Hello, and welcome back to another wonderful installment in our Marquette men’s soccer season preview. We’ve already talked about the very large number of lads returning from the 2018 squad elsewhere on this internet website, so if you haven’t gotten a chance to read that, go do that now.
Here, we’re going to be talking about the new guys on the roster. Head coach Louis Bennett has brought in a mix of players in terms of positions as well as ages. There are three players who are new to Marquette this year that start off as either sophomores or juniors due to previous collegiate experience. On top of that, there are five traditional freshmen for us to take a look at here.
Given the depth all over the field for Marquette amongst the returning players, it’s not quite obvious how any of these eight men fit into the rotation quite yet. However, a few of them got quite a bit of playing time against #9 Notre Dame in Wednesday’s exhibition match, so we’ll see how all of that ends up playing out as the matches that actually count start taking place.
Let’s start with Christian Marquez, who put the first goal on the board in that 2-1 win over Notre Dame. He’s a 5’9”, 160 pound forward out of Berwyn, Illinois, where he played for the Chicago Fire Academy. Here’s what Bennett had to say about him when he signed with the Golden Eagles:
“Christian continues our tradition and great relationship with the Chicago Fire Academy, which he served as captain during his final year. He is a well-balanced, hard-working forward that is going to give us quality and depth to our strike force not only for the now, but for the future.”
Marquez had some nice moments in his 46 minutes against the Irish defense in the exhibition match, and he played the whole second half against Loyola-Chicago in the squad’s first preseason friendly. It’s hard to say for certain if that’s going to turn into long term minutes this year for him, but it seems that he is comfortable out there already with four shots in what amounts to one full match’s worth of minutes.
I would imagine that given the particulars of Marquez’s goal against Notre Dame that if you gave him 100 tries to recreate it, he wouldn’t put it in past the keeper. But sometimes soccer is about luck combined with right place/right time and the instincts to cause it all to line up for you. If Marquez’s instincts are honed enough to put him in the right place at the right time, then hopefully Lady Luck can continue to smile on him.
I found this YouTube video for him, and it appears that Marquez himself up it up on the interwebs. It’s about 2:30 in length, but it’s also from November 2017.
Louis Yuill is next on the board to mention, I think. the 6’0” 165 pound midfielder from England saw 45 minutes of action against Loyola-Chicago and 29 minutes against Notre Dame. That’s a pretty solid amount of time, even for preseason contests, so it seems like he’ll be in the rotation regularly in 2019.
“He’s versatile and very tenacious midfielder with a great pedigree,” Bennett said. “He’s played for highly-regarded Scotland schools and spent time at two top academies in England. He’s a dedicated lad and will be a great fit for our program.”
Yuill came up through the West Ham United academy program between the ages of 9 and 16. He’s spent the last two years with Birmingham City’s academy, making 50 appearances in that time. While he has London as his hometown, his national team roots are with Scotland, playing for the U16/17 team at one point.
As luck would have it, Yuill was able to join Marquette for the spring semester. Thus, he was able to train and practice with the rest of the team without sacrificing a season of eligibility. It’s likely that his extra semester of activity is why he’s up in the forefront of guys seeing action in the preseason.
Marquette has two new defenders on the roster in Jonathan Robinson and Clay Smith. Robinson, a 5’8”, 155 pound winger/back, has seen more action than Smith thus far in the preseason, playing the entire second half against Loyola-Chicago and getting on the pitch for 15 minutes against Notre Dame. That’s good news for him, but MU is also fairly well stocked in terms of experienced defenders this season. I don’t know if he’ll be able to crack the rotation, but Bennett does like subbing his wingers for rest at various points in the match. Robinson may end up getting his number called in relief appearances in those situations.
Here’s what Bennett said about him:
“He’s one of the guys we’ve known about since he was 14 years old at our iD camp. He’s always wanted to be at Marquette. Year-by-year, he’s become one of the best left side players in the region. He’s committed and aggressive in the way that he plays and has done a nice job in combining his skill with his academics.”
Smith, measuring 6’2” and 185 pounds, is more of a defensive midfielder type. He’s had club experiences in two different parts of the country after splitting his high school time between Virginia and Texas. He was a three-time all-state honoree during his prep career, which is pretty impressive. He played just 15 minutes against Loyola and not at all against Notre Dame, so it seems like this might be a redshirt season for Smith.
Here’s Bennett’s quote on him:
“He’s a hard-working, industrious player that adds depth and quality to our midfield and defensive line. After visiting Marquette, he wanted to be here and we certainly wanted to add him to our program. Our quest is to be strong and have quality at every position and he gives us that.”
If Smith might be on the outside looking in when it comes to playing time in 2019, then Michael Diaz might be standing behind Smith and looking over his shoulder. That’s not a slight at all for the 6’1”, 170 pound keeper out of Frisco, Texas. However, Cedrik Stern is the clear #1 heading into the season, and after Jackson Weyman played all of the second half in relief of Stern against Notre Dame, it seems we have a clear #2.
Diaz is a talented keeper, getting a chance to go train in Spain and play against Real Madrid as a part of a Generation adidas International Team in the summer of 2018. However, it seems like things are set for 2019 in terms of the goalkeeping situation. The question, of course, is where minutes come from in the future as well. Stern is only a sophomore, while Weyman and Alex Wons are redshirt freshmen and, for the time being, even with Diaz on the eligibility chart.
Let’s tune in to Bennett’s thoughts on Diaz:
“He gives us a flare and a quality that is going to bolster our goalkeeping unit, especially with the graduation of Luis Barraza. He has played for two of the top clubs in Texas and has a great pedigree.”
Diaz has a Hudl page which was updated with highlights as recently as this past March.
We have to start this trio off with junior forward Sam Thornton, who played nearly the whole match against Notre Dame, and got the assist on Marquez’s goal. The 5’11”, 170 pound Englishman comes to Marquette by way of Division 2 Gannon University. He was the PSAC Player of the Year in 2018 after throwing together 11 goals and three assists. Seven of those goals were game winners, and (at least) three of the other four came in multi-goal games. That’s an amazing level of scoring in the absolutely right moment that you can’t teach.
Here’s Bennett on what Thornton brings to the team:
“He’s a player who gives us a lot of options up top with his versatility,” Bennett said. “He can play anywhere in the top four, which will give us good depth and support for guys like Lukas Sunesson and Luka Prpa. We didn’t have a hold-up, mobile forward who could play very physical, so he’s a different kind of player for us. He provides some much-needed physicality and balances out our junior class to go along with our rising seniors.”
Can I interest you in seven minutes of Thornton highlights at Gannon?
Joining Thornton in the junior class this season is Luca Cardamone, a 6’2”, 165 pound defender. Hailing from Italy, Cardamone was at Bethel University in Indiana before coming to Marquette. He didn’t play in either of MU’s exhibition matches thus far this season, and given that he was not a regular starter for Bethel, I’m not sure how much he can contribute to the Golden Eagles this season as a result.
Can I interest you in seven minutes of Bethel highlights featuring Cardamone that it appears that he put on YouTube himself?
Nick Guido is MU’s other transfer this year, coming to Marquette from South Carolina. Like Cardamone, he was something of a late addition to the MU roster, with the announcement coming from the press office in early July. The North Carolina native is a 5’9”, 155 pound midfielder who saw just 44 minutes of action for the Gamecocks last season. He nearly beat that out in the exhibition match against Loyola-Chicago, going for 31 minutes. We’ll see if that turns into any regular season activity for Guido, but it’s also possible that the late addition status for him ends up keeping him in the back of the rotation for the coaching staff.
I always like it when I find a YouTube highlight video that appears to be uploaded by the athlete in question. That’s neat. Here’s six minutes of Guido that went up in July of 2017: