Posted: Aug 19, 2019
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The 2019 Santa Clara men's soccer team return a bevy of experienced players - 23 in all including three All-West Coast Conference honorees – from a team that competed in many closely contested matches before falling by a one goal margin in six of its 10 losses.
"When we looked at where we stood, you can change to try to improve and continue to mature what you do have. We felt last year while the results weren't what we wanted, it was very much a growth year for us," said Broncos head coach Cam Rast. "Our backline should be more mature and solid. We spent a lot of time in the spring revising little pieces that we think will evolve us into a better way, a more successful way of playing. "
The Broncos finished the 2018 campaign with a 5-10-2 record as nineteen of the returnees saw action on the pitch with 13 of them appearing in 10 or matches. SCU brings back 80-percent of its goals and 100-percent of its assists led by All-West Coast Conference second-team selections Javier Ruiz Duran and Miles Robinson along with all-freshman selection Eduardo Lopez Perez.
Five newcomers will complement the returnees with three of them having extensive international experience.
"This year, we continue to evolve our international experience and depth which brings a soccer strength in terms of their development towards what we want be able to accomplish," said Rast. "The group in general is a year older as a lot of the guys who were brand new that we needed to play right away last season now have that year of development and experience. I think they have a much better understanding of what the season is like in terms of what it really requires. That can never be understated. Typically the teams that do really well have a strong older core and I think we found that for us, a core that can really contribute."
Squad Members Lost (1): Dakota Havlick
At the goalkeeping position, the Broncos lose captain Dakota Havlick who started 30 games in his career but will have experience returning in Henning Jolivet and Aran O'Brien.
Jolivet has 12 career starts under his belt including seven last season where he posted a 3-3-1 record with a 1.89 goals against average.
O'Brien started two matches in his first season with the program in 2017.
"Dakota Havlick's experience and leadership is something that we will miss but Henning was very good for us last fall in a really tough results season. He came out of it with some good experience and a .500 record, which says he tips the scale in our favor," said Rast. "Aran has been a workhorse. If you don't see him coming or going from the gym and spending more time on his game, you're not around because that's what he does. He's earned himself some real credibility with the team so hopefully he'll continue to grow in that area."
Two freshmen will be challenge for the starting position in Guillem Badenes Mecho and Connor McCabe.
"Guillem played in a pro level academy at the Villarreal club in Spain and its someone that they sought to actually sign a contract with," Rast said. "We have players with really good experience and players that played the college game and done fairly well. What we're looking for is real consistency and leadership back there. I need guys that consistently make the saves that we believe that they are able and ready to make, which means their focus, training and concentration is right. But also leadership of how to keep the team tied in and organized and to really command that part of the game."
Returners (7): Martin Aasen (So.), Terrell Smith (Jr.), Emil Christensen (So.), Sakari Carter (So.), Matt Golbranson (RS-Jr.), Dylan Carrubba (Sr.), Alejandro Perez (So.)
Squad Members Lost (1): Isaac Olusina
Rast and his staff bring back a deep and experienced backline returning all players that saw playing time last season.
Martin Aasen (12 starts) Sakari Carter (17 starts), Emil Christensen (16 starts) and Alejandro Perez (seven starts) each played significantly as freshmen.
"Emil has played in a lot of the games and has been solid. Perez might have been our most consistent defender in terms of what he got done. Martin also was a solid contributor in spots. We are looking to move Sakari wide as he is a really good individual defender and as long as we can get him some experience like in the spring, I think that could be his evolution," said Rast.
The upper classmen, Dylan Carrubba, Matt Golbranson and Terrell Smith have a combined 32 starts between them and will serve as valuable mentors to the youngers, freshmen Liam Anderson and Damani Osei.
"Terrell has a world of potential. We just need to keep him healthy and fit and not over play him. Matt Golbranson had some time in the center back in the spring and Carrubba can play in the back as well. He's very athletic and we've spent some time with him farther forward and I think it can be good for him to earn some time there," said Rast.
Anderson joined the team in the offseason where he made a positive impression on the Broncos coach.
"Liam was just a warrior at times in the spring. Some of the things he was willing to do like throwing his body in the way of the ball, we'll see how he does in the preseason," said Rast. "And Damani can play in the center back as he did that in the World Championships for the U17 team for Jamaica. He's a lefty and a runner so we think he could play some upfront as well as playing left back."
Newcomer Hendrik Kuehn from Germany joined the team in the summer that Rast is hoping will add maturity from the graduate student.
"We have Hendrik from Berlin. He is 22-years old who will just be with us for a year but he provides us with maturity and depth to the defensive midfielder position that we don't have in a new player coming in."
Returnees (13): Sam Agosti (Sr.), Alex Achramowicz (Jr.), Javier Ruiz Duran (Jr.), Alejandro Barajas (RS-So.), Miles Robinson (Sr.), Eduardo Lopez Perez (So.), Tennyson Stevens (RS-So.), RJ Egdorf (RS-Fr.), Julian Bravo (So.), Bishop Washington (RS-Fr.), Nate Shue (RS-Jr.), Isaac Addai (Jr.), Alan Camacho Soto (Jr.)
Squad Members Lost (3): Brandon Gillingham, Andres Jimenez, Matt Sipowicz
Santa Clara returns 20 of 25 goals even with the losses of co-captain Brandon Gillingham and Andres Jimenez who each capped off their Bronco careers being named All-WCC.
Javier Ruiz Duran returns for his junior season after leading the team in goals (six) and assists (five) while playing in all 17 matches. Miles Robinson (four goals, three assists), Alan Camacho Soto (three goals, four assists) and Eduardo Lopez Perez (two goals) each scored multiple goals to supply the offensive firepower up front and in the wing positions.
"Having all-conference performers in Ruiz Duran and Miles Robinson, who had a fantastic spring, those are two guys that will key our goal scoring. We'll also depend on Isaac Addai and Alan Camacho Soto as we need them to get in good spots and to take the chances really well," said Rast. "Nate will be good at either wings and Achramowicz can also play wide as he's a work horse but he can also play in the midfield."
In the midfield, Rast will have multiple options that he feels could contribute.
"We have some good, young midfielders back but we also added experienced defensive midfielder in Hendrik that should be able to step in depending on how well he performs and adjusts to the college game," said Rast. "We have Alejandro Barajas and Presten Manthey who could play in the midfield but up front. Sam Agosti can play in the defensive midfield but will be challenged by Hendrik. Eduardo Lopez is a guy that can move the ball and is talented. Tennyson Stevens has been a good defensive midfielder that we're hoping can compete for some playing time. He's a couple of years into the program now so he's growing in that area. Julian Bravo can play in the middle but also play a little up front. Bishop is a wide guy who is crafty and RJ is returning from an injury."
Nine of its 17 regular season matches will be played in Buck Shaw Field at Stevens Stadium, the most home matches on the docket since hosting 11 in 2015.
The Broncos opens its regular season with five straight home matches starting with the season opener against Holy Cross (Aug. 30) followed by matches against Missouri State (Sept. 2), San José State (Sept. 6), Grand Canyon (Sept. 8), a 2018 NCAA tournament qualifier, and finishing the homestand against San Diego State (Sept. 14).
Fans can purchase single game tickets starting at $10 with a season plan costing $80 per person. Group and season tickets can be purchased by contacting the ticket office at (408) 554-4660 or BroncoTickets@scu.edu. Pricing is subject to change.
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