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South Florida Motivated To Build On The Success They Had During The Later Part Of The 2022 Season

Bulls Return A Solid Core Supplementd By A Recruiting Class That Includes Several Transfers With The Potential To Make An Immediate Impact

Coach – Bob Butehorn – 7th season
Conference – American Athletic Conference
2022 Record – 9-7-4 overall, 5-1-3 conference
2022 National Ranking – College Soccer News – Received Votes in 2022 season ending poll
Five Year Win Trend
2018 – 7
2019 – 11
2020 – 4
2021 – 6
2022 – 9
Key Departures

Jackson Weyman – Goalkeeper – Started all 20 games in 2022 with a 1.50 goals against average and four shutouts. Played in one contest in 2021. Transferred to South Florida after playing a Marquette in 2019 and 2020.

Salvatore Mazzaferro – Defender – Four-year starter. AAC All-Rookie Team in 2019. All-AAC Second Team selection in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Played in and started 59 games during four seasons at USF. United Soccer Coaches All-East Region Third Team honoree in 2022. A four-year stalwart on the defensive side of the ball for the Bulls.

Gabrielle Privitera – Midfielder – Played in 19 games with 13 starts in 2022. Played in six games with six starts in 2021 before sustaining an injury. Had three career goals and four career assists during two seasons at USF. Transferred to USF from Barton Community College in Kansas.

Marcus Victorio – Forward – Played in 4 games with 1 start in 2021 and played in 18 games with 16 starts in 2022. Had two goals and three assists during two seasons at USF.

Alfred Perez – Forward – Played in 14 games with 7 starts at USF in 2022 with three goals and one assist. A three-year starter at Harvard before transferring to South Florida in 2022.
2023 Outlook – South Florida will enter the 2023 season seeking to sustain and build on the big play ability that they possessed down the homestretch of the 2022 season. The Bulls were unexpected 2022 late season “party crashers” to the NCAA Tournament field with an impressive five game win streak that began during the later part of October that turned their season around. The result was an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament and a win over Hofstra during the first round of play that just two weeks earlier had seemed highly unlikely.

Junior forward Oscar Resano (6g, 0a) and senior midfielder Ajmeer Spengler (5g, 2a), USF’s top two goal scorers last year, are among returning players who the Bulls will likely count on for offensive firepower in 2023.

Juniors Jeffrey Cooper (1g, 1a), Segun Afolabi (2g,, 0a) and Josh Gomina (0g, 1a) and sophomores Jemone Barclay (0g, 2a) and Alex Sannes (2g, 0a) are among other returning forwards who look to be in the mix. Senior Takeru Moriyama, juniors Brian Schaefer (2g, 2a), Shion Soga (2g, 3a), Donovan Hesselmeyer, and Julio Plata (1g, 0a) and sophomore Lovro Kostanjsek (0g, 2a) round out a solid contingent of returning linkmen.

The departure of defender Salvatore Mazzaferro, a 2022 All-AAC Second Team selection and four year starter hurts. The experience and tenacity he brought to the pitch are not easy to replace. However the opportunity for improvement exists on the defensive side of the ball for a USF defense that allowed a total of 30 goals last year including five contests in which they allowed three or more goals. Returning backs who will be tasked with accomplishing that include seniors Sergio Pineros-Mayorga (1g, 0a) and Luca Hollenstein , juniors Nicolas Scargle (0g, 1a) and Ben Kaplan, and sophomore Mathis Haugen.

USF will also be without starting goalkeeper Jackson Weyman who played every minute of every game last year. Accordingly a new face will be between the pipes for the Bulls in 2023. The candidates include returning netminders junior Ralph Montero and sophomore Alan Horrocks and transfers Cam Pelle from Elon and Jorge Ortega from Eastern Florida State College. Much will hinge on the emergence of a solid and composed shot stopper in goal.

South Florida has added a recruiting class that includes several fairly high profile transfers with the ability to make an immediate contribution. Transfer forwards Jalen Anderson a 2022 All-CAA Second Team selection from UNCW and graduate student Max Wilkins from Georgia State are among the newcomers who have the potential to be difference makers on the offensive side of the ball. Outside back Richard Thompson, a transfer from Wilmington University, is among several members of the recruiting class with the ability to make an immediate contribution on the defensive side of the ball.

The 2023 season could be a good one for the Bulls under head coach Bob Butehorn. The way that they finished the 2022 season created momentum and did a lot for the program’s general health. When a team rebounds the way South Florida did last year it tends to reinforce the value of hard work and affirms that doing certain things well produces success.

The key unanswered question for South Florida heading into the 2023 season is which South Florida team will show up. Will it be the one that for the most part of 2022 played everyone close but lacked the ability to close out games or will it be the one that was able to come up with the big plays during the later part of the season that they needed to prevail. The answer to that question will determine the Bulls ceiling in 2023. Upward movement in the American Athletic Conference, a double-digit win season, and another berth in the NCAA Tournament will hinge on the Bulls ability to address what they were lacking at times last year.

Team chemistry is always a potential concern particularly with transfers. It may take a while for everyone to get on the same page. A good start in 2023 would be a positive sign and could set the pace for the entire season.

Mikhail Keise – Defender – Played for Inter Miami CF Academy. Played for Inter Miami MLS Next. Trained with First Team Inter Miami II. A center back.

Tyler Richardson – Midfielder – Jacksonville, Florida – Point Verda High School – Played for Jacksonville FC. Played for Jacksonville MLS Next. MVP of 2022 MLS Next All-Star game.

Dagur Hafthorsson – Defender – Iceland – Played for Hafnarfjordur and IR Reykjavik. Member Iceland Youth National Team.

Pedro Faife – Midfielder – La Habana, Cuba – Played for Inter Miami II. Played four games in MLS Next Pro.

Jorge Ortega – Goalkeeper – Baja California, Mexico – A transfer from Eastern Florida State College where he was a starter. Attended Mexico U20 National Camp.

Cam Pelle – Goalkeeper – Fairfield, Connecticut – Fairfield Ludlowe High School – A transfer from Elon where he played in a total of 11 games with 10 starts during the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Jalen Anderson – Forward – Hamden, Connecticut – Kingwood High School – A transfer from UNC Wilmington where he was a 2022 All-CAA Second Team selection and United Soccer Coaches All-Atlantic Third Team member. He played in a total of 50 games with 40 starts over four seasons with 12 career goals and four career assists.

Max Wilkins – Forward – Bluffton, South Carolina – Veterans High School – A transfer from Georgia State where he played in 50 games with 28 starts with 14 goals over four seasons.

Richard Thompson – Defender – Montego Bay, Jamaica – Jamaica College High School – A junior transfer from Wilmington University where he was the CCAC Rookie of the Year and a First Team All-CCAC selection in 2021 and an All-CACC Second Team selection in 2021. Appeared in 37 games with 36 starts with three goals and 15 assists over two seasons.

Marco Astorga – Midfielder – Cantillo, Texas – Cantillo High School – A junior transfer from Azusa Pacific where he played in 28 games with 26 starts with eight career goals and seven career assists during the 2021 and 2022 seasons. A 2022 All-Pac West First Team selection

Picture from University of South Florida Athletics

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Posted in 2023 Team Reviews

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