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UMBC 2015 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School – UMBC
Conference – America East
Coach – Pete Caringi (25th Season)
Background – The Retreivers entered the 2014 season seeking to build on the success that they enjoyed in 2013 when they led the country in winning percentage with a 16-1-3 overall record.  The senior led 2014 team accomplished that plus more with an historic season in which they were 14-5-5 overall, won the America East Conference regular season and tournament titles, earned the program's fourth invite to the NCAA Tournament in the past five seasons, and advanced to the College Cup for the first time in the history of the program. UMBC became the first team in the America East to ever advance to the College Cup and the first in the history of the NCAA Tournament to do so by defeating four teams on the road and all by shutout. A banner 2014 campaign for the Retreivers came to an end when they fell to Virginia 1-0 in the national semifinals. UMBC is one of just four teams in the country that has thirty or more wins over the past two seasons. Under Pete Caringi's direction the Retreivers have had many successful seasons and have a winning tradition that includes appearances in the NCAA Tournamnet four out of the past five seasons. UMBC's dominance in the America East Conference is reflected in the fact that they are undefeated in their last twenty-three contests against league opponents. Pete Caringi, Jr. was named the2014 National Coach of the Year by the NSCAA.  Defender  Oumar Ballo was named an All-American by the NSCAA and College Soccer News.  Ballo, midfielders Mamadou Kansaye and Geaton Caltabiano and forward Kay Banjo were 2014 America East First Team selections.   
Offense – UMBC will enter the 2015 season minus the services of players who scored twenty-seven of the thirty-seven goals they put into the back of the net last year. The biggest shoes to fill on the offensive side of the ball are those of forward Kay Banjo (8g, 5a) who was the 2014 American East Striker of the Year. Banjo, who played for three seasons at Towson before joining UMBC in 2014 after Towson dropped men's soccer at the conclusion of the 2012 season, was the Retrievers top goal scorer. UMBC will also miss the offensive firepower that midfielders Mamadou Kansaye (5g, 6a), the 2014 America East Midfielder of the Year, and Geaton Caltabiano (4g, 1a) contributed. Both were All-American East First Team selections. Caringi will likely look to returning senior forwards Michael Scott (2g, 3a) and Joseph Pratt (1g, 0a) 9a) to help fill the void. Senior Malcolm Harris (4g,1a) who was a starter last year looks to play a key role in the midfield in 2015. Junior Gregg Hauck (2g,1a) and senior Patrick Pato are among other returning midfielders who look to be in the mix in 2015. Freshman Patrick Jean-Giles is a highly regarded midfielder who will likely have the opportunity to make an immediate impact. Seniors Joseph Glos and Michael Burgos (1g, 1a), juniors Kennedy O'Shea and Christian Morales and sophomore Cormac Noel are among other returning players who look to be in the mix in 2015.  
Defense –  Defense didn't rule the entire season for the Retrievers but it clearly was the key factor in their 2014 run to the College Cup during which they advanced past Wake Forest, Maryland, Louisville, and Creighton via shutouts with the Wake Forest and Creighton contests requiring a penalty kick shootout to determine who advanced. UMBC effectively utilized a very disciplined and organized drop back and "defend first"  and counter attack only when the opportunity clearly presents itself strategy to survive and advance in the NCAA Tourney.  Major rebuilding will be required on the defensive side of the ball in 2015 due to the graduation of center backs Oumar Ballo and Marquez Fernandez and outside backs Jordan Becker and Spencer Williams.  Ballo, an NSCAA All-American in 2013 and  2014 and a College Soccer News All-American in 2014 and the America East Defender of the Year in 2013 and 2014, anchored the back line and leaves some very big shoes to fill.  He completed his tenure at UMBC as the most decorated player in the history of the program.  Fernandez and Becker were both 2014 Second Team All-America East selections. Sophomore Tom Paul who played in nine games last year with three starts is among returning backs who saw action last year.  Incoming freshman back Tyler Ward who played for the Concorde Fire Academy is among the new recruits who should compete for a starting position.  Junior Billy Heavner who became the starter during mid-season and redshirt sophomore Phil Breno who started the first nine games of the 2014 season return to give the Retrievers two experienced goalkeepers.  Redshirt Freshman Todd Morton who did not see action last year also returns to give UMBC three very capable netminders.    

Newcomers – Three and A Half Star Recruiting Class 

Coach Caringi stated, "In my opinion, this class should be a top ten rated recruiting class for 2015. All of the players have winning backgrounds, along with success both in the classroom and on the field.  We lost some key players from our 2014 College Cup team, but I am really excited about this class and the immediate impact they can make next year."

Patrick Jean-Giles – Midfield – Lorton, Virginia – South County High School – Played for D.C. United Academy.  Invited to 2014 U-18 U.S. National Team camp.  Named to Best XI Team at the 2014 U.S Development Academy.  

Tyler Ward – Defender – Buford, Georgia – Mill Creek High School – Played for the Concorde Fire Academy.

Riley Collins – Defender – Parkville, Maryland – Loyola Blakefield High School – First Team All-State – All MIAA.  Played for the Baltimore Celtic S.C. 

JamesGielien – MIdfield – Edgewater, Maryland – DeMatha Catholic – Played for Baltimore Celtic S.C. First Team All-Metro selection from the Washington Post.  

David Harris – Midfield – Laurel, Maryland – Reservoir High School – Played club for SAC. Led Reservoir in scoring in both 2013 and 2014.  

Kyle Saunderson – Defender – Laurel, Maryland – Reservoir High School – Four-year varsity stater. First-Team All-State. All-Metro byBaltimore Sun and Washington Post. 

Prognosis for 2015 – Any analysis of UMBC heading into the 2015 season has to begin with the fact that they will be without eight very talented and experienced starters from the 2014 team due to graduation including Kay Banjo, the America East Striker of the Year, Mamadou Kansaye, the America East Midfielder of the Year, and Oumar Ballo the America East Defensive Player of the Year. Coach Caringi, who passed the 250 win milestone at UMBC last year, will not be starting from scratch and he clearly knows how to put together a winning team. However, no matter how you spin it rebuilding is the one word that best describes UMBC heading into the 2015 campaign. A lot of new faces will be seeing significant increases in playing time and will be called upon to play key roles in 2015. That translates into a learning curve that usually results in some inconsistent play particularly in the early going. The cupboard is not totally bare at UMBC heading into the 2015 campaign but with the departure of so many talented and experienced senior starters Caringi and his staff clearly have to go back to the drawing board in 2015. In addition to the loss of talent there is also a leadership void on the field that must be filled. Team chemistry is always a plus at UMBC and will likely continue to be so in 2015. The recruiting class is very solid which is another plus. The ability of the newcomers  as well as the returning players who saw limited action last year to fill the void is obviously a critical success factor. The exodus of so many starters creates the opportunity for others to secure playing time and that generates competition and renewed focus which is always a good thing. Caringi  and his staff will put together a team that will be competitive but as previously indicated UMBC is a team facing a learning curve and that places them in the "wait and see" category heading into the 2015 season. The trip to the College Cup last year forever raised the standard of success at UMBC which is another plus not to mention another selling point on the recruiting trail.     



Posted in 2015 Team Reviews

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