By Annie Moore –
The University of Louisville men’s soccer team had a successful season in 2012, to say the least. Big East Red Division champions, NCAA tournament quarterfinals and an overall record or 14-6-1, 7-1-0 in conference play would be a tough act for any team to follow. But Head Coach Ken Lolla has reloaded the Cardinals for what looks to be another exciting season in 2013.
Possibly the biggest challenge for the NCAA Preseason #25 ranked Louisville team will be replacing defensive midfielder Andrew Farrell, who not only lead the Cardinals last season, but was also the first-overall pick in last year’s Major League Soccer SuperDraft. The Cards will also be missing Greg Cochrane and Paolo DelPiccolo, both of whom were selected in the second round of the MLS SuperDraft.
Hoping to fill the void are some of the top transfers in the country, Nolan Moore and Louie Berra at midfield, as well as defenders Mitch Lurie and Jimmy Ockford. The class of impact recruits — which also includes forward Jonathan Brown, formerly of the University of Kentucky — all have collegiate experience and will need to step in and make a difference right away. The transfers will have help from another exciting recruiting class, which includes defender Andrew Brody and midfielders Romilio Hernandez and Jeremy DeGraffenriedt.
Perhaps the biggest piece of the Cards success the season will be the return of MF Will Vitalis. Vitalis lead the team in assists and shots last season, with seven and 35 respectively. Other returning players include MF Marlon Hairston and MF Ade Akinsanya who both helped Louisville’s defense end last season with seven shutouts.
The 2013 team will undoubtedly look different from the vastly successful 2012 team, but if it can learn to adjust to the losses and focus on the talent of the new additions, it could see much success in its only season in the American Athletic Conference before heading to the highly-competitive Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014.