#22 UAB Men's Soccer 2014 Preview

UAB Blazers

Overall Rank: #22
#2 Conference USA
#22 UAB Men's Soccer 2014 Preview
UAB Team Page


UAB was looking good for an NCAA Tournament berth with just a few games left in the 2013 campaign. But back to back 4-3 losses to New Mexico and South Carolina doubled their number of losses on the season. The Blazers did manage to beat Marshall in the regular season finale, but a loss to Charlotte in the C-USA Tournament opener left Coach Mike Getman and company on the outside looking in.

2013 Record: 12-5-1, 5-3-1
2013 Postseason: None
Coach: Mike Getman

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Freddy Ruiz, Junior, F, 11
Assists: Diego Navarrete, Senior, F, 7
Shots: Alex Clay, Senior, M, 25
Saves: Joe Kuzminsky, Sophomore, GK, 9

Other Key Returnees: F Rami Dajani, M Pachinno Roberts, D Ian Svantesson, D Darion Copeland, D Lars Willemse

Key Losses: M Patrick Huang, M Moses Adeniran, M Norris Howze, M Chase Wickham, GK Raphael Ville

As those 4-3 losses would indicate, the UAB offense rarely has trouble scoring. The Blazers led the country scoring 2.39 goals per game. With their top three scorers back, this is a team that will once again be one of the best scoring squads in the country. Freddy Ruiz netted a team high 11 goals and added four assists. The impressive statistic for Ruiz is that he only took 24 shots. Of those 24 shots, 18 were on target and, of course, 11 of them went in. Fellow forward Diego Navarrete was nearly as efficient and finished the year with six goals. Navarrete also added seven assists. Senior midfielder Alex Clay scored eight goals and tallied six assists. Those three should be the top scorers for UAB again in 2014. Sophomore forward Rami Dajani was mostly used off of the bench, but he was productive when on the pitch. Whether starting or not, Dajani will be even more dangerous during his sophomore season. Newcomer Lawson Crider spent one year at Carl Sandburg College where he earned junior college All-America honors.

The defense allowed 1.25 goals per game, which is not all that bad, but there is certainly room for improvement. The biggest question is at keeper where Raphael Ville needs to be replaced. Joe Kuzminsky was Ville’s backup last year, but he allowed five goals in just 121 minutes of action. Miguel Hof, a transfer from Lipscomb, will give Kuzminsky some competition. Whoever is in net should have a little easier time with three key defenders returning. Kuzminsky and Hof will still face a lot of shots since that is how UAB tends to play, but having Ian Svantesson, Darion Copeland and Lars Willemse should reduce those easy attempts for the opposition.

Final Projection:
UAB will test themselves early and often. They play both Cal State Northridge and Virginia in the Tulsa Classic. They also face Coastal Carolina and Akron. All of that will prepare the Blazers for conference play. The toughest games come towards the end of the year when UAB has consecutive games against Charlotte, New Mexico and Old Dominion. Those three games could make or break the season for Coach Getman and company.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 2.39 (1st in nation, 1st in conference)
Goals-Against Average: 1.25 (102, 6)
Shutout Percentage: 0.28 (95, 6)
Save Percentage: 0.783 (65, 3)

Madness 2014 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#42 DeAndre Robingson


See All College Sports Madness Top 44 Men's Soccer Previews