All across the country, college soccer student athletes are undergoing a familiar rite of passage; fitness tests. Those dreaded words are the harbinger of temporary suffering, sure, but also the excitement of a new soccer season.
Fresh off a stellar 2018 campaign that saw a return to the NCAA tournament in dramatic fashion, the UConn men’s soccer team has a chance to build on last year’s success. To help do so, the Huskies welcomed 15 newcomers as a part of the 2019 recruiting class. The group consists of five transfers and 10 true freshman, a necessity considering the departure list. The 2019 class boasts new talent that’s global (Senegal, Ghana, Morocco, France), local (five hail from Connecticut), and seasoned (three transferring in from the ACC.) Below is a quick breakdown of the new faces.
Ben Awashie: The freshman hails from the Volta region of Ghana, and was selected to participate in a West African Tournament Championship Tournament held in Gabon. Awashie is a member of Phoenix academy – a sport and education charity that supports socio-economically disadvantaged teenagers with unique potential and equips them with the opportunities to have a bright future.
Ahdan Tait: It’s a homecoming of sorts for Tait, the Bridgeport, Connecticut native who transferred in from the University of Virginia. A Generation Adidas player, he was also part of the U.S. Training Center squad to play against the El Salvador U-20 National Team.
Djimon Johnson: Another homecoming for the local talent. During two seasons at Syracuse, the Bridgeport, Connecticut, native made 15 starts in 31 career games for the Orange.
Jayden Reid: The incoming freshman comes from the New York Red Bulls Academy, and will look to break into the squad as a winger.
Marcus Peterkin: Ranked as the top goalkeeper in New Jersey and No. 4 in the country according to Top Drawer Soccer.
Wesley Leggett: Another player from the New Jersey pipeline who played club ball for Match Fit Academy. Match Fit has an extensive list of both Husky and MLS talent.
Josh Morgan: The incoming freshman out of Baltimore Armour club will add depth to the outside back spot while being groomed to take the position over in the future.
Moussa Wade: Wade hails from Dakar, Senegal and the Diambars Academy, where Abdou Mbacke-Thiam was a graduate. He was Diambars’ leading scorer this past season, and likely feature in both midfield and forward.
Thomas Decottignies: UConn struck gold with the French-born 2019 tri-captain Robin Lapert last year, so why not double-down? Decottignies played for IC de Croix soccer club, and before that, the vaunted Lille Academy.
Chris Alwang: Local product who played club ball for mighty Oakwood, logging 12 goals last season.
Owen Guglielmino: Another Oakwood kid with 15 goals to his name.
Joey Zarra: A midfielder for Oakwood but will likely be converted to play on the backline for UConn.
On Sunday, the Huskies’ season will kick off with a preseason tune-up against Rutgers, who’s coached by Connecticut soccer legend Jim McElderry.