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Maryland Returns Solid Necleus In 2023 But Has Some Big Shoes To Fill.

Terps Return Six Starters From The 2022 Team That Won The Big Ten Regular Season Title and Earned The Programs 22nd Berth In The NCAA Tournament

Coach – Sasho Cirovski – 31st season
Conference – Big Ten
2022 Record – 11-4-5 overall, 4-0-4 Big Ten
2022 National Ranking – 17 United Soccer Coaches, 20 College Soccer News
Five Year Win Record
2018 – 13
2019 – 11
2020 – 4
2021 – 12
2022 – 11
Key Departures
Joshua Bolma – Forward (2g, 8a) – All-Big Ten First Team 2021 and 2022. Scored a total of 6 goals and contributed 12 assists during the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

Nick Richardson – Defender (3g, 8a) – College Soccer News and United Soccer Coaches 2022 All-American. Four year starter. All-Big Ten First Team 2022. Team Captain.

Malcolm Johnson – Midfielder (6g, 8a) – All-Big Ten 2022 First Team. Four year starter. 2022 United Soccer Coaches All-Region Second Team. Team Captain.

Chris Rindov – Center Back (2g, 1a) – All-Big Ten First Team 2022. Three year starter. Team Captain.

Niklas Neumann – Goalkeeper – All-Big Ten Second Team 2021 and 2022. Three year starter. Missed all but three games of 2020 season due to injury.
2023 Outlook – Offensive productivity is a potential concern due to the fact that the Terps will be without five of their top goals scorers from the 2022 team including players who scored 21 of their 39 goals last year. The fate of the offense could hinge on the productivity of senior forward Stefan Copetti (6g, 3a) and sophomore forward Colin Griffith (3g, 1a). Copetti was Maryland’s second leading goal scorer last year after transferring in from Marist. Griffith (3g, 1a) appeared in 18 games last year with six starts.

The departure of midfielders Malcolm Johnson (6g, 8a) and Griffin Dillon (3g, 4a) creates the opportunity as well as the need for others to assume a greater role in the midfield. Graduate Student Justin Harris (2g, 0a), redshirt junior Joe Suchecki (1g, 0a) and sophomore Albi Ndrenika (2g, 0a) who missed a large portion of the 2022 season due to injury are among returning midfielders who will be in the mix in 2023.

The Terp defense will have a different look in 2023 without the experience and leadership that right back Nick Richardson and left center back Chris Rindov provided. However a solid nucleus of defenders are slated to return including senior Alex Nitzl (0g, 4a), a three-year starter, junior William Kulvik (2g, 0a), a two-year starter, sophomore Luca Costabile, a unanimous 2022 Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection who started 18 games, and senior Kento Abe. The recruiting class also includes several defenders who should be in the hunt for minutes.

Senior Jamie Lowell who started six games with a 1.00 goals against average last year is a very capable netminder and the likely candidate to assume the starting role in goal that exists due to the departure of Niklas Neumann who was a three-year starter and All-Big Ten Second Team selection in 2019 and 2021.

Maryland is among the premier programs in the country as reflected in 22 straight berths in the NCAA Tournament under Cirovski, three national championships, and 16 conference titles including the 2022 Big Ten regular season title.

The cupboard is never bare in College Park and rival coaches will tell you that the Teprs are always a dangerous opponent to face particularly at Ludwig Field. Regardless, it is reasonable to conclude that Maryland will face a learning curve in 2023 due to the loss of four talented and experienced Big Ten First Team selections (Bolma, Richardson, Johnson and Rindov) and a three-year starter in goal (Neumann).

The Terps will be talented in 2023 with athleticism across the board and their their work ethic and team chemistry under Cirovski will again be a big plus yet question marks exist due to inexperience. Conventional wisdom says Maryland will again be competitive. Just how competitive in terms of standing in the highly competitive Big Ten Conference where the margin for error is slim and on the national scene depends on the emergence of a balanced attack that will consistently place opponents under pressure and the ability of the defense to mature quickly. Solid team defense is an essential ingredient in Maryland’s ability to aggressively attack and push numbers forward.

Senior leadership and the ability of a sophomore class that includes forward Max Riley (1g, 0a), midfielder Albi Ndrenika and back Luca Costabile among others to play a greater role are also also among critical success factors.
Newcomers – Sasho Cirovski stated, “I am thrilled to welcome these nine young men to our program. They bring the right combination of skill level and mentality that we look for in all of our players. The attributes they bring will mesh well with the talented group we have returning. I can’t wait for Terp fans to see them play at Ludwig Field in the fall.”

Jace Clark – Defender – Baltimore, Maryland – Played for D.C. United Academy and Loudoun United. Made 14 appearances for Loudoun in the USL Championship. Played for DC United’s youth sides prior to signing a development contract with Loudoun, who serves as D.C. United’s reserve team. A ball winner with the technical skills to push forward to contribute to the attack.

Cameron Gerber – Midfielder – Boulder, Colorado – Boulder High School – Played for Boulder County United scoring 22 goals with 19 assists in 2021-2022. Played for Boulder High School scoring 33 goals and contributing 23 assists over three seasons. High School All-American. Two-time First Team All-State selection. Front Range League Player of the Year. Three-year captain. Versatile player with good touch on the ball.

Jack McDaid – Midfielder – Havertown, Pennsylvania – The Shipley School – Played for FC Delco. Played for the Shipley School scoring 32 goals with 24 assists. 2022 High School All-American. All-State selection. Great work ethic and vision.

Joe McDaid – Defender – Havertown, Pennsylvania – The Shipley School – Played for FC Delco Played for the Shipley School. 2022 High School All-American. All-American game East Team MVP. Solid and soccer savvy athlete with a great work ethic.

Tyler Prebenda – Defender – Orlando, Florida – Played for the Orlando City Academy. Played with Orland City B in MLS Next Pro making five appearances. Trained with Orlando City’s first team. Enrolled in the Spring. Excellent technical skills.

Kenny Quist-Therson – Midfielder – Ellicott City, Maryland – Howard High School – Played for the Baltimore Armour. Team captain for three seasons. Scored seven goals and contributed six assists during his U17 season. 2022 MLS Next Fest Player to Watch. Great touch on the ball and work rate. Impressive box-to-box player.

Henrik Sakshaug – Midfielder – San Antonio, Texas – Played for San Antonio FC scoring 13 goals with six assists last season. Played for the first-team on an Academy Contract. 2022 MLS Next Flex West Team All-Star. A playmaker with the stamina and mentality to cover a lot of ground as a box to box midfielder.

Luke Van Heukelum – Forward – Elmhurst, Illinois – Played for Sockers FC Chicago. Multi-year team captain. 2022 United Soccer Coaches All-American. U17 MLS Next All-Star Team in 2021. 2012 MLS Next U16 Golden Boot Winner. Capelli Cup USA All-Star Team in 2021 and 2022. A finisher who is tough to contain with the ball at his feet in the attacking third.

Saxon Walcott – Goalkeeper – Bethesda, Maryland – Played for D.C. United Academy. Team captain. Joined team in the spring. Soccer savvy shot stopper. Solid athletic ability.

Picture from Maryland Athletics

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Posted in 2023 Team Reviews

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