#27 Rutgers Men's Soccer 2012 Preview

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Overall Rank: #27
Conference Rank: #5 Big East Conference
Rutgers Men's College Soccer 2012 Team Preview
Rutgers Team Page


Rutgers’ Head Coach Dan Donigan is going into just his third season in the head honcho spot for the Scarlet Knights but he has already proven himself by making it all the way to the sweet sixteen last year in the NCAA tournament. Rutgers’ fresh coach is combined with fresh players as well.  An incoming class of 12 freshmen joins the veteran squad of just 14. Out of that 14, seven are sophomores leaving only seven more in the junior and senior class. This young team and young coach will get a fresh field to display their talents. Yurcak Field, home of the Scarlet Knights soccer, underwent a renovation during the off-season with the addition of a new Kentucky Bluegrass playing surface. Coach Donigan and the team look forward to the new season and are looking to make another NCAA appearance.

2011 Record: 10-7-4, 6-1-2
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Dan Donigan

With a trying schedule for such a young team, the Scarlet Knights are not without talent.  Returning to the pitch is junior Kene Eze in the forward position and sophomore Juan Pablo Correa who will also log minutes as a forward.  Both Eze and Correa ended last season with six goals and Pablo was able to record five assists on the season. The returning class isn’t the only talent Coach Donigan will be bringing to the field. The upperclassmen will be welcoming a dozen new players all bringing something to the pitch for Rutgers.  Included in that new class are midfielder Mael Corboz and Ross Tetro, who will lend a hand to offense and defense in either midfield or defender slots. Corboz and Tetro were both ranked as top recruits for the 2012 season. The Scarlet Knight offensive front is primarily made up of upper classmen and, combined with the new talent, they will have no trouble netting goals this year.      

Rutgers has a long road ahead of them with a fairly young defensive team. Having just a few returning defensive players could produce some issues going into the new season. Finding players to fill those slots and make up for the loss of former players will be on Coach Donigan’s “get done” list prior to opening the season. Coach Donigan and the youngsters will rely on veteran defender Joe Setchell to prep the six possible new defenders. Setchell played in 18 of the 20 matches last season helping Rutgers to only allowing 31 goals while he contributed a single goal to the Rutgers’ offense. With quite a few holes on the back line and a few more to fill on offense, the Scarlet Knights will struggle a little getting settled before the regular season opener against Fordham on August 24th.

Final Projection:
The Scarlet Knights have been titled as “the dark horse” of the big east conference by collegesoccernews.com, which holds true considering Rutgers is not the favorite pick with their young team going into the 2012 season. The two big preseason exhibition matches against Colgate and then Northwestern will help prepare, not only the veterans on the squad, but the freshman for regular season play. Winning the early matches, including the exhibitions, will boost the young players’ confidence and prove their abilities to the NCAA. Coach Donigan has done great things for the program in his short time with the Scarlet Knights but he needs to keep the momentum going and continue to find talent in the freshman class.  Returning players such as Eze, Correa, and Setchell need to step up in their leadership roles and lend a hand to Coach Donigan in helping the underclassmen find their place.  As long as Rutgers can do that they will be a threat to the Big East and make another NCAA appearance in the 2012 season.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Kene Eze, Junior, F, 6; Juan Pablo Correa, Sophomore, F, 6
Assists: Juan Pablo Correa, Sophomore, F, 5
Shots: Juan Pablo Correa, Sophomore, F, 42
Saves: Kevin McMullen, Senior, GK, 69

Madness 2012 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#48 Mael Corboz
#83 Ross Tetro
#138 Mitchell Taintor