2018 Creighton Men's Soccer

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2018 Creighton Men's Soccer

Postby RVB » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:34 pm

Jays announce addition of four players

http://gocreighton.com/news/2018/1/15/m ... omers.aspx
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Re: 2018 Creighton Men's Soccer

Postby hilltopalum » Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:27 pm

Michael Kluver - G :: Graduated
Ricardo Lopez-Espin - F :: Drafted - Real Salt Lake
Lucas Stauffer - D :: Drafted - Vancouver Whitecaps
Noah Franke - M :: Drafted - FC Dallas
Steffan Wutte - D :: Graduated
Peter Prescott - D :: Transferred to Pittsburgh
Marios Lomis - F :: Signed with North Carolina FC

Sean Keith - D :: Lake Tahoe CC
Duncan Werling - G :: Transfer from UCLA
Paul Kruse - G :: Hoffenheim U19
Daniel Espeleta - M :: Uruguay FC
Jake Ronnenberg - D :: USSDA Chicago Fire Academy
Dominic Briggs - M :: Oconomowoc HS
Cameron Briggs - D :: Oconomowoc HS
Brady Foral - M :: Skutt HS
Alessandro Corghi - F :: USSDA Kendall SC
Younes Boudadi - D :: Transfer from Boston College
Nick Badalamenti - D :: Transfer from Princeton
~4-5 more players

Gone are three of the more influential players Creighton has seen play at Morrison. MLS' Vancouver Whitecaps, Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas drafted Lucas Stauffer, Ricky Lopez-Espin and Noah Franke respectively. I imagine all three will have long solid careers as professionals.

The loss of those three along with graduation of one-year hitman Marios Lomis opens up some key spots on the field for the bluejays. Lomis never hit his stride at Creighton and that lack of offensive punch ultimately cost Creighton dearly. The Jays missed out on the NCAA's for only the second time in nearly two decades. The coaching staff was forced to re-evaluate how it constructs a roster, and boy have they been reconstructin'.

The Jays *could* welcome as many as 15 new players to supplement a roster of nearly 20 returners to give Coach Bolowich the deepest roster yet on the Hilltop. The goal, as always, will be to reach the College Cup. Easier said than done when forced to replace the production of Lopez-Espin, the grit of Stauffer and pace of Franke. The Jays also lose Center-Back Peter Prescott, who's lack of playing time down the stretch of last season saw him move to up-n-coming power in Pitt.

The Jays will rely heavily on Midfielder Joel Rydstand. The rising senior has been a surefire starter since his arrival, and he'll be playing for a professional deal this fall. Rydstand will likely be paired with Big East-All Freshman Kuba Polat. The two developed a good partnership toward the end of the season. They play similar roles but add stability and poise on the ball. They will be the engine that drives the Jays this season.

If Rydstand and Polat are the engine, Akeem Ward and newcomer Younes Boudadi are the wheels. Ward and Boudadi, a transfer from Boston College, will likely slot in as the outside back in Bolowich's 4-2-3-1 system. The fullbacks in this formation are critical to attacking success and with a Polat-Rydstand midfield they should be given the freedom to go forward. Boudadi assisted on 7 goals last season for Boston College who played in the nation's best conference. Look for him to become an All-Big East performer.

Behind Rydstand-Polat will be Senior Mitch LaGro, returning Captain, and Julius Fohr who's growing into a leader on the team. LaGro struggled with injury but will be the heart of this team come fall 2018. Fohr has been known to get forward and should provide a goal or two from his defensive spot. The two will likely be asked to organize the defense as the Jays will welcome a new goalkeeper this spring. They bring in UCLA transfer Duncan Werling, and Hoffenheim stand-out Paul Kruse. It's too early to tell which keeper will get the #1 shirt but my money is on Kruse who has quite the pedigree from his youth in Germany. Both are more than capable. That’s not to mention former #2 Colin Valdivia returns as does Austin Wormell who has all the tools to be a good keeper.

Behind LaGro and Fohr is the experience Bryce Gibson who can play on the outside or even up-top. At 6-6 he provides a target for Creighton’s offense and his long strides make him difficult to catch. If he can hone his first touch he could transform his college potential into pro potential. Creighton got good minutes out of Conor Ramlo as well who returns and will serve as a utility player for the defense. Creighton will also welcome freshman Jake Ronnenberg, a cerebral center back out of the prestigious Chicago Fire academy, as well as local player Brady Foral and Wisconsin native Cameron Briggs who looks and plays similar to Gibson. Junior College left-back Sean Keith will provide good depth to Ward who has had his share of injuries over the years. Princeton grad-transfer Nick Badalamenti will provide more depth in the midfield and defense.

While the defense and deep lying midfielders look set and experience the attack will see some overhaul. Junior Luke Haakenson will be asked to step into a leadership role and could be the creative force on offense. Senior’s Sven Koenig and Anthony Macchione struggled throughout the year. The Jays will need 10-12 goals combined from this duo to be successful.

Creighton went south to Costa Rica and plucked Daniel Espeleta from the Costa Rican U20 national side last winter. Espeleta could be the creative player the Jays desperately needed last season. The diminutive playmaker will need to adjust quickly to the physicality of the college game. He arrived this spring so he will have time to develop his role and look to hit the ground running this fall.

The Jays will also shuffle in Warsay Gebremariam and Carlos Soto Merchan who red-shirted last season. Dominic Valdivia ended up burning his red-shirt and played well during his limited minutes last year. The wide-player works hard and makes things happen. Cameron’s twin brother Dominic Briggs is another pacy wide player who could be in line for a red-shirt to add weight and catch up with the speed at this level. Miami forward Alessandro Corghi has all the tools to be a four year contributor for Creighton. At 5-10 he has a good build and his dangerous left foot gives the Jays something they sorely lacked last season.

Apart from these players, the Jays are also still going to bring in talent. I expect them to bring in at least 4-5 more, likely transfers of foreign player all of whom I expect to supplement the attack.

Projected Starting XI:

G: Paul Kruse
LB: Akeem Ward
CB: Mitch LaGro
CB: Julius Fohr
RB: Younes Boudadi
CM: Kuba Polat
CM: Joel Rydstrand
LM: Sven Koenig
RM: Luke Haakenson
AM: Daniel Espeleta
S: Anthony Macchione
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