Blue Demons Looking to Grow Their Game
March 16, 2011
CHICAGO - Spring is the season for growth, and that's exactly what DePaul men's soccer coach Craig Blazer has in mind for his young team.
The 16 redshirt and true freshmen who went through a season of discovery in 2010 will look to develop a winning edge in a five-week spring exhibition season that begins with games against Valparaiso and Butler on April 2nd at Notre Dame.
The Blue Demons will play a nine-game schedule highlighted by the Second Annual Chicago Cup April 16 at Loyola. DePaul will open against Illinois-Chicago while Northwestern tangles with the host Ramblers. The winners will meet for the title and the losers will face off in the consolation game.
"Right now we're developing a team attitude, and the guys are excited about working hard for one another," Blazer said. "We are stressing defense from back to front and also finding ways to create scoring opportunities.
"These spring games give our younger players an opportunity to gain experience. Having brought in so many new guys last year, they need to play.
"After the spring season, I will formulate our depth chart. I want to know what my options are at goalkeeper, defender, midfield and with attacking players."
Blazer has an idea what eight of his freshmen can do.
Austin Toth and Ray De Leon started in 17 games with Toth scoring a goal and De Leon recording two goals and one assist. Art Garza started 12 times and contributed a pair of assists. Stephen Korosis had five starts, Jared Blincow three and Mauricio Velasco two. David Leverentz had one start while Zach Forbes played in five games.
"Those eight will be looking to earn more playing time or to secure a spot in the starting lineup," Blazer said. "The rest of that young group will be trying to get on the field and maybe even break into the lineup.
"Last year, all these young players were individually gaining experience amidst the four or five smaller groups within the team. This year, it's more of a collective learning.
"We are in the process of discovering who we are. These guys have to keep climbing and attain their spots."
"Matt was a co-captain last year and has really embraced the responsibility of taking charge," Blazer said. "That's just awesome for the team. He is someone the younger guys can look up to for guidance.
"John is really beginning to emerge as our vocal leader."
The Blue Demons are looking to extend their five-year run of qualifying for the BIG EAST Championship tournament.
"We're excited about the direction the program is headed," Blazer said. "Now is the time for our young guys to dedicate themselves to bringing their game to the next level."