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San Diego State 2015 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School – San Diego State University
Conference – Pac-12
Coach – Lev Kirshner – (16th Season)
Background – The Aztecs were 7-12-0 overall in 2014 with a 1-9-0 mark in conference play. Their seven wins included signature victories over Clemson, Denver, and Oregon State.  They were 6-11-2 in 2013 and 7-9-3 in 2012. SDSU had ten win seasons in 2010 and 2011 and were nationally ranked for a period of time during each of those years. San Diego State is a program that is capable of ten win seasons but they have fallen short of that mark for the past three seasons. The Aztecs last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2005 and 2006. 
Offense – Redshirt senior forward Rene Reyes (2g, 0a), who led the Aztecs in scoring in the spring season is among the returning players who Coach Kirshner will likely look to for offensvie punch in 2015. Junior Casey Macias (1g, 0a) and sophomore Ozzie Ramos are among returning midfielders who were starters last year who should play key roles again in 2015. Redshirt junior Travis Nicklaw (1g, 0a), sophomores Brady Blackwell (1g, 0a) and Thom Van den Berg (1g, 0a) and senior Mark Revell (0g, 1a) are among other returning midfielders who will challenge for playing time. Luke Ackerman, Dallin Cutler, Pablo Pelaez, Simon Said and Edin Sinanovic are among the new recruits with the potential to push for minutes in the midfield from the get-go. 
Defense – The Aztecs will be without the services of back Evyn Hewett in 2015 due to graduation. Hewett, a team captain and four-year starter, played every minute of every game last year and will be missed. Regardless, a solid core of expereineced defenders are slated to return to a backline that should be a team strength in 2015. Redshirt sophomore Julio Alarcon whose career to date has been hampered by injury looks to be a starter at center back if healthy. Junior Matt Callahan, a lockdown defender with a great work ethic, and junior Sergio Enriquez (0g, 2a) who became a starter during the second half of the 2014 season also look to be starters. Senior Casey Phillips (0g, 1a) who was a starter last year also figures to be in the mix again in 2015. Kyle Adams and Mac Clarke are among the newcomers who could contend for playing time in the back. The competition for the starting goalkeeper role should be fierce. Redshirt sophomore Adam Allmaras who was the starter last year returns as does now healthy redshirt junior Keenan Townsend who looked to be the starter last year before he was sidelined with an ACL injury and sophomore Nedin Tucakovic whose resume includes the Residency Program for the U.S. U-17 National Team.   

Newcomers – Three and a Half Star Recruiting Class  

Coach Kirshner stated, "This is a very exciting class (could be one of the best} that will most certainly close the gap on our Pac-12 competition. This group not only brings in highly talented and sought after players, but a maturity and experenece that our team desperately lacked last year."

Luke Ackermann – Midfielder – Costa Mesa, California – Calvary Chapel High School – First Team All-Pac West in 2014 out of Azusa Pacific. 2014 NSCAA All-West Second All-West. Scored eleven goals and contributed three assists at Azusa Pacific in the last two seasons. Played for West Coast FC. 

Kyle Adams – Defender – Auckland, New Zeland – Auckland Grammar School – Member of the New Zeland U-20 and U-17 National Team Pool. Played for New Zealand Ole Academy. 

Angelo Basso – Forward – Temecula, California – Chaparral High School – Played club for TVSA Hawks. Two-time All-Southwestern League selection.  

Mac Clarke – Defender – Puyalup, Washington – Emerald Ridge High School – Played for U-18 Seattle Sounders Academy.

Dallin Cutler – Midfielder – San Diego, California – Rancho Bernardo High School – Played for La Jola Nomads.

Pablo Pelaez – Midfielder – San Diego, California – Mt. Everest Academy – Played for San Diego Surf. Member U-16, U-17 and U-18 National Team. NSCAA Youth All-American. Ranked by CSN as the number 26 player in the class of 2015. 

Simon Said – Midfielder – Stockholm, Sweden – OstraReals Gymna – Transfer from Rider. Member U-16 Swedish National Team Pool. 

Edin Sinanovic – Midfielder – Norrkoping, Sweeden – John Bauer High School – Played club for IFK Norrkoping.

Winston Sorhaltz – Forward – Lindon, Utah – Pleasant Grove High School – Played club for Sparta United. Played for 2014 BYU PDL Team. First Team All-State selection. Scored forty-two career goals in high school. 

Max Watkin – Goalkeeper – Malibu, California – Malibu High School – Played for Santa Monica United. First Team All-Tri Valley League. Played for L.A. Galaxy U-16 Team.

Joroen Meefout – Forward – Houten, Netherlands – Sophomore transfer from the Univeristy of Maryland. Played in eighteen games in 2014 for Maryland. Played for PSV Eindoven, Vitesse Arnmen and FC Den Bosh.  

Prognosis for 2015 – Coach K will enter the 2015 season with a roster that includes some very talented players but with some gaps to plug in order for the Aztecs to move upward in the very competitive Pac-12 conference.  He also faces the always very real challenge of merging together the individual talents of his players into a unified team. That includes effectively integrating his ten member recruiting class in with returning players while creating a team oriented and focused culture. Offensive prodctivity is a big question mark heading into the 2015 campaign. Returning players were responsible for only nine of the twenty-two goals SDSU placed in the back of the net last year. Is there a go-to guy? Forward Rene Reyes who was only able to particpate in the last eight games of the 2014 season during which time he scored twice may solve this concern. The Aztecs clearly need and would benefit from breakout seasons on the offensive side of the ball from several players.  A solid group of midfiedlers return supplemented by a recruiting class that includes several newcomers like highly regarded Pablo Pelaez who could push for a starting job out of the the gate.  The backline will be experienced which looks to be a big plus and there are several very capable candidates for the starting spot between the pipes including the incumbent Adam Allmaras who played every minute between the pipes last year. The Aztecs were 1-9-0 in Pac-12 play last year and struggled when playing on the road with a 0-7-0 overall record. Improvement is required in both of those statistics in order for SDSU to have a chance at a ten or more win season in 2015. The Aztecs are always a sleeper team in the Pac-12 with the ability to pull off the upset,  SDSU could surprise but all things considered they don't look ready to break out and move to the top half of the conference standings in 2015 but they won't be a pushover either.  All the teams in the Pac-12 are loaded with talented individual players and are well coached. That means it is going to take a total team effort and  breakout seasons from several of the players in order in order for San Diego State to up its win total in 2015.    

Posted in 2015 Team Reviews

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