|School: Stanford University|
|Coach: Jeremy Gunn – 7th Season|
|Final 2017 Season Ending Rank: #1 United Soccer Coaches, #1 CSN|
|2017 Record: 19-2-2 overall, 9-0-1 in conference|
Five Year Win Total:
|Key Personnel Losses from 2017 Team: Forwards Foster Langsdorf and Corey Baird, midfielders Drew Skundrich and Bryce Marion, defender Tomas Hillard-Arce and goalkeeper Nico Corti due to graduation.|
|2017 Goals Scored and Goals Allowed: Forty-eight scored, Nine allowed|
|2017 Goals Scored and Goals Allowed Per Game: 2.09 scored, 0.39 allowed|
|2017 Key Statistic: No goals allowed in NCAA Tournament play|
Background: Stanford has been the dominant team in college soccer over the past three seasons. Under the guidance of Jeremy Gunn who became the Cardinal head coach in 2012, Stanford has won the National Championship for the past three years during which time they have recorded a 52-7-10 overall record.
The Cardinal have secured the Pac-12 Championship for the past four seasons in a row during which time they have been been 30-3-7 in conference play.
Stanford has earned a total of sixteen invites to the NCAA Tournament including the past five seasons in a row. They have advanced to the College Cup (Final Four) a total of six times (1998, 2001, 2002, 2015, 2016, 2017).
In 2017 the Cardinal were awarded the number nine seed in the NCAA Tournament. They then advanced past Pacific in penalty kicks after the contest was scoreless at the end of regulation and overtime, they topped Coastal Carolina 2-0, and defeated Wake Forest 2-0 in Winston-Salem to punch their ticket to the College Cup. The Cardinal then defeated Akron 2-0 and topped Indiana 1-0 in overtime to claim the National Championship for the third consecutive season.
Forward Foster Langsdorf and defender Tomas Hilliard-Arce were named All-Americans by the United Soccer Coaches and by College Soccer News. Langsdorf was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. Hilliard-Arcre was named the Pac-12 Denfensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. Jeremy Gunn and his staff were named the National Staff of the Year by United Soccer Coaches. Langsdorf and Hilliard-Arce, forward Corey Baird, defender Tanner Beason, and midfielder Drew Skundrich were 2018 All-Pac-12 First Team selections. Midfielder Sam Werner was named to the All-Pac-12 Second Team.
|Number Starters Slated to Return in 2018: Five|
Coach Gunn stated, " We ask each student-athlete to leave the jersey in a better place than when they inherited it and I don't think there could be a better example of this than the class that just graduated." Franks added, "The 2018 recruiting class will now be provided the same high-performing environment with all of the tools necessary to achieve their individual and team goals."
Matt Frank – Goalkeeper – Bloomfield, Michigan – Played for the New York Red Bulls. Eastern Conference Bext XI and Generation Adidas Best XI in 2017. Participated in three U.S. Soccer Camps (2017, 2016, 2014).
Ryan Ludwick – Midfielder – York, Pennsylvania – Played for the PA Classics – A box-to-box center midfielder. Two-time team captain.
Kyle Orciuch – Goalkeeper – Saint John, Indiana – Played for the Chicago Fire Academy.
Will Richmond – Midfielder – Piedmont, California – Played for the San Jose Earthquakes Academy. U.S. Soccer National Team Training Center from 2014 -2016. Also played for DeAnza Force Soccer Club.
Tyler Shaver – Defender – Riverside, Connecticut – Played for NYCFC Academy. Played for Beachside Soccer Club. Member of the U-17 U.S. Men's National Team. Member of the U-15 and U-14 National Teams.
Outlook for the 2018 Season: It is a given that all college soccer programs have to deal with attrition due to graduation. The impact depends upon the number of departures, the distribution of losses position wise, and most importantly on the ability and experience of existing personnel to fill the voids that inherently exist.
The programs that win consistently, as Stanford has under the guidance of Jeremy Gunn, annually do a great job of bringing on board top flight talent. That means that Stanford will enter the 2018 season with a lot of talented and experienced players including a group of sophomores, who were considered the number one recruting class in the country last year, who are eager for the opportuity to make an impact.
Of course, when the guys who do not return include the likes of forwards Foster Langsdorf (14g, 6a) and Corey Baird (6g, 7a), midfielder Drew Skundich (5g, 5a) and center back Tomas Hillard-Arce (4g, 3a), even a team blessed with the talent that Stanford will have doesn't fill the gaps without some uncertainty. The void Langsdorf and Baird in particular leave up-top is considerable.
Senior Amir Bashti (6g, 2a) and sophomores Charlie Wehan (1g, 5a), Arda Bulut, Zach Ryan and Jack O'Brien (0g, 3a) are among returning players who the Cardinal will likely look to for offensive firepower up-top in 2018.
Juniors Jared Gilbey (0g, 6a) and Derek Waldeck (0g, 5a) and redshirt sophomore Marc Joshua (0g, 1a) along with the group listed above give the Cardinal what looks to be a very productive, diverse, and deep group of returning linkmen.
Hillard-Arce's experience and toughness will no doubt be missed in the back. He is a winner who contributed in many ways. However, the cupboard is far from bare with redshirt senior Adam Mosharrafa (1g, 2a), redshirt junior Tanner Beason (4g, 3a) , and sophomore Logan Panchot (2g, 1a) who were starters last year all slated to return for a defense that held opponents to a total of only nine goals last year. Sophomore Carson Vom Steeg who appeared in eighteen contests last year and redshirt sophomore Collin Liberty who saw action in ten contests are among other returning players who should be in the hunt for a starting defender role. Highly regarded freshmen defenders Tyler Shaver and Ryan Ludwick could also contend for playing time.
The graduation of Nico Corti, who did an excellent job last year in his lone season as the stater in goal, means that the play between the pipes is a key unaswered question heading into the 2018 campaign. Redshirt junior Charlie Furrer who appeared briefly in two contests last year and sophomore Andrew Thomas along with newcomers Matt Frank and Kyle Orciuch will battle for the starting job.
Stanford will not be short of talent which means there will be a lot of lineup choices as well as a lot of competiton for playing time. Competiton is always a good thing and a deterrent to complaceny which is a potential concern when teams have enjoyed the level of success that the Cardinal has over the past three seasons.
Critical success factors include team leadership, offensive productivity up-top, the level of improvement and growth of returning players, their ability to take on a bigger role (in particular the sophomore class), and the consistency of play in goal.
The bottom line is that Stanford remains a serious threat for a fifth consecutive Pac-12 title and yes, another national championship.