#37 Bradley Men's Soccer 2012 Preview

Bradley Braves

Overall Rank: #37
Conference Rank: #2 Missouri Valley Conference
Bradley Men's College Soccer 2012 Team Preview
Bradley Team Page


The Bradley Braves men’s soccer crew returns to the field for the 2012 season under the watchful eye of head coach Jim DeRose. Coach DeRose is going into his 17th season and has led Bradley to eight national rankings and six NCAA tournament appearances. The Braves achieved a winning season, but faltered in the MVC semifinals and fell to a tough Louisville team in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Coach DeRose and his team will be looking to sweep the MVC this season in hopes of taking home the conference crown and moving on to the NCAA tournament, where they will again be a dangerous out for any opponent.

2011 Record: 15-6-2, 4-2-0
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jim DeRose

Bradley didn’t see many losses in players after the ’11 season so they will go into 2012 with a very experienced squad. Returning to the pitch this year are forwards Jochen Graf and Wojciech Wojcik, who both added goals to the Braves total 35 in the 2011 season. The Braves welcome back defenders Keegan Balle and Alexei Davies-Campbell, along with midfielders Ross Williams and Lucian Boyd, who is looking to log some minutes this season. Brian Billings an all-conference second team and all region third team honoree will be tending goal this season. Billings played all 22 games for the Braves in 2011 allowing only 21 goals and tracking 93 saves. Bradley is not just a veteran team either; they have added several new players to the 2012 roster to keep their team fresh on the field throughout the season.

Although Bradley has options, they have to find someone to fill the shoes of their leading scorer, Bryan Gaul who they lost to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the 2012 MLS Supplemental draft. Gaul, an aggressive shooter, led the team last year with 11 goals while playing in all 23 matches of the season. Coach DeRose will be looking to one of the returning players or new additions to step up and fill that slot. With the loss of Christian Meza, another aggressive shooter for Bradley, the Braves will be looking for key players that not only can make goals but are not afraid to take shots.

Final Projection:
Even with the two lead shot takers gone, Bradley has plenty of talent that gives them the opportunity to create goals on their opponents and that makes them strong contenders for a conference championship. With the returning defense of Balle, Davies-Campbell, and Billings in the goal, Bradley has built a solid foundation in the back that has shown to be impenetrable at times. They only allowed 22 goals last season and this year could be even better.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Jochen Graf, Senior, F, 4; Wojciech Wojcik, Junior, F, 3
Assists: Jochen Graf, Senior, F, 3; Wojciech Wojcik, Junior, F, 3
Shots: Jochen Graf, Senior, F, 38
Saves: Brian Billings, Junior, GK, 93