#21 James Madison Men's Soccer 2012 Preview

James Madison University Dukes

Overall Rank: #21
Conference Rank: #2 CAA
James Madison Men's College Soccer 2012 Team Preview
James Madison Team Page


When you open up Head Coach Tom Martin’s bio on the JMU sports website the first sentence reads: “For evidence of Tom Martin’s coaching ability, one merely has to look at the numbers.”  This is nothing short of the truth.  Coach Martin is the winningest active coach in division one with 453 wins. Coach Martin is going into his 36th season coaching on the collegiate level, 27 of which have been with JMU.  Since becoming a Duke in 1986, Martin has led the team to nine NCAA appearances, seven CAA regular season titles, and four CAA tournament crowns.  Coach Martin consistently puts together a winning team year after year which makes the other coaches of the CAA work harder year after year to compete with coach Martin’s squad.  Coach Martin doesn’t take credit for all the success but gives the credit to the team saying in his bio, “we have had a successful combination of 18 to 20 players every year.”  This was true in the 2011 season when the squad took the CAA title for the regular season and made it to the sweet sixteen of the NCAA tournament. With a majority of the 2011 roster returning they will be looking to improve this year and take the CAA crown and the College Cup while giving Coach Martin another winning season to mark in his books.

2011 Record: 13-5-2, 8-3-0
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tom Martin

Returning to the pitch after an outstanding last season, the Dukes’ confidence and motivation is high and they are eager to take the field and continue their winning ways.  The defense and offense both have a good number of players returning so Coach Martin won’t have to worry about filling spots for the most part. Leading the front line will be returning forwards Boyd Reid and Paul Wyatt, who also plays in the midfield position.  Both Reid and Wyatt contributed goals last season. Reid was able to find the net three times and Wyatt scored six goals out of his 21 shots on goal. Backing them up in midfield will be Christian McLaughlin, who led the team with eight assists last year. McLaughlin will be teamed up with Jonathan Barden, Adam Bastidas, Karel Manrau, and Jamal Umar.  

The defense is just as stacked as the offense with a large number of returning players as well. The JMU defensive squad has returning defenders Gene Daniels, Dale Robins-Bailey, Daniel Simpson, Tim Whitebread, Bakari Williams, and Nick Njuki, who also can play in the midfield if Coach Martin needs him too.  Daniel Simpson provided two goals and three assists last season to help the offense. A stacked team on both sides can only mean that the incoming class has players to model themselves after and will be able to learn quickly how to play on the college pitch.

What Coach Martin lacks, however, is a goalie. Justin Epperson finished out his senior season last year playing in every minute of every match, allowing only 25 goals in 20 games. Coach Martin isn’t without his choices for a keeper to fill Epperson’s spot.  Bill Groben, Colin Newcity, and John Ricketti were all on the roster last season but didn’t get the chance to log any minutes. John Ricketti has college level experience playing for New Jersey Tech one season before coming to JMU.  The competition for the keeper position doesn’t stop with the three returning players. Christian Foust from Vandalia, Ohio and Kyle Morton from West Chester, Pennsylvania will be looking to impress Coach Martin in the preseason as well.

Final Projection:
The Dukes will be looking forward to logging another winning season for JMU and Coach Martin going into the 2012 season. The talent of this squad will pose a challenge for all who face it. JMU starts off the season with a pair of exhibition matches before regular season play begins and they will need the practice. JMU goes against defending College Cup holders North Carolina early in September.  The Dukes will also see Loyola and Georgetown who could put up a fight and challenge the keepers for JMU.  The conference matches won’t come any easier for Coach Martin’s squad. They include games against Old Dominion, Delaware, and William & Mary. As long as the offense and defense can keep their momentum from the 2011 season going and with the confidence Coach Martin has in his players, JMU has a great chance of finishing the season in the top ten, making a NCAA appearance and taking the CAA crown.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Paul Wyatt, Senior, M/F, 6
Assists: Christian McLaughlin, Senior, M, 8
Shots: Paul Wyatt, Senior, M/F, 57
Saves: None