talent, both returning and incoming, to keep High Point a contender for the Big South Conference title again in 2020 but the biggest challenge may be molding it all together. Sometimes it takes a while for that to happen.  

The ability of the newcomers to contribute will be an important factor for the Panthers but when it is all said and done their fortunes in 2020 will hinge on the level of improvment of returning players who were role players last year. High Point may reload quickly and have a banner season, but if they doesn't happen, this is a program that should be extremely competitive the following year.  

Newcomers

Ricky Ceballos - Goalkeeper - Mexico City, Mexico, Instituto Educativo Olinca - A transfer from Akron where he didn't see action in 2018 or 2019. Played club for Universidad Nacional Club de Futbolliso. Starting goalkeeper for the Mexican U-20 and U-17 National Teams.  

Sebastian Chalbaud - Midfielder - Valencia, Venezuela - St. Benedicts Prep - Junior transfer from Stetson University where he scored three goals and contributed one assist last year. Named 2019 All-ASUN First Team member. All-ASUN Freshman Team selection in 2018. Gatorade Player of the Year for New Jersey out of St. Beneficts Prep. Member of the Venezuela U-17 National Team. Played for AFC Ann Arbor of the NPSL in 2019.

Ousmane Gueye - Forward - Saint-Louis, Senegal - The Pennington School - Socred thirty-eight goals and had nineteen assists during three seasons at Pennington School. Played two seasons for Match Fit Academy with fourteen goals and ten assists.

Mason Marcey - Midfielder - Charlotte, North Carolina - Charlotte Christian - Senior transfer from Valparaiso where he scored five goals and contributed three assists in sixteen contests in 2019. Named to the 2019 Missouri Valley Conference All-Tournament Team. Played at Radford University in 2017. Four-year starter and team captain at Charlotte Soccer Academy.

Erich Miller - Defender - San Rafael, California - IMG Academy - Appeared in eight-seven contests over the past four years at the IMG Academy. Team captain. 

Victor Pimentel - Forward - Jupiter, Florida - South Kent High School - Graduate transfer from University of Mobile. Redshirted his first season at Mobile then appeared in fifty-four contests with nineteen goals and eight helpers. Netted seven goals and added two assists in 2019 and named Second Team All-Conference. Played for Mississippi Brilla in USL League 2 in 2019 with nine goals in thirteen contests. 


   

 

Akron Adds Promising 2020 Recruiting Class. Zips Return Eight Starters.

Akron's run of seven consecutive MAC Tournament titles and twelve consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament came to an unexpected end last year with a 6-10-2 overall record and 4-0-1 mark in MAC play when the Zips were upset 1-0 in the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference Tournament. 

Departures and Gaps - Departures due to graduation include midfielder Skye Harter, a 2018 All-MAC First Team selection who was hampered by injury in 2019, starting defender Christian Lue Young (1g, 2a), defender Tom Smart who appeared in eight contests and defender Leonard Sohn who played in eleven matches.  Akron will also be without starting goalkeeper Tor Saunders who had a 1.39 goals against average who transfered to Coastal Carolina and midfielder Mani Austmann who transferred to UNCG.  

Opportunities for Improvement - For the second year in a row Akron began the season slowly. In 2018 the Zips began the year with a 1-3-1 record but they pulled together and rebounded to close out the season with a nine game winning streak that carried them all the way to the national championship final. Last year they began the season with a 0-0-7 record and didn't record their first win until October. Akron played well enough in October to secure the regular season MAC title but they never fully gelled as a team on either side of the ball.  

Coach's Recruiting Class Comment - Jared Embick stated, "We are excited about the incoming players for the spring. We wanted to add a group of players that will come in and compete right away and have a strong mentality. All these players are strong on the ball and have a competitive mindset."

Summary - Akron began the 2019 season with a challenging schedule in which success would have to be hard-earned. But who would have thought that an Akron team that advanced to the College Cup in 2018 would not secure a win until October. During the seven seasons that Jared Embick has been the Akron head coach, the Zips have posted the highest winning percentage in the country but it's fair to say that they were near the top of the list of teams that didn't play to their potential last year. True, they won the regular season MAC title and yes, the MAC has become a much more balanced conference but this is a program for which a berth in the NCAA Tournament and a deep run in it has become the norm.

The 2019 season is now in the rearview mirror. It's time to look at the bright side heading into the 2020 season which is the fact that Akron returns a lot of very talented and capable players. The Zips have a winning culture and Embick has established that he knows what it takes to win at the highest level. As a result there are plenty of reasons to be cautiously optimistic that Akron will bounce back in 2020. 

Senior forward David Egbo (7g, 4a), a 2019 All-MAC First Team selection, returns to give Akron a top notch finisher. Sophomore Will Jackson (4g, 3a), a 2019 All-MAC Second Team member, adds another dimenison to the attack up-top. Junior Federico Serra (0g, 1a) who appeared in fourteen contests last year is among other returning forwards who should contribute.

Senior and team captain Daniel Strachan (1g, 1a), a 2019 All-MAC Second Team honoree and three-year starter returns to add stability to the midfield along with junior Colin Biros (2g, 1a), a 2019 All-MAC First Team member and two-year starter, junior Sam Tojaga (1g, 1a) and redshirt senior Diogo Pacheco (2g, 2a) who was slowed by injury last year. Sophomores Henrique Cruz (0g, 2a) who appeared in twelve games with seven starts last year, Johnny Fitzgerald, and Joey Paulus are among other returning midfielders who will challenge for additional minutes in the midfield in 2020.

The backline has the potential to be very good with juniors Carlo Ritaccio (0g, 1a), a two-time First Team All-MAC selection, Pol Hernandez (0g, 4a) and Marco Milanese (1g, 0a) slated to return. Ritaccio, Hernandez and Milanese have been starters for the past two seasons. Redshirt junior Declan Watters who appeared in thirteen contests last year with four starts and sophomore Jaden Wright who participated in nine contests with two starts are among other very capable returning backs who will be in the hunt for a greater role in 2020.

Redshirt freshmen Cameron Victor and Grant Abbott who did not see action last year are among returning goalkeepers who will battle for the crucial starting job between the pipes. Akron's recruiting class which has not yet been annouched will also likely include an additional netminder or two who will also be in the mix. The newcomers listed below are the anticipated members of the class.  

The 2020 season could be a season of tremendous progress for the Zips if the following occurs: (1) the 2019 campaign serves as a wake up call that results in a cohesive and focused team from the get-go; (2) The midfield is able to consistently get the best of the run of play in the middle third and get the ball to the feet of Egbo and Jackson among others up-top: (3) Egbo and Jackson and others are able to finish the scoring opportunities that come their way and add the spark to the attack that forward Marcel Zajac did in 2018: (4) the backline of Ritaccio, Hernandez and Milanese play to their potential; and (5) The recruiting class gives the Zips the lift and creates the level of competition that the current juniors did as freshmen.  

The bottom line is that Akron will be talented and experienced in 2020 but put simply they underachieved as a team last year. So the question is: Can they merge their individual talents together in 2020, as they did down the homestretch of the 2018 season, so that the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts?    

Newcomers

Ryan Combe - Midfielder - York, Maine - Northwood School - Played with Black Rock FC Residential Academy, Barca Academy and D.C. United.

Jordan Seaman - Defender - Stow, Ohio -   Stow Monroe Falls HIgh School - Played with the Internationals Development Academy where he was a four-year team captain. 

Hazem Sohby - Midfielder - Cairo, Egypt - American International - A transfer from Ottawa University in Surprise, Arizona where he played in fifty-four contests with forty-eight starts. He socred six goals and contributed eight assists at Ottawa University.

Dyson Clapier - Midfielder - West Point, Utah Syracuse HIgh School - Played for the Portland Timbers Academy. 

Josue Hangi - Goalkeeper - Decatur, Georgia - Clarkston High School - Played for Atlanta United. 

Paul Jones - Defender - Irmo, South Carolina - Dutch Fork High School - Played for South Carolina United. Played for IMG Academy. 

Connor Lee - Midfielder - Hudson, Ohio - Cuyahoga Valley Christian School - Played for Internationals Development Academy

Will Meyer - Goalkeeper - Solon, Ohio - Solon High School - A senior transfer from Louisville where he appeared in four contests in 2018 and nine in 2017. First Team All-Ohio at Solon High School. Played for Cleveland Soccer Academy. 

Nick Scott - Defender - Erie, Pennsylvania - Played for the Internationals Development Academy.  

Jason Shokalook - Forward - Erie, Pennsylvania - Played for the Internationals Soccer Club. An impact goal scorer. 

Damon Williams - Forward - Columbia, South Carolina - Dutch Fork High School -  Played for South Carolina United.  


 

Syracuse Has Gaps To Fill On The Offensive Side Of The Ball. 2020 Transfers Could Make Immediate Impact

Syracuse will be without its top three goals scorers including Ryan Raposo who departed early to enter the professional ranks. Ian McIntyre has reloaded quickly and seamlessly in the past by using transfers to help fill the gaps.  

Departures and Gaps - Forward Ryan Raposo (15g, 7a), a 2019 All-ACC First Team selection, signed a Generation adidas contract with MLS at the conclusion of his sophomore season and was was the fourth overall pick by Vancover FC. Departures due to graduation include forwards Massimo Ferrin (7g, 9a) who was a two-year starter and Severin Soerlie (4g, 4a), midfielder Brian Hawkins, and defenders Nyal Higgins (1g, 1a) who was the number nineteen pick in the MLS SuperDraft, John-Austin Ricks (0g, 2a) and Mickey Watson, and backup goalkeeper Jake Leahy.  

Opportunities for Improvement - Tighten up on the defensive side of the ball. Last year Syracuse allowed a total of thirty-three goals. That is the most goals that the Orange has allowed in a single season in the ten years that Ian McIntyre has been the head coach. You have to go back to the 2009 season to find a Syracuse defense that allowed more goals than that. The Orange scored a total of forty-one goals last year. At first glance a ratio of forty-one goals scored to thirty-three allowed looks pretty good but a deeper dive into the data shows that eleven of Syracuse's goals came in a filler contest against SUNY Morrisville.  Without those eleven goals the Orange would have allowed more goals than they scored last year for the first time since 2011.   

Coach's Recruiting Class Comment - Ian McIntyre stated in regard to the four players who joined the Syracuse program in the spring, "We have added quality, character and important leadership to our squad with the introduction of Matt (McDonnell), Manel (Busquets), Roque (Viegas), and Nathan (Toledo). Each of these talented young men will take great pride in representing our Syracuse program. They will tremendously help our continuous efforts to improve both on and ott the soccer pitch".   

Summary - The challenge of filling a gap due to the early departure of a player to enter the professional ranks has become the norm rather than the excepetion for Ian McIntyre. For the past six seasons Syracuse has had to fill a void due to the early departure of a key player who signed a Generation adidas contract. In the last five cases the player has departed at the conclusion of their sophomore season.

Syracuse will enter the 2020 season with the task of filling the void that exists due to the departure of forward and go-to guy Ryan Raposo who powered the Orange attack in 2019 with fifteen goals. Prior Generation adidas departures were forward Tajon Buchanon, midfielder Mo Adams, defender Miles Robinson, midfielder Julian Buescher, and goalkeeper Alex Bono.  

Syracuse will enter the 2020 season with more than the usual amount of uncertainty on the offensive side of the ball due to the loss of Roposo and forwards Massimo Ferrin (7g, 3a) and Severin Soerlie (4g, 4a). Had Roposo not left early, the picture on the offensive side of the ball would be much different. As a result new playmakers will need to emerge to power the attack as Raposo did last year and Buchanon the year before.  

Sophomore forward Luther Archimede (4g, 1a), senior defender Sondre Norheim (4g, 0a) who adds an additional dimension to the attack out of free kicks, and senior midfielder Simon Triantafillou (2g, 3a) are the top returning goal scorers. Junior midfielder Hilli Goldhar (1g, 6a) is the top returning assists man.

Graduate student foward Matt McDonnell, a transfer from Boston University who scored twenty goals and contributed ten assists, junior midfielder Manel Busquets, a transfer from Duquesne University where he netted eleven goals and contriubted seven assists, and sophomore midfielder Roque Viegas Jr, a transfer from Monroe College who scored fourteen goals with ten assists last year, are among the newcomers that Syracuse has announced to date who could help fill the void on the offensive side of the ball. All of the transfers have solid credentials but how well and how quickly they adjust to the level of competition in the Atlantic Coast Conference remains to be seen.   

Sophomore Amferny Sinclair (1g, 0a) and junior Julio Fulcar (0g, 1a) along with Goldhar and Triantafillou (2g, 3a) are returning midfielders who were starters last year who figure to play prominent roles in 2020. Senior Dylan McDonald and sophomore Noah Singelmann (1g, 0a) join Norheim to give the Orange a solid core of experieced defenders to build upon. Junior goalkeeper Christian Miesch, the starter between the pipes last year with a 1.67 goals against average and five shutouts, returns to anchor the defense.  

McIntyre annually does an excellent job of bringing on board a recruiting class that addresses both immediate and longer term needs. He has leaned heaviliy on transfers at times to fill the gaps that exist and has done an excellent job of merging them in with returning players to create a unified team with a solid work ethic. The result should be another exciting but at this point uncertain season at Syracuse. 

Newcomers

Matt McDonnell - Forward - Smithtown, New York - Smithtown West High School - Graduate student transfer from Boston University where he played in fifty-six games with a total of twenty goals and ten assists. Two-time team captain. Scored seven goals in 2019. 2019 All-Patriot League Second Team selection. 2018 All-Patriot League Selection with a total of six goals despite playing in only five games. 2017 All-Patriot League Third Team selection. Played for Smithtown Arsenal. 

Nathan Toledo - Defender - Frisco, Texas - Lone Star High School - Member of the USSDA FC Dallas U-19 team. Team captain. Best XI Central Conference selection. 

Manel Busquets - Midfielder - Barcelona, Spain - Escola pia caldes de montbui - Junior transfer from Dusquene. 2019 All-Atlantic 10 First Team selection. Scored seven goals and contributed four assists. A-10 All-Rookie Team selection in 2018. Scored four goals with three assists in 2018.

Roque Viegas - Midfielder - Sao Paulo, Brazil - XV de Outubro - Sophomore transfer from Monroe College which won the 2019 NJCAA Division I Championship. Scored fourteen goals and added twelve assists in 2019.  Member of the Region XV All-Region Team. 2019 United Soccer Coaches All-North Region Second Team. 


James Madison Reloading In 2020. Newcomers Will Have The Opportunity To Make An Impact

The Dukes have momentum after claiming their second consecutive CAA championship and berth in the NCAA Tournament last year but they will enter the 2020 season will the challenge of filling some very significant shoes due to graduation. 

Departures and Gaps - Departures due to graduation include forwards Brennan Burton (2g, 3a) who was a 2019 All-CAA Second Team selection and Lewis Long IV (1g, 2a), attacking midfielder Manuel Ferriol (16g, 6a) who was a College Soccer News All-American and the 2019 CAA Player of the Year, defensive midfielder Fernando Casero who was a 2019 All-CAA First Team selection, midfielder Tim Estermann (1g, 1a) and defenders Brandon Clegg (0g, 1a), a 2019 All-CAA Second Team selection, Niclas Mohr (2g, 4a), and Shaun McKenna.  

Opportunity for Improvement - The Dukes margin for error in 2020 may be small. They will have to avoid the costly letdowns that occurred at times last year. ln three of their losses in 2019 and in one of their ties, they uncharacteristically allowed three goals placing themselves in a hole that they were unable to dig out of.

Summary - The cupboard is far from bare at James Madison but there are a lot of unanswered questions heading into the 2020 season due to the loss of a very productive eight member 2019 senior class.

The first and most pressing question is who will replace the offensive firepower that All-American and CAA Player of the Year Manuel Ferriol provided. Ferriol was responsible for sixteen of the thirty-six goals that the Dukes scored last year including six game winners. Redshirt senior forward Carson Jeffris, sophomore forwards Clay Obara (1g, 5a) and Dennis Mensah (4g, 0a) and junior midfielder Tyler Glegg (4g, 2a) are among the most likely suspects to power the attack in 2020. However, more likely than not, it will be offense by committee at JMU in 2020 without a single dominant goal scorer like Ferriol who set a new single season points record for the Dukes last year.

A healthy Jeffris, who scored eight goals and contributed four assists in 2018 but was slowed by injury last year and never got fully untracked, has the potential to be a difference maker. Obara was a 2019 All-CAA Second Team selection and the 2019 Gatorade Virgina Boys Soccer Player of the Year out of Frank W. Cox High School. Mensah saw action in nineteen games last year. Both Obara and Mensah are goal scorers who now have the advantage of a year of experience at JMU under their belts. Clegg, a 2019 Third Team All-CAA selection, is a playmaker who participated in twenty-one contests last year with eight starts.

Redshirt senior Max Poelker who missed most of the 2019 season due to injury is among other returning forwards who look to be in the mix in 2020. Senior Petur Thorsteinsson (2g, 1a) and junior Connor Hester (0g, 1a) look to join Clegg as key members of the midfield. Senior Steve Foss and sophomores Evan Paez (0g, 1a), Sloan Sullivan and Ethan Del Hierro are among other returning linkmen who will likely be in the hunt for a greater role in 2020.

Senior back Thomas Judge (1g, 1a), a 2019 All-CAA First Team selection and two-year starter, and junior back Melker Anshelm (1g, 0a), a 2019 All-CAA Second Team member and two-year starter, return to provide a solid necleus upon which to build the backline. Both are athletic and physical ball winners. Sophomore Prince Loney-Bailey who played in ten contests last year is among other returning backs who figure to be in the mix in 2020.

Redshirt senior TJ Bush, a multi-year All-CAA First Team selection with three-years of starting experinece under his belt, returns in goal to anchor the defense. Bush is among the best shot stoppers in the country and will no doubt play a key role in the degree of success that the Dukes have in 2020. Senior Alex Desatnick who played in two games last year is among other returning netminders. 

James Madison's streak of two consecutive CAA championships and NCAA Tournament berths could be in danger in 2020. The good news is that the departures due to graduation create the opportunitity for others to play a greater role and they, along with Palul Zazenski and his staff, seem to embrace the challenge in front of them. The bottom line is that it is difficult at this point to label JMU as the frontrunner in the CAA but it would also be premature and foolish to count them out.      

Newcomers

Josiah Blanton - Defender - Roswell, Georgia - Roswell HIgh School - Played for Concorde Fire SC. 

Mason Christian - Forward - Fulton, Maryland - McDonough School - Played for Baltimore Armour. 

Nathaniel Corley - Midfielder - Ashburn, Virginia - Played for Virginia Development Academy. 

Jordan McMillen - Defender - Fairfax, Virginia - The Heights School - Played for BRYC Elite Academy. Region I ODP Team. 

Ethan Taylor - Forward - Virginia Beach, Virginia - Kellam High School - Played for Virginia Rush.  All-Tidewater selection. 

Demitri Turner - Midfielder - Lorton, Virginia - South County High School - Played for Braddock Road 02 Elite.  

Alex Krakowiak - Defender - Toronto, Canada - Played for Toronto FC Academy. 


 

Stanford Adds Solid Recruiting Class To Talented Contingent Of Returning Players

Stanford has plenty of talent, experience and depth. They will be very good again in 2020 if everyone stays healthy and they get the kind of improvement expected from the young players who performed well last year.  

Departures and Gaps - Departures due to graduation include two-time All-American center back Tanner Beason (5g, 1a) who was a four-year starter, midfielder Derek Waldeck(4g, 8a) who was a 2018 and 2019 First-Team All-Pac-12 selection and three-year starter, and midfielder Jared Gilbey (0g, 6a) who was a four-year starter and 2018 and 2019 All-Pac-12 Second Team selection. Anytime Stanford has to replace a talented and experienced center back as they do in 2020, the replacement must establish early own that they can handle the physicality. 

Opportunity for Improvement - The Cardinal showed a lot of grit in coming from behind in several games last year but they also placed themselves in a hole and difficult situation at times when they came out flat and allowed their opponent to score early.  

Summary - Redshirt junior Zach Ryan (6g, 2a) and sophomores Ousseni Bouda (5g, 5a) and Gabe Segal (6g, 0a) return up-top to power what should be a potent Cardinal attack in 2020. Ryan is a two-year starter. Bouda was the 2019 All Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. Segal is a dangerous finisher who also had an impressive freshman season. Senior forwards Arda Bulut (2g, 0a) who appeared in twenty-two contests last year and Jack O'Brien who saw action in nine games also figure to be in the mix in 2020.

The departure of Derek Waldeck (4g, 5a), a three-year starter, and Jared Gilbey (0g, 6a), a four-year starter, necessitates some reloading in the midfield heading into the 2020 campaign. A solid contingent of midfielders return including seniors Charlie Wehan (3g, 2a) who has been a starter the past two seasons and Marc Joshua (1g, 0a), juniors Will Richmond (1g, 0a), Ryan Ludwick and Kyle Casey, and sophomore Cam Cilley who now has the benefit of a year of starting experience under his belt.

The biggest question mark heading into 2020 is in the back due to the leadership void that exists due to the the graduation of All-American Tanner Beason. Beason's impact and contribution was evident last year during the eight conference contests in which he was out of the lineup due to injury. Senior Logan Panchot (0g, 8a), a 2019 All-Pac-12 Second Team selection, returns to add stability to the backline along with sophomore Keegan Hughes (0g, 1a) who was a 2019 College Soccer News All-Freshman First Team selection and sophomore Keegan Tingey (0g, 1a). The experience that Hughes and Tingey gained last year should help offset the departure of Beason. Redshirt junior defender Andrew Aprahamian who participated in eleven contests last year is among other returning players who look to be in the hunt for a greater role in 2020.

Redshirt junior All-American Andrew Thomas returns to anchor the Stanford defense in goal. Thomas, an engineering physics major with a 3.94 grade point average, a 0.72 goals against average, and eight shutouts last year is a prime time shot stopper who seems to thrive under pressure. Redshirt sophomore Matt Frank who appeared in three games last year is among several other talented returning netminders.

Stanford was 14-3-5 last year and advanced to the College Cup (Final Four) for the fourth time in the last five years. Their credentials include national championships in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Stanford's trademark under head coach Jeremy Gunn has been solid team defense, an opportunistic offense, and effectiveness through clincial delivery and finishes out of set pieces. It is highly likely that the Cardinal will again excell in each of those areas in 2020.

Last year freshmen played a key role early on and continuted to improve as the season progressed. They quickly adjusted to the college game and to Stanford's style of play which can not always be counted upon. As a result, chances are pretty good that the current sophomores will follow up with the bump in performance that usually occurs between freshmen and sophomore years.

If everyone who is expected to return does so and remains healthy there will be no shortage of experienced talent at Stanford in 2020. In addition the recruiting class should add depth. The bottom line is that a talented group of finishers return to bolster Stanford's offensive arsenal, and enough size and experience returns in the back to enable the Cardinal to continue to play an aggressive, disciplined and sufficating style of defense. There is a lot to like about Stanford in 2020. Like every team, a lot of things have to fall into place but if they do Stanford has a good chance of winning the Pac-12 title and once again playing their way into the College Cup.  

Newcomers

Noah Adnan - Defender - Gaithersburg, Maryland - Played for Bethesda SC. 

Ryan Dunn - Defender - Huntersville, North Carolina - Played for Charlotte Independence SC. 

Connor Evans - Midfielder - Portland, Oregon - Played for Portland Timbers Academy. 

Eliot Jones - Goalkeeper - New Britan, Connecticut - Played for New England Revolution.  U.S. Youth National Team experience. United Soccer Coaches Youth Boys All-Central Region Team selection. 

Conner Maurer - Midfielder - Harrison, New Jersey - General Douglas MacArthur High School - Played for New York Red Bulls 

Layton Purchase - Midfielder - Denver, Colorado - Kent Denver High School - Played for Real Colorado. 


 

North Carolina Will Add A Talented Recruiting Class. Tar Heels Seek To Rebound In 2020

North Carolina will seek to rebound from a 7-7-4 season in which they were absent from the NCAA Tournament field for the first time in the nine seasons that Carlos Somoano, the active leader in winning percentage among Division I head coaches, has been at the helm of the program. It was an unexpected turn of events for a program that has been in the tourney field for nineteen out of the last twenty-one years and consistently ranked among the top ten teams in the country. 

Departures and Gaps - Losses due to graduation include midfielders Mauricio Pineda (5g, 2a) a 2018 and 2019 All-ACC First Team member and four-year starter, Jack Skahan (3g, 5a) a 2019 All-ACC selection and three-year starter, and Jeremy Kelly (0g, 4a) a 2019 All-ACC selection and three-year starter, and forward Jelani Peters (7g, 2a) who was a three-year starter. 

Opportunity for Improvement - The Tar Heels had trouble closing out games. Their 3-2 loss at home to Duke in which they were up 2-0 and 4-3 loss to Syracuse in which the Orange scored three unanswered goals were examples.  North Carolina only allowed more that one goal in one contest in 2018 (a 2-1 loss to James Madison in the NCAA Tournament). In 2019 they allowed opponents to score two goals or more in five contests. They lost four of those contests and tied one.

Summary - Things have been a little surreal recently in Chapel Hill. Who would have thought that the soccer team under Carlos Somoano and the basketball team under Roy Williams would have down years. On the other hand, the Tar Heel football squad under the direction of new head coach Mack Brown improved from 2-9-0 in 2018 to a respectable 7-6-0 in 2019 with a season ending momentum building win in a bowl game.  The goods news if you are among the Tar Heel faithful is that both the UNC soccer program under Somoano and the basketball team under Williams are among the premier programs in the country with winning cultures so the likelyhood that they will not bounce back is pretty slim. .

The turning point in North Carolina's season last year came in their 4-3 loss to Syracuse during regular season play when they allowed the Orange to score three unaswered goals in the last twenty minutes of play. The Tar Heels entered that contest with a 7-2-2 overall record and 3-1-1 mark in ACC play. They were nationally ranked and looked to be a sure bet for a berth in the NCAA Tournament. However, from that point forward they were 0-5-2 including a 1-1 tie with Campbell and a 1-0 loss to Appalachian State in non-conference play to close out the year with a 7-7-4 oveall record and  3-5-0 mark in ACC play. It was an unexpected and frustrating turn of events for a UNC team that has been a staple in the NCAA Tournament and entered the 2019 campaign as the preseason favortie to win the ACC title. The Tar Heels affirmed the old adage that the margin for error in college soccer, particularly in Atlantic Coast Conference play, is very slim and that things can change signficantly not only between but within seasons. 

The Tar Heels will enter the 2020 season without several key pieces including three of their top goal scorers from the 2019 team due to graduation and will have to replace several experienced playmakers but there is no need for panic in Chapel Hill. A solid, although less experienced, necleus returns and Somoano, who is 128-37-26 as the UNC head coach, will bring on board an impressive recruiting class that will create the kind of competition for jobs that makes everyone better.  Look for North Carolina to regain the balance and confidence needed for their possession oriented offense to apply the pressure required to create scoring opportunities while maintaining the organization and stability needed on the defensive side of the ball. A case could be made that the Tar Heel defense has been so good in the past that it covered up any problems on the offensive side of the ball, but that luxary didn't exist down the homestretch last year. 

Seniors Alex Rose (7g, 2a) and Giovanni Montesdeoca return to power the Tar Heel attack up-top. Rose was UNC's leading goal scorer last year and Montesdeoca who missed the 2019 season due to injury was their leading goal scorer in 2018. The loss of Montesdeoca last year took a big bite out of the Tar Hell attack. The productivity of Rose and and a now healthy Montesdeoca and the emergence of a few additional playmakers to add balance to the attack look to be the X-Factors in the Tar Heel offense in 2020. Senior Santiago Herrera (3g, 0a) who transferred in last year from UCLA and sophomore Jonathan Jimenez (2g, 0a) are among other returning forwards who are very capable finishers. 

The return of junior Lucas del Rosario (0g, 1a) who missed a large portion of the 2019 season due to injury is a big plus. Juniors Milo Garvanian (0g, 1a) and Antonio Lopez (1g, 1a) and sophomores Sebastian Berhalter and Cameron Fisher (1g, 0a) also return to give North Carolina a solid contingent of returning midfielders.

The backline and play in goal should be team strengths in 2020 based on the level of experience returning. Seniors Mark Salas and Matt Constant and sophomore Julian Hinojosa are among key returning backs who now have the benefit of a year of playing together. Junior Alec Smir who was the starter in goal last year with a 1.06 goals against average returns to anchor the Tar Heel defense. 

There is reason to be cautiously optimistic heading into the 2020 season with the duo of Rose and Montesdeoca providing punch to the offense and a solid contingent of experienced defenders returning. The midfield has the potential to be very good but there could be a learning curve due to the gaps that must be filled due to graduation. The newcomers may strengthen the midfield. All things considered, the chances are pretty good that UNC will get back on track in 2020. But for that to occur the things that went wrong on both sides of the ball down the homestretch last year will have to be addressed and go right in 2020. Specifically the defense must tighten up and play like the talented, experienced group that it is, and the offense will need to do a better job of creating and finishing scoring opportunities.   

Newcomers

Axel Alejandre - Defender - Chicago, Illinois -Played for FC United. Played for U.S. U-17 and U-15 National Teams. 

Yaya Bakayoko - Midfielder - New York, New York - Martin Luther King - Played for Manhattan S.C. High School All-American.  

Sammed Bawa - Midfielder - Ashaiman, Ghana - The Taft School - High School All-American. A playmaker. Right to Dream Academy. . 

Akelm Clarke - Forward - Windsor, Connecticut - Loomis Chaffe School - Played for Black Rock FC

Garrett Kessel - Midfielder - Oak Ridge, North Carolina -  Northeast Guilford HIgh School - Played for North Carolina Fusion

Jonathan Sinclair - Midfielder - New York - Berkshire School - Played for F.A. Euro. Named the New England Soccer Journal Prep School Midfielder of the Year. 

Riley Thomas - Defender - Canton, Georgia - Played for United Futbol Academy. U.S. Soccer Academy East Best XI.  

Ahamd Al-Qaq - Midfielder - Oak Ridge, North Carolina - Northwest Guilford High School - Played for North Carolina Fusion. 

Fillipo Zattarin - Defender - Padua, Italy - P. Scalcerle - Senior transfer from St. Mary's College - Named the 2019 WCC Defender of the Year. Three-year starter at St. Mary's. All-WCC First Team selection in 2019. All-WCC Second Team selection in 2018. 


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