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2014 Marquette Men's Soccer Preview: The Newcomers

Last year, Coco Navarro and Louis Bennett II made immediate impacts on men's soccer. It's safe to expect a few of these names to pop up as major players this season.

Louis Bennett has a number of options amongst the new guys on his roster in 2014.
Louis Bennett has a number of options amongst the new guys on his roster in 2014.

We've already taken a look at the depth in Marquette's returning corps of players.  It's a strong group for head coach Louis Bennett to work with, but the true strength of a team is depth.  Including Charlie Lyon, who played every minute in net for the Golden Eagles, there were 16 players who saw at least 300 minutes of action in 2013.  With Bryan Ciesiulka, Eric Pothast, and Adam Lysak as the most notable departures from that squad, there will be more than enough chances for these guys to try to find a way to contribute.

The Transfers

Marquette adds two transfer players this season, each with a unique circumstance.  David Selvaggi spent the first two years of college soccer at DePaul before electing to transfer to Marquette, where his older brother Anthony set the record for most yellow cards in a career.  At DePaul, Selvaggi made an immediate impact on the Blue Demons, tying for the team lead in goals with seven in 2011 and was named to the Big East's All-Freshman team.  In 2012, he only appeared in 13 of DePaul's 17 matches, recording just two assists along the way.  I'm not entirely sure what caused the power outage for Selvaggi, but it certainly wasn't a coaching change, as Craig Blazer enters his 14th season in Lincoln Park this year.  Selvaggi spent the 2013 season as a redshirt on the Marquette bench.  While there's usually not a transfer restriction in men's collegiate soccer, Selvaggi was forced to sit down for a season because he changed from one Big East school to another.  Selvaggi is the only forward added to the roster for this season, but hopefully he can add an extra dimension to the Golden Eagles to allow for more space for C. Nortey, Coco Navarro, and Louis Bennett II to find the back of the net.

The other transfer for MU this year is midfielder Luis Trude.

That's a highlight reel from his 2014 season with Chattanooga FC of the NPSL.  Trude played the last three seasons for William Carey University, which is part of the NAIA.  He was an NAIA First Team All-American last season as well as the Southern States Athletic Conference Player of the Year. He finished his three years at WCU with 17 goals and 33 assists in 33 games, as well as his degree, which allowed him to transfer to Marquette to pursue his MBA.  As you can see from the video, the native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, has a certain knack for making the right touch with the ball on a regular basis at a relatively high level of soccer in the NPSL, which will give the Golden Eagles one more option on offense.

Slightly Familiar Faces

Marquette has four redshirt freshmen on the roster this year.  Three of them - Daniel Szczepanek, Alex McBride, and Driton Zyteja - are looking to take up minutes in the midfield this season, while Jack Alberts is hoping to take advantage of the vacancy left behind by Eric Pothast on defense.  Here's the thing: These guys are legitimate players and couldn't squeeze their way onto the field last year.  Szczepanek was an NSCAA All-American and the Player of the Year in Illinois his senior year as he helped Warren Township HS win a state title, McBride carried Marquette University High School to their third straight state title and was a NSCAA All-American and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Area Player of the Year as MUHS outscored teams 107-14 in McBride's final season, Alberts was a part of three straight regional championships at Fenwick (IL), and was the captain and leading scorer his senior season while being named Chicago Catholic League Most Valuable Player, and Zyteja was "only" a four year starter at Sun Prairie (WI) and a major scoring threat coming out of the defensive midfield.

Now these guys have a year of figuring out what Louis Bennett wants from his team under their belt.  I don't know how many minutes are going to be available for these guys, but it's clearly a talented group of dudes who might only just need a chance to get on the pitch to show the Marquette faithful what they can do.  Also, if anyone has a helpful nickname for Daniel Szczepanek, we'll take all useful suggestions into consideration.

The Freshmen

What might cause a roadblock in those redshirt freshmen getting on the field is the true freshmen coming in behind them.  With three redshirt freshmen looking to get a crack at their first collegiate action, we can't ignore the fact that Martin Alba, Marquette's highest ranked recruit, is also a midfielder.  Alba is a product of the Chicago Fire academy, and played all 30 of their U17/18 team's games in the 2013-14 cycle.  While Alba only produced one goal in that time frame, he was also the only player to play in all 30 matches, and he started all 30 of them as well.

Alba is joined in the freshmen class by three defenders.  Danny Jarosz joins MU from Marquette University High School just up the street, while Colin Koerber attended Arrowhead High School in Sussex, and Brian Fletcher hails from Missouri, where he attended Saint Louis University HS.  Jarosz was the 2013 Journal Sentinel Area Player of the Year, while Koerber was on the JS's All-Area First Team.  Strangely, when it came to their own conferences, the roles were reversed, with Koerber getting the nod as the best player in the Classic 8, while Jarosz only made it to all-Greater Metro Conference First Team.  Go figure, huh?  Fletcher, an outside halfback by trade, was a late addition to the squad, with the announcement of his signing coming after Andrija Novakovich elected to sign a professional contract with Reading FC instead of attending Marquette as originally planned.