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Marquette Men’s Soccer Deals With Roster Upheaval

Is losing seven players bad? Probably? Maybe? Definitely?

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Marquette Wire’s Jack Goods checked in with Marquette men’s soccer during the spring season for last week Tuesday’s issue of the Marquette Tribune, and you should go check his article out. He talks to some of the players and head coach Louis Bennett about how the team is dealing with some off-season injuries as they continue to train and play some friendlies to help prepare for the 2017 campaign coming up in the fall.

However, there was a bit of news in Goods’ article, and that is the departure of six players from the men’s soccer team. Jan Maertins, Toby Howell, Ben Tweedie, Anton von Hofacker and Kees Westra have all left the team, while Nick Parianos has elected to pass on his final year of eligibility after having to redshirt the 2015 season with a knee injury that he suffered in the 2014 season. In addition to those six men that are mentioned in Goods’ article, Danny Jarosz is leaving the active roster and shifting to what the program is calling a role as “student coach.”

That’s a bit of a blow to the roster, relative to what those men contributed to the 2016 edition of Louis Bennett’s team. Those seven guys combined for 36 starts last fall and averaged over 600 minutes each. Maertins and Howell are the two biggest losses in terms of offense, with both guys contributing seven points to the squad in 2016. Von Hofacker seemed to be playing his way into a consistent spot as a center back as his freshman campaign progressed as well. Jarosz is the biggest loss in terms of minutes played, recording over 1100 in 12 starts in 2016. He’s had something of a difficult collegiate career, having his redshirt freshman season ended in the very first match due to a concussion and then missing the final four games of his redshirt sophomore campaign. While it’s nice to see him sticking with the program, it’s quite a blow to lose a guy who was a reliable presence in the back line in 2016.

It’s not terribly surprising to see guys suddenly up and leave in men’s soccer, particularly at a private school like Marquette. With just 9.9 scholarships to split amongst the entire team — in other words, you can’t even cover a full starting lineup — almost everyone playing collegiate soccer is paying at least some portion of their way through school. With no transfer restrictions in college soccer, unless you’re moving within conferences, if a player can find a better situation for themselves somewhere else, you can’t fault them for moving on, both in terms of playing time or in terms of paying for school. It’s also not surprising to see guys like Maertins, a native of Germany, and Von Hofacker, who hails from Norway, to decide that playing college soccer in Wisconsin isn’t for them.

Bennett is already working in three newcomers to the program. Brody Kraussel joins Marquette after three seasons with Loyola-Chicago, including all-Missouri Valley First Team as a junior and finishing ninth in the nation in assists. Grant Owens is a redshirt junior who comes to MU from Saint Louis after helping the Billikens to a national ranking in 2016. Bernard Assibey-Rhule is a foreign-born freshman, coming to Marquette from the Netherlands. There are still four freshmen that will join MU over the summer, including three from southeastern Wisconsin, and given the losses across the roster, they may be asked to play a role in the 2017 season.