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Wisconsin 2014 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School – University of Wisconsin
Conference – Big Ten
Coach – John Trask (5th Season)

Background – Wisconsin had a banner season in 2013 with a 14-5-2 overall record and a 4-2-0 mark in Big Ten play which was good for the second seed in the conference tournament. During regular season play the Badgers had signature wins over South Florida, Marquette, Indiana, Michigan State, and Northwestern.  They were awarded an at-large berth in the NCAA Tourney and returned to the NCAA Tourney field for the first time since the 1995 season.  John Trask stated, "To see these guys not only come in second place in the Big Ten but get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, which is what it's all about, it was really exciting for my staff and the players involved in the program."  Wisconsin currently holds the nation's longest home unbeaten streak at fourteen.  Forward Tomislav Zadro was named to the All-Big Ten First Team and was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. A.J. Cochran was named to the All-Big Ten First Team and was awarded the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Forward Nick Janus was also an All-Big Ten First Team selection. Midfielder Drew Conner was an All-Big Ten Second Team selection. Midfielder Brian Hail and forward Nick Jones were named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.  

Offense – The 2013 season was an exciting and productive one for the Badgers on the offensive side of the ball.  They significantly upped their offensive punch putting the ball in the back of the net a total of thrity nine times in 2013 as compared to twenty-one in 2012, twenty-five in 2011, and eighteen in 2010.  The graduation of forwards Nick Janus (9g, 3a) and Tomislav Zadro (4g, 8a) and midfielders Chris Prince (2g, 5a) and Toni Ramadani (2g, 3a) creates a void that must be filled. Forwards senior Jacob Brindle (8g, 1a) and sophomores Nick Jones (2g, 3a) and Skyler Felt (1g, 0a) and midfielders junior Drew Conner (1g, 7a), a 2013 All Big Ten Second Team selection, and sophomore midfielder Brian Hail (1g, 0a) are among returning players who will likely be counted on for offensive firepower.  Freshman forwards Tom Barlow and Mark Segbers who played club for St. Louis Scott Gallagher and Chris Mueller out of the Sockers FC Chicago Academy and freshmen midfielders Michael Catalano who was the Gatorade Illinois Boys Soccer Player of the Year and Grant Stoneman out of the Chicago Magic Academy are among the newcomers with the potential to make an immediate contribution on the offensive side of the ball. 
Defense – Trask coached teams have traditionally been very solid on the defensive side of the ball.  No reason to expect otherwise in 2014.  However, the decision of center back A.J. Cochran to enter the professional ranks after his junior season and the graduation of back Paul Yonga has created gaps that must be addressed. Senior center back David Caban returns to anchor the back line along with redshirt junior Carl Schneider who was the starter at left back last year.  Senior JunHo Seok, junior captain Adam Lauko and redshirt freshman Zacc Roelke are among other returning backs who look to be in the mix. Freshman back Rahim Omar and freshman defensive midfielder Alex Masbruch also look to be in the mix on the defensive side of the ball.  Redshirt sophomore Casey Beyers who played in fourteen contests with eleven starts last year returns in goal. Freshman goalkeeper Adrian Remeniuk could push for the starting job between the pipes.       

Newcomers – Four and A Half Star Recruiting Class 

Coach Trask stated, "This year's class will be expected to compete for playing time immediately.  The depth and breadth of this class wil positively impact the program for years to come.  We have addressed needs in all parts of the field."

Nikola Atlija – Forward – Franklin, Wisconsin – Franklin High School – Played club for FC Wisconsin and FC Milwaukee.  Trained with Serbian club Red Star Belgrade during the summer.  

Tom Barlow – Forward – St. Louis, Missouri – Chaminade College Prep – Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year. Missouri Soccer Coaches Association Class 3 Player of the Year. Played for St. Louis Scott Gallagher.   

Mike Catalano – Midfielder – Roselle, Illinois – Lake Park High School – Gatorade Illinois Boys Soccer Player of the Year.  Netted 30 goals his senior season.  First Team All-State.  Played for Chicago Magic PSG Academy. Ranked by CSN as the number 136 player in the class of 2014. 

Alex Masbruch – Midfielder – Slinger, Wisconsin – Slinger High School – Team captain for FC Wisconsin Nationals U-18.  

Christopher Mueller – Forward – Schaumburg, Illinois – Played for Sockers FC Chicago Soccer Academy.  

Rahim Ahmed Omar – Defender – Maple Grove, Minnesota – The Blake School – Minnesota Thunder Academy.  

Enda O'Neill – Defender – Louisville, Colorado – Fairview High School – Played for Colorado Rapids. Ranked by CSN as the number 148 player in the class of 2014.  

Adrian Remeniuk – Goalkeeper – Gleview, Illinois – Glenbrook South High School – Chicago Fire Academy.  Sockers FC.  

Bayley Scholz – Defender – Appleton, Wisconsin – Kimberly High School – FC Wisconsin U-18.  U-16 Real Salt Lake Academy-Arizona.  

Mark Segbers – Forward – St. Louis, Missouri – St. John Vianney High School – St. Louis Scott Gallagher.  US U-18 MNT National Combine in 2013. Ranked by CSN as the number 67 player in the class of 2014. 

Grant Stoneman – Midfielder – Saint Charles, Illinois – Wheaton Academy – Chicago Magic Academy.  Campton United.  First-Team Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune.  

Prognosis for 2014 – On paper the challenge facing Wisconsin heading into the 2014 campaign appears to be daunting.  Gone are thirteen seniors including forward Tomislav Zadro, the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, and forward Nick Janus who was also a First Team All-Big Ten selection in addition to All-American center back A.J. Cochran who ended his tenure at Wisconsin as one of the finest players the program ever produced.  Three starters and a handful of players who played a lot last year return along with a very highly regarded eleven member recruiting class. Trask needed to bring on board a deep and talented recruiting class and he got it.  If the Badgers hope to maintain the success that they enjoyed last year the young players will have to mature quickly. The level of competition in the Big Ten Conference combined with a non-conference slate that includes the likes of Xavier, Georgetown, St. John's, Marquette and Milwaukee means that Wisconsin will have little margin for error nor can they tolerate an extended learning curve. On the plus side of the ledger, Trask will have plenty of talent to work with and will definitely not be starting from scratch. Senior forward Jacob Brindle, junior midfielder Drew Conner, and senior center back David Caban are among returning players who will have to set the pace for the team. Considering the situation, you might expect the Wisconsin coaching staff to be a little nervous. Instead, they appear to be cool, calm, and focused heading into the 2014 season.  One reason may be that Trask has gone through overhauls before without missing a beat.  Trask stated, "The bar has been raised and these guys know what is expected of them." Still to match last year's overall total of fourteen wins and four wins in conference play will be an accomplishment given the fact that the necleus of the 2013 team that was the most successful team that the Badgers have put of the pitch in eighteen seasons has departed.  Wisconsin will seek to keep their undefeated streak at home alive when they host San Francisco at the McClimon Complex on Friday, August 29. 
Posted in 2014 Team Reviews

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