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Marshall Returns Solid Core But Will Need Positive Contribution From Newcomers To Offset Loss Of Several Talented And Experienced Players.

Thundering Herd Will Welcome A 14 Member REcruiting Class That Includes Players From Ten Different Countries.

Coach – Chris Grassie – 7th season
Conference – Sun Belt Conference
2022 Record – 11-4-4 overall, 4-1-3 in conference
2022 National Ranking – Number 12 United Soccer Coaches, Number 12 College Soccer News
Five Year Win Total
2022- 11
2021- 11
2020 – 13
2019 – 16
2018 – 8
Key Departures

Oliver Semmie – Goalkeeper – Three-year starter in goal after transferring in from Monroe College in 2020. 2022 Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference and Second Team All-Southeast Region. Holds the program record at Marshall for 25 career shutouts. 2021 All-CUSA Second Team. 2020 CUSA Goalkeeper of the Year.

Milo Yosef – Forward – 2022 United Soccer Coaches and College Soccer News All-American. 2022 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year. Scored eight goals in 2022. 2012 All CUSA First Team selection. 2020 All-CUSA Second Team selection. 2019 All-CUSA First Team selection. 27 career goals and eight career assists.

Joao Souza – Midfielder – A three-year starter. Played in 74 contests with 50 starts. Scored seven goals with two assists in 2022 season. Had 11 career goals with 10 career assists.

Collin Mocyunas – Defender – A five-year starter who appeared in a total of 92 games with 74 starts. A 2020 All-CUSA Second Team selection. A key factor on the defensive side of the ball.

Vinicius Fernandes – Midfielder – A five year starter and key playmaker. Appeared in a total of 89 games with 75 starts over five seasons with 15 career goals and 19 career assists. A 2022 All-Sun Belt Conference First Team selection. A 2021 All-CUSA Second Team member. A 2018 All-CUSA Third Team and All-Freshman Team selection.

Ibrahima Diop – Forward – Transferred to Marshall after three seasons at UConn. Played in 17 games with 4 starts in 2021. Appeared in 16 contests with 1 start in 2022. Scored two goals and contributed five assists during two seasons at Marshall.

Gabriel Alves – Defender – A three-year starter at left back who appeared in a total of 52 games with 51 starts with two career goals and three career assists. A 2022 All-Sun Belt Conference First Team selection.
2023 Outlook

There is a lot to like about Marshall heading into the 2023 season despite the void that exists due to the loss of several key contributors. A solid nucleus of players returns upon which to build supplemented by the addition of a 14 member recruiting class that leans heavily upon players with international experience. The class which includes players from ten different countries has the potential to add value across the board.

The unknown comes in wondering whether or not the returning players and the newcomers can match the level of talent that has departed the building over the past few seasons. Chris Grassie has indicated that the 2023 team is the deepest team in terms of quality that that he has ever coached. Grassie is not the kind of guy who makes statements that he doesn’t really believe. Nonetheless, that is a pretty bold statement for a program that has had had the level of talent and success that Marshall has had in the recent past.

The Thundering Herd will have a lot of different lineup options with the potential for a deep rotation which is a plus but the task of sorting out the most productive lineup has the potential to be a lot more challenging and therefore potentially problematic for Grassie and his staff than in the past due to the departures and the addition of a super sized recruiting class. Marshall plays a possession and patience oriented brand of soccer that requires that everyone be on the same page. They don’t make many mistakes which is among the reasons that the Thundering Herd is a difficult opponent to face. Much will hinge on the ability of the staff to breed the positive team chemistry and buy in to their system of play that has been a trademark of the program under Grassie.

The fact that ten of the newcomers joined the program in the spring and the program’s ten-day trip to Brazil in June is a big plus in terms of training, team building, merging the newcomers in with the returning players, and settling into a system of play. It is also a plus that they host five of their first six contests in 2023.

Sophomore Matthew Bell (10g, 4a), the 2022 Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year, returns to power the attack up top. Bell is a very dangerous goal scorer who now has the additional advantage of a year of starting experience under his belt. Graduate Student Adam Aoumaich (2g, 9a), the 2022 Sun Belt Conference Newcomer of the Year, also returns. Aoumaich is a playmaker with the ability to make good things happen. Graduate Student forward Alexander Adjetey (0g, 2a) has the quickness to add yet another dangerous dimension to the attack. Junior Agustin Iusem (1g, 0a) who appeared in ten games last year is among other returning forwards who will be in the hunt for a greater role in 2023. Junior forward Alvaro Garcia-Pascual, who transferred in from Coastal Carolina where he scored ten goals last year, is among the members of the recruiting class with the potential to immediately add more punch to the attack.

Sophomore Ryan Holmes (2g, 1a) who was a starter last year returns in the midfield with the advantage of a very productive freshman season under his belt. Senior Taimu Okiyoshi (2g, 1a), a starrer last year after transferring in from Salt Lake Community College where he was an NJCAA All-American, returns to anchor and set the pace in the midfield.
Sophomore Alex Stjerngaard who transfers in from Quinnipiac where he was the MAAC Rookie of the Year with a total of 13 assists and junior Aymane Sordo who is a transfer from Gardner Webb where he scored five goals and contributed seven assists are among several members of the recruiting class who will be in the hunt for playing time in the midfield.

Senior Morris Duggan (1g, 0a), junior Mohammed Seidu (1g, 0a), redshirt junior Adam Lubell (0g, 2a) and junior Alex Bamford are among returning backs who provide a solid foundation upon which to build. The departure of Oliver Semmle who consistently came up with big stops in goal during a very productive tenure in Huntington leaves a big void to fill between the pipes. Transfer Gabriel Perrotta, an accomplished and experienced four-year starter and four-time All-CAA selection at UNCW, looks to be among the leading contenders to assume the vacant role in goal.

The bottom line is that if everything falls into place the Thundering Herd will be an extremely difficult opponent to top in 2023.
Newcomers – Chris Grassie stated, “Every coach in the country will tell you that they are excited about their incoming classes, and in my experience, none of them are lying to you. That is one of the great things about coaching college athletics. Every class offers an unknowable capacity for achievement. Every class we bring in offers us the potential to be better than we were before.” Grassie added, “Having prefaced my excitement about this group of players, I can tell you that not only am I excited about this group, but I also place a heavy weight of expectation on them.”

Braian Amaro – Center Back – Sao Paulo, Brazil – Captain of Red Bull Bragantino U23 and a member of the Brazil U20 National Team.

Ilias Aoumaich – Winger – Paris, France – Played for Benfica.

Takahiro Fujita – Center Back – Japan – Played for Cerezo Osaka U18.

Theo Godard – Center Midfielder/Left Back – Dijon, France – Arcades High School – Sophomore transfer from Gardner Webb where he played in 13 games with 12 starts in 2022.

Alvaro Garcia Pascual – Forward – Benalmadena, Malaga, Spain – Northwood School – Junior transfer from Coastal Carolin where he was a 2022 All-Sun Belt Conference First Team selection with 10 goals and one assist. A 2021 All-CUSA Second Team selection in 2021 with six goals and two assists.

Gabriel Perrotta – Goalkeeper – Asuncion Paraguay – Colegio Internacional – A four-year starter in goal at UNCW. A 2022 All-CAA First Team selection. An All-CAA Second Team selection in 2021, 2020 and 2019.

Rai Pinto – Right-Wing Back – Porto, Portugal – Played for FC Porto U19 and Famalicao U23. Member of Portugal Youth National Team.

Joao Roberto – Left-Wing Back – Brazil – Played for Atletico de Madrid, Flamengo U20. Spent a year training with Atletico Madrid first team.

Dan Rose – Goalkeeper – Leeds, UK – Manchester Grammer – Played for Schalke 04 II. Represented Ireland at the U16, U17, U19 and U21 levels.

Felipe Santos – Defensive Midfielder/Defender – Brazil – Played for Marilia Atletico Club. SP U20.

Filipe Short – Winger – Rio De Janeiro, Brazil – Colegio Vital Brasil – Played for Nova Iguacu U20. Played for Benfica’s Youth Academy U16.

Aymane Sordo – Attacking Midfielder – Casablanca, Morocco – Lycee Lyautey HIgh School – Junior transfer from Gardner Webb where he played in 16 games with 15 starts in 2022 with five goals and seven assists. Played in 15 games with two starts in 2021 with two goals and one assist.

Alex Stjernegaard – Center Midfielder – Rungsted Kyst, Denmark – Bagsvaerd Kostskole og Gymnasium – Sophomore transfer from Quinnipiac where he was named the 2022 MAAC Rookie of the Year and a 2022 United Soccer Coaches All-Atlantic Team member. Scored four goals and contributed 13 assists at Quinnipiac during 2022 season.

Paul Weincierz – Goalkeeper – Played for JfV Lubeck U19.
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Posted in 2023 Team Reviews

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