Team captain Yohance Marshall hopes the additions to this year’s squad will translate into success. ORACLE PHOTO
Going into the summer, it looked like the soccer team was due for a rebuilding year after losing six seniors and two players to the Major League Soccer Super Draft.
But the Bulls are reloaded as coach George Kiefer and his staff have added 14 new players, earning a No. 24 ranked recruiting class, according to College Soccer News.
“I have to give the credit to my assistants,” Kiefer said. “They travel all over the world to bring these guys here, and a lot of times their work goes unrecognized as far as all the little things they do.”
The additions have created new position battles for the Bulls, who changed their formation last spring.
“For the first time ever we’re completely open at a lot of spots,” Kiefer said. “Normally you have six or seven guys you’re sure about, but this year we’re going in open-minded about a number of spots.”
Among the new arrivals is Zak Boggs. A former University of Central Florida striker, Boggs was Conference USA’s leading goal scorer last year. Whether or not Boggs and the other recruits will be the perfect fit for the Bulls is determined by a number of factors.
“You have to wait and evaluate them once they’re playing for you,” Kiefer said. “Until they play for you, you don’t know how they’re going to handle the academics, traveling, playing Friday and Sunday, the pace of the game, etc. There are too many variables.”
From the new seats installed behind each goal, fans can expect to see a fast-paced, aggressive Bulls team. Bringing in players with a lot of athleticism was Kiefer’s focus this
“I think we’ll be tough in the back and quick in transition,” Kiefer said.
The 2007 schedule has the Bulls hosting a bevy of Big East teams such as Villanova, DePaul, Cincinnati and expected Red Division winner St. Johns. The game to mark on your calendar, however, is September 21, when the Bulls play the University of Connecticut.
Kiefer was an assistant to Connecticut coach Ray Reid for six years before taking the reigns at USF. At both Southern Connecticut State University and with the Huskies, Kiefer and Reid were successful together. Kiefer now commands a Big East program of his own.
As for Kiefer having that game marked on his calendar, forget it.
“One of the first things I learned from him is to go game by game,” Kiefer said. “That game is so far off it’s not even a thought right now.”