Following the defection of veteran goalkeeper Troy Perkins, USF has been splitting time between two players — until now. After a win and two losses, red shirt freshman Dane Brenner has been chosen as the new goalkeeper for USF men’s soccer.
“It is Dane’s job to lose right now,” USF coach George Kiefer said Thursday night.
Brenner was in competition with sophomore transfer Peter Lechak, who started the first five games of the season. Brenner, however, was given the go ahead Sep. 14 against Providence where he began his college career with a shutout.
“Dane has been really solid,” Kiefer said. “He has shown a lot of confidence (and) I am impressed with him right now.”
After the successful start, Brenner struggled, losing two straight last weekend in Milwaukee. Kiefer, however, does not blame the losses on Brenner. Instead, he holds the backfield responsible.
“There are three guys around (Brenner), they need to step up and protect him,” Kiefer said. “It is hard to make a save when it’s just (the goalkeeper) and the (attacking player).”
Breakaway attacks have been a big problem as of late. Kiefer said his team gave up four goals in the past five games from opponent breakaways.
“Even if I go one-on-one, I should save most of (those) shots,” Brenner said.
Brenner is a graduate of High Point Central High in High Point, N.C. He was recruited by former soccer coach John Hackworth. After Kiefer’s overhaul, Brenner is one of the remaining ties that bind USF soccer and its former leader. However, it was Lechak whom Kiefer recruited from the University of Connecticut, and was added to the nationally ranked recruiting class.
Kiefer said he’s starting Brenner instead of Lechak because he simply has more confidence in the freshman. Brenner said he is unsure of the reasons behind the decision.
“Pete (Lechak) is a very good player,” Brenner said. “It must be something they saw in me that they didn’t see in him.”
In USF’s match against Jackson on Aug. 31, Lechak let in a weak kick from 30 yards out, giving Jacksonville the go-ahead goal 42 seconds into the game.
Brenner will start Saturday when USF hosts the Cincinnati Bearcats. A runner-up in the C-USA regular season, Cincinnati has a large returning class, with six seniors leading the way, and Kiefer and his staff have decided to go into the game with guns blazing.
“If we are going to lose we are going to lose attacking,” Kiefer said.