|School – Michigan|
|Conference – Big Ten|
|Coach – Chaka Daley (3rd Season)|
Background – The Wolverines didn’t make the leap forward Chaka Daley would have liked in his second year at the helm last fall, but they didn’t take a step backwards either. And considering the dismal 5-14-1 season they experiencedin 2011 following 2010’s Big 10 title and College Cup appearance, a little stability isn’t the worst thing in the world. After going 11-10-1 in Daley’s debut campaign, Michigan posted an 8-7-3 mark in 2013 and finished fourth in the conference. There were certainly moments to build on, including victories over the likes of Indiana and Creighton. But there were also disappointing draws against non-tournament teams Bowling Green and Oakland. The team struggled out of the gate with a 2-3-3 record but then reeled off wins in five of its next six games to set up a crucial showdown with nationally ranked Akron late in the regular season. The Zips prevailed in that contest, however, and Michigan lost two of its next three to close the campaign on a sour note. A lack of scoring punch was the main culprit for the Wolverines in 2013, as they were shutout five times and scored just one goal on eight other occasions. Individually, Tyler Arnone earned Big Ten Midfielder of the Year honors, while defenders Rylee Woods and Lars Eckenrode were Big Ten All-Freshman team picks.
Offense – Six of the team’s top eight scorers return from a year ago, led by junior James Murphy (4g, 3a). Murphy played predominantly forward a year ago but could see time as an attacking midfielder this fall. Senior T.J. VanSlooten (4g, 1a) returns and can play both forward and midfield as well. Sophomore Yamann Sahlool (2g, 2a) and freshman Ahinga Selemani will fight for minutes at forward. There are high hopes for Selemani, who joins Michigan as CSN’s No. 3 recruit. An Ann Arbor native, Selemani scored 14 goals last season for the Crew Soccer Academy Wolves and recently represented the U.S. at the U-18 level. In the midfield, Arnone (2g, 5a) will continue to run the show coming off an All-Big Ten first team season. Senior Marcos Ugarte (1g, 2a) will join Arnone in the midfield, and look for redshirt freshman Tyler Anderson to be a factor as well. In wide positions, junior Colin McAtee (1g, 4a) should see plenty of minutes along with freshman Nate Kohl and junior transfer William Mellors-Blair. Both Kohl (CSN’s No. 23 recruit) and Mellors-Blair (former Manchester United youth academy player) could be impact players.
Defense – After conceding 23 times in 18 games last year, Daley’s hope is that his defense allows less than a goal per game this season. Woods and Eckenrode return after picking up Big Ten All-Freshman team honors a year ago. Woods has the inside track for the left back spot, while Eckenrode will compete with senior Nick Lewin, sophomore Andre Morris and freshman Billy Stevens for the center back spots. Stevens, a New York Red Bulls academy product, arrives in Ann Arbor as CSN’s No. 40 recruit. Morris and McAtee are in the mix at right back. Three-year starter Adam Grinwis returns in goal but will face stiff competition from freshman Evan Louro. CSN’s No.10 recruit, Louro is another NYRB academy product who has represented the U.S. internationally on several occasions and was recently called into camp with the U-20s.
Newcomers – Five Star Recruiting Class
Coach Daley stated: “We feel that the members of this class can immediately contribute to and complement a solid returning group. From top to bottom, this class fills the needs for a group that has the potential to compete at the highest level of college soccer.”
Jacob Duska – Midfielder – Erie, Pa. – Attended Cathedral Prep and scored two goals for the Internationals Soccer Academy team during the 2013-14 season.
Tristan Jacob – Midfielder – Ann Arbor, Mich. –Scored five goals in 43 games for CSA Wolves Academy team over past two seasons. All-State second-team pick and conference leader in goals and assists as a sophomore at Pioneer High. Ranked the No. 92 player in the Class of 2014 by College Soccer News.
Nate Kohl –Forward/Midfielder– Hilliard, Ohio – Member of U.S. Soccer Residency Program in 2012-13. Has represented the U.S. at the U-17 level.Ranked the No. 23 player in the Class of 2014 by College Soccer News.
Hans Lee – Midfielder – Seoul, South Korea – Scored twice and recorded eight assists in 17 matches as a junior at Seoul Foreign School. Notched a goal and five assists as a sophomore.
Evan Louro – Goalkeeper – Holmdel, N.J. – Member of U.S. Soccer Residency Program from 2011-13. Named to U.S. roster for 2013 U-17 CONCACAF Championships.Called into May camp with U.S. U-20 team. Won 2012 U-15/16 championship with the New York Red Bulls academy team. Ranked the No. 10 player in the Class of 2014 by College Soccer News.
William Mellors-Blair – Midfielder – Nottingham, England – Transfer from Georgia State. Recorded a goal and an assist in seven games as a sophomore. Posted three goals and six assists as a freshman. Trained with Manchester United youth academy team from ages 12-15.
Ahinga Selemani – Forward – Ann Arbor, Mich. – Member of U.S. Soccer Residency Program in 2012-13. Named to U.S. roster for 2014 U-18 Copa del Atlantico. Scored 14 goals in 20 games for CSA Wolves academy team in 2013-14. Ranked the No. 3 player in the Class of 2014 by College Soccer News.
Billy Stevens – Defender– New Hyde Park, N.Y. – Has represented the U.S. at the U-14 and U-15 level. Won 2012 U-15/16 championship with the New York Red Bulls academy team. Ranked the No. 40 player in the Class of 2014 by College Soccer News.
Prognosis for 2014 – With numerous starters returning and the addition of CSN’s No. 2 recruiting class, the potential is there for Michigan to challenge for a Big 10 title and a trip to the College Cup. Competition for places will be rampant in the preseason, with four freshmen and a transfer in the mix for starting roles – and that’s exactly the atmosphere Daley was hoping create when he arrived in Ann Arbor. The coach thought his team’s intensity level was inconsistent at times last season, and he hopes a more intense practice environment will carry over on game day. The Wolverines’ fate will likely hinge on their ability to be more dangerous in attack, but if a few consistent scoring threats emerge they could find themselves playing well into December.