2010 Men's Soccer Preview

Providence, RI- With the return of 20 players from last year's squad, the Brown University men's soccer team will look to build on its success from last season and contend for its 20th Ivy League title and make its 24th appearance in the NCAA Tournament.  Under the direction of first-year head coach Patrick Laughlin, the Bears will look to senior captains David Walls (Leeds, England) and Paul Grandstrand (Orono, MN) to guide the returners as well as the team's six newcomers both on and off the field.

"It's an exciting time for Brown men's soccer," said Laughlin.  "There is a new staff and a new challenge ahead of us.  We have a great schedule which includes home games against No. 17-nationally ranked St. John's and No. 20 Indiana.  We will also be hosting the final day of the Ocean State Classic and we will once again be hosting our annual Brown Soccer Classic."
 

DEFENSE:

A perennial strength of the Bears, the defensive unit looks to be strong once again this year.   The back line returns its top two defenders in Walls and sophomore Dylan Remick (Inverness, IL), who anchored the defense last season that allowed just 16 goals as the squad registered seven shutouts on the year. 

Walls, an Honorable Mention All-Ivy selection and a third-team NSCAA Northeast Region selection, was named a captain for the second consecutive season and played and started in 18 contests last year.  He scored two goals and handed out two assists last season and was a CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District honoree. 

Remick, a Britton Chichester Award winner  (given to the freshman soccer player who contributed the most to the team) stepped in and made an immediate impact for the Bears last season.  The rookie started in 16 of 17 games and scored two goals and handed out one assist in 2009.  Solidifying the defense are returners Ryan McDuff (Plano, TX), Ian Smith (Arlington, TX) and Evan Coleman (Amherst, MA).
McDuff also stepped in right away during his freshman campaign and started in 14 of 17 games for the Bears.  Smith has made a full recovery after his pre-season injury that sidelined him for the majority of last year, but his solid sophomore campaign showed promise as he helped lead Brown's defense secure eight shutouts and allowed just 18 goals on the year.   Coleman earned Honorable Mention All-Ivy honors last season and played and started in all 19 games for Brown.  The tough junior defender scored one goal and handed out one assist last season, and was a Britton Chichester Award winner during his rookie campaign.
Also helping the defense will be Kevin Gavey (Fairfield, CT), Brice Gumpel (La Canada, CA), Aidan Leonard (Camarillo, CA), Sean McGrath (Indian Orchard, MA) and Eric Robertson (San Antonio, TX).
 

MIDFIELD:

A deep and talented midfield should be the strength of the 2010 Bears, as junior Honorable Mention All-Ivy selection Rob Medairos (Stafford, VA), sophomore Thomas McNamara (West Nyack, NY) and senior Jon Okafor (Verona, NJ) return to the starting lineup.

Medairos started in 15 of 17 games for Bruno last season and tallied one assist, which came during the Bears' thrilling 1-0 double overtime NCAA Tournament victory against Stony Brook.  McNamara sparked the squad immediately last season and tied for the team-lead in goals with five, all of which were game-winners.   The sophomore's five game-winners led the Ivy League, and he ranked third in the league in goals scored and ninth in shots-per-game. 

Okafor has been a solid force in his last three seasons with the Bears.  Okafor played in 17 contests last season and started in nine.   While he tallied just two goals for the Bears, Okafor stepped up to be near the top in assists as he handed out five.  Junior Taylor Gorman (Freeport, ME) saw action in 16 games last season and picked up five points on two goals and an assist, and juniors Jay Hayward (Acton, MA) and Mike Manella (Toluca Lake, CA) are also expected to make big contributions to the midfield. 

Hayward competed in 13 games and added a goal and two assists in 2009, while Manella started in 13 of 19 contests with three assists to his name.  Also, sophomore Bobby Belair (Myrtle Beach, SC) and freshman Jack Kuntz (Chatham, NJ) are expected to add depth and vie for time on the field.  Belair returns after missing the entire 2009 season due to an injury, and Kuntz joins the squad from leading Chatham High School to a NJ State Cup Championship in both 2008 and 2009.

FORWARDS:

Brown's potent offense scored 32 goals last season and saw 12 different individuals adding to the scoring.  The Bears welcome back a core of talented and experienced attacking options that should match the offensive firepower of a season ago.  Junior Sean Rosa (Montreal, Quebec) returns to Brown's front line as the Bears top offensive threat as he combined for 16 points last season with five goals and a team-high six assists.  The First Team All-Ivy selection knocked in one game-winner last season in Brown's first-round double overtime NCAA Tournament victory against Stony Brook.   Rosa ranked sixth in the Ivy League in shots on goal (17) and eighth in goals. 

Also returning for the Bears is junior Austin Mandel (Tarzana, CA) and junior T.J. Popolizio (Rexford, NY).   Tied for the team-lead in goals last season, Mandel started in nine of 14 contests for the Bears and netted two game-winners for the Bears.   Popilizio, a two-sport athlete at Brown, saw action in 13 games last season and scored his first career goal and assist in a 2-1 victory over the Yale Bulldogs.   Also helping the offense will be freshman Voltaire Escalona (Blue Bell, PA), who was a four-year varsity starter at Germantown Academy and a three-time All-Inter AC League First Team Choice and All-Area team member. 

GOALKEEPING:

Brown's goalkeeping will once again be strong, as First Team All-Ivy senior goalkeeper Paul Grandstrand (Orono, MN) will be back between the pipes.  The 2007 Ivy League's Rookie of the Year, boasted a 10-3-5 record last season which included five shutouts.   He competed 1707:54 minutes and allowed just 15 goals (0.79 gaa) and tallied 55 saves (.786 save %).  He also received the team's Thomas Gertken Award, which is given to the team's top defensive player.  Grandstrand had a phenomenal rookie campaign where he strung together an undefeated 10-0-1 regular-season record.   

Sophomore Sam Kernan-Schloss (Arlington, VA) returns having gained valuable experience learning from Grandstrand last season.  The Bears are adding 6-foot-2 freshman Josh Weiner (Armonk, NY) to the mix, who posted a 40-3-2 record at Byram Hills High School as a two-year varsity starter.