#39 South Florida Men's Soccer 2012 Preview

USF Bulls

2012 Overall Rank: #39
Conference Rank: #8 Big East
South Florida Men's Soccer 2012 Team Preview
South Florida Team Page


South Florida picked a good time to break in their new beautiful soccer facilities at Corbett Soccer Stadium. The team managed to go 7-1-2 in a very, very tough Big East and easily reached the NCAA Tournament. Once there, the Bulls knocked off UCF in the second round and advanced via penalty kicks against undefeated New Mexico. In the Elite Eight, USF ran into a very talented Creighton squad, but held their own until an overtime goal sent South Florida home. This group is not as talented as they were last year, so another stellar year in the Big East is a tall task, but the Bulls have enough talent to get back to the tournament.

2011 Record: 13-4-4, 7-1-2
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: George Kiefer

The good news is that there are a lot of experienced players returning. Unfortunately, none of them are named Dom Dwyer. Dwyer scored 16 goals last season and finding a new scorer will be job number one for Coach George Kiefer. Of the returning players, there are options. Stiven Salinas is an experienced senior, but failed to net a goal in 2011. Kevin Olali has some strike power too and could emerge as more of a goal scoring threat now that there are shots available to go around. While scoring goals will be an issue, setting up the goal scorers, whoever they may be, will not. Kyle Nicholls is a savvy playmaker in the midfield and Wesley Charpie tallied six assists during his freshman campaign. Add Sebastien Thuriere, Leston Paul and Lucas Baldin to the mix and USF has a deep and talented midfield.

The defense will have some issues to address after losing Aubrey Perry and keeper Chris Blais. Perry is playing with the Columbus Crew and his leadership in the back will be missed. Blais was one of the best keepers in the country last season, allowing just .814 goals per game. Replacing Blais will likely be Eric Osswald. The 6-3 junior has been biding his time behind Blais and should be ready to take over, but living up to the expectations that Blais has created will not be easy…especially without Perry in front of the goal helping him out. The return of senior defender and midfielder Ashani Fairclough will certainly help. Fairclough is a versatile player who tallied four assists in 2011, but this year he will be asked to help out on defense more often...and he can do that very well. The defensive issues are extremely important, but replacing Dwyer is the bigger concern. Coach George Kiefer hopes transfers Samuel Hosseini and Edwin Moslosi will do the trick. Hosseini is a great playmaker and a proven player at the junior college ranks. Few junior colleges prepare soccer players for the jump to the Division I level like Tyler Junior College in Texas. Hosseini is not a true scorer like Dwyer, but he is a crafty and tough midfielder who can avoid mistakes and simply make plays. They may not be spectacular plays, but Hosseini gets the job done. It is hoped that Moslosi can add a little more of a scoring punch, although the returning players are capable as well. The scary statistic is that the next leading goal scorer behind Dwyer last season was Leston Paul and three of his four goals came from the penalty spot.

Final Projection:
We likely saw the best of South Florida in 2011, but that does not mean the Bulls will be dropping very far. There are certainly questions to be addressed all over the field, but this is a program that has been building up their talent level and they will not drop too far off of the national radar. A Big East title may be out of reach for now, but this is a group that could be very dangerous in November and that is all that matters, as long as they can overcome their losses relatively quickly and avoid a very disappointing season that does not result in an NCAA Tournament berth.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Leston Paul, Junior, M, 4
Assists: Wesley Charpie, Sophomore, M, 6
Shots: Seastien Thuriere, M, 37
Saves: None

Madness 2013 MLS Draft Rankings:
#25 Ashani Fairclough