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Spring 2024


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Last week we learned of the Zips’ upcoming participation in The College Spring League.  Fantastic!  We are really looking forward to these matches against quality competition.  This particular Spring indicates fresh lifeblood arriving to a program in desperate need of a transfusion.  Yes.  Desperate. 

I could not help but notice how the advertisement for The College Spring League boasted four participants in the previous NCAA MSOC Tournament, Akron not among those.  And like rubbing alcohol applied to a flesh wound, the pain was searing and immediate, but ultimately worth bearing.  Zips missed the NCAA Tournament.  I can talk about it now.

 

It is so unconscionable that one must reference the records to believe it:   A handful of departing Akron seniors (because of the COVID-19 exemption) played 5 years of eligibility without ever winning an NCAA Tournament match.  Even though this sad fact is mercifully in the past, out of respect for the players’ effort, I will not name the names.  We know who they are.  How many times in program history have the Zips missed the Tournament?  Not bloody often!  Somebody can research that if they like.  Suffice it to say that Akron has qualified for the Tourney the great majority of the time, especially in recent decades. 

 

It is rarer still to find a player who exhausted all 4 years of their eligibility without an NCAA Tourney victory.   It has happened more often than I would have guessed before consulting the books.  The last class to play 4 years sans NCAA win was in the early 2000s under Ken Lolla.  It is extraordinary that any player be granted 5 years of eligibility.  Injuries and medical redshirt seasons usually accompany such scenarios.  To think that a few players were around that long without even one NCAA post- season success is just astounding.

 

The easy rationale would be to blame the afore-referenced players.  They were not tough enough; they were of insufficient quality.   “Good riddance!  Bring in the new guys!”  Surely participants ultimately rule any athletic contest.   Having the best player almost always prevails over having the best coach.  Sports is the essential reality drama.  But in this instance, to place 100% of the fault on the players would be lazy if not disingenuous.

 

I frankly trust that our coaching staff is severely scrutinizing themselves and each other.  THEY are culpable.  This result is not OK.  This will not stand.  THEY must hold themselves accountable.  THEY must hold each other accountable.  It is (past) time to rigorously re-evaluate previously successful methods and techniques. 

Change your process, coach.  Test the old ways; keep only what proves out as viable.  Scrap the rest.  Assimilate new ideas and perspectives.

Either you make changes or changes will be made for you.

 

In the new millennium, Akron Zips MSOC have risen from the morass of anonymity, rerouting the apathy and mediocrity plaguing most MSOC programs.  But we can easily return to that quagmire.  We are much closer to it than most suspect.

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On 1/10/2024 at 5:48 PM, fknbuflobo said:

Last week we learned of the Zips’ upcoming participation in The College Spring League.  Fantastic!  We are really looking forward to these matches against quality competition.  This particular Spring indicates fresh lifeblood arriving to a program in desperate need of a transfusion.  Yes.  Desperate. 

I could not help but notice how the advertisement for The College Spring League boasted four participants in the previous NCAA MSOC Tournament, Akron not among those.  And like rubbing alcohol applied to a flesh wound, the pain was searing and immediate, but ultimately worth bearing.  Zips missed the NCAA Tournament.  I can talk about it now.

 

It is so unconscionable that one must reference the records to believe it:   A handful of departing Akron seniors (because of the COVID-19 exemption) played 5 years of eligibility without ever winning an NCAA Tournament match.  Even though this sad fact is mercifully in the past, out of respect for the players’ effort, I will not name the names.  We know who they are.  How many times in program history have the Zips missed the Tournament?  Not bloody often!  Somebody can research that if they like.  Suffice it to say that Akron has qualified for the Tourney the great majority of the time, especially in recent decades. 

 

It is rarer still to find a player who exhausted all 4 years of their eligibility without an NCAA Tourney victory.   It has happened more often than I would have guessed before consulting the books.  The last class to play 4 years sans NCAA win was in the early 2000s under Ken Lolla.  It is extraordinary that any player be granted 5 years of eligibility.  Injuries and medical redshirt seasons usually accompany such scenarios.  To think that a few players were around that long without even one NCAA post- season success is just astounding.

 

The easy rationale would be to blame the afore-referenced players.  They were not tough enough; they were of insufficient quality.   “Good riddance!  Bring in the new guys!”  Surely participants ultimately rule any athletic contest.   Having the best player almost always prevails over having the best coach.  Sports is the essential reality drama.  But in this instance, to place 100% of the fault on the players would be lazy if not disingenuous.

 

I frankly trust that our coaching staff is severely scrutinizing themselves and each other.  THEY are culpable.  This result is not OK.  This will not stand.  THEY must hold themselves accountable.  THEY must hold each other accountable.  It is (past) time to rigorously re-evaluate previously successful methods and techniques. 

Change your process, coach.  Test the old ways; keep only what proves out as viable.  Scrap the rest.  Assimilate new ideas and perspectives.

Either you make changes or changes will be made for you.

 

In the new millennium, Akron Zips MSOC have risen from the morass of anonymity, rerouting the apathy and mediocrity plaguing most MSOC programs.  But we can easily return to that quagmire.  We are much closer to it than most suspect.

Everybody should be excited for the Spring League. I didn’t get to any games the last time Akron entered it, but I would assume playing meaningful games is better than playing semi pro/pro USL teams for the athletes.  I am excited to see more of Reilly and Dreas with Borneo and new guys also coming in. 
 

I can only assume by the “makes changes” you mean to the athletes themselves? Moving student athletes on isn’t quite as simple as that. To move Joey Paulus, Will Jackson and Sammy Tojaga “on” is not quite that easy. Those guys love Akron Soccer. From a coaches perspective, I would assume they were in the line up for those very reasons. To suggest coaches were wrong for choosing them is pathetic. 

 

However, you have managed to go 2 months without just ridiculing the staff but you can’t see to post without helping yourself. Have you ever spoken with the staff about their ideas, plans and recruitment? I have not spoken with coach Embick personally, but I would assume his door with open for conversations. My guess is you will hide behind the computer screen. To say you trust the coaching staff is just a lie. You Havnt said a positive thing about them in a long time. Check your posts. 

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1 hour ago, YipaZip said:

 I am excited to see more of Reilly and Dreas with Borneo and new guys also coming in.

 

More of Daragh Reilly, Matt Dreas, Jackson Herbert and Josh Hardin with Caleb Borneo, Nate Ferguson and Josh Bartels, whom I thought was joining last Fall, + the new players. I'm very much looking forward to 2024.

 

 

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16 hours ago, YipaZip said:

 

I can only assume by the “makes changes” you mean to the athletes themselves? Moving student athletes on isn’t quite as simple as that. To move Joey Paulus, Will Jackson and Sammy Tojaga “on” is not quite that easy. 

 

 

You are replying to a post that talked about players that did not win an NCAA tournament match during their eligibility.   Your response should not include Sammy Tojaga.   Sammy Tojaga started in 5 Zip NCAA tournament wins.   In 2018, Sammy started in wins over Rider, #16 seed Syracuse (on the road), #1 seed Wake Forest (on the road), 3 time defending champion Stanford (on the road) and Michigan State (in the college cup semis).   The Michigan State game was a blowout as the zips put up 5 goals.   Coach Embick was able to utilize many bench players in the 2nd half.  Sammy only had to play 67 minutes in the Spartan game.

 

Sammy Tojaga was healthy in 2018 and Sammy played all 90 minutes in the first 4 NCAA tournament games.   

 

I would be remiss if I did not point out that the zips had a different coaching staff in 2018.   Coach Embick, Coach Coppinger, Leo Chappel (for most of the year) and TJ Kolba.

 

Our coaching staff from 2019 to 2023 has included Coach Embick , Coach Coppinger and Coach Nanchoff.   Attila is not shown on the zips web site so I am not sure how many years that he has been on staff.   Zips fans have been blessed to see many NCAA tournament wins in the Porter and Embick coaching eras.   Coach Embick and the Stanford head coach were the only 2 coaches to guide their teams to 3 college cups in a 4 year span (2015-2018).   None of us like it but the fact remains that the zips have not won an NCAA tournament game with this current coaching staff in the past 5 years.   I am fully confident that this coaching staff is doing everything possible to make the changes needed for 2024.   Dyson Clapier and Malik Henry coming back to school.....shows great confidence in the coaching staff and their teammates.

 

Clearly, all teams deal with injuries and the zips have probably been more negatively impacted than most teams.   Sammy Tojaga had a medical redshirt year in 2021.     I truly believe that the zips (with a healthy Sammy Tojaga playing 90 minutes) would have beaten Santa Clara in the NCAA first round game.   In 2023, the zips played all year without their #1 recruit , Caleb Borneo.     I have never seen Caleb Borneo play in person but I do think that the zips would have made the 2023 NCAA tourney with a healthy Caleb Borneo.

 

That being said, I think that the zips coaching staff has done an outstanding job of adding news players for spring 2024 and fall 2024.     I think that the zips 2024 recruiting class is severely underrated by the "so-called recruiting experts".    The 2024 recruiting class is being evaluated on James Buebendorf, Kamden Held and the 4 other domestic recruits.

 

In reality, the 2024 domestic recruits should also include Josh Bartels (who as mentioned above....was considered a 23 recruit) and Outstanding 2023 recruits Caleb Borneo and 6'4 forward Nathan Ferguson(Borneo and Ferguson were 2023 recruits that were injured and could not play all year).   Caleb Borneo was rated 4 stars by Top Drawer Soccer (TDS) and was one of the top 50 recruits in 2023(24 of the top 25 recruits in 2023 went pro and did not go to college).    

 

I am very excited about the 3 Canadian recruits that will join the team in the fall.   Simon Guardiero at age 17 played in a 19 and under  league and played 880 minutes in 11 games and his Sigma FC team won the under 19 league.  Remi Agunbiade at age 17 played in a 19 and  under league and led his Vaughn SC team in scoring with 7 goals in 11 games.    Jamai Royer at age 17 played in a 19 and under league and played 811 minutes in 11 games.    The zips are also adding in January a 20 year old defensive midfielder from Germany.       TDS is evaluating the 2024 class primarily based on the 6 domestic recruits.   In reality, the zips should be evaluated on the 6 domestic recruits and the 7 other players that I have mentioned above.

 

In addition, the Zips have added some excellent transfers.  The zips have added a player that had 9 assists for his Division 1 team and was selected first team all league in a league that had 3 teams rated in the top 25.   The zips have also added a defensive center back that was rated as the #68 best recruit nationwide by TDS in the 2023 recruiting year.  The defensive center back was also rated 4 stars by TDS in 2023.

 

By my count, the Zips will add 7 new players to the roster in January 2024.  I am hopeful that Caleb Borneo and Nathan Ferguson will be able to make their zip soccer debuts in Spring 2024.    The zips highest rated 2024 recruit, James Buebendorf, is one of the 7 new players that will join the team in January.   The German Holding midfielder will also join the team in January.

 

That is 9  players making their zips debuts in Spring 2024.......5 more new domestic recruits coming in the fall.   3 Canadian recruits coming in the fall.   I suspect that the coaches will probably add at least one more European recruit for the fall.

 

By my count, that is 17 new players for the spring and fall....that none of us have seen.      I am very excited to see how the new players do in the spring and I am also excited to see more of Daniel Firek, Dreas, Hardin, Herbert, etal.

Edited by TennZip
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16 hours ago, Zip_ME87 said:

 

More of Daragh Reilly, Matt Dreas, Jackson Herbert and Josh Hardin with Caleb Borneo, Nate Ferguson and Josh Bartels, whom I thought was joining last Fall, + the new players. I'm very much looking forward to 2024.

 

 

 

I should have included Daniel Firek (looking to see more of him) and Ryan Kopay (looking forward to seeing him play with the Zips) from 2023.

 

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https://gculopes.com/news/2024/1/5/mens-soccer-kiefer-announces-chappel-as-associate-head-coach.aspx

 

...Prior to that, Chappel was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Akron, where he served for five seasons. In his time there, the Zips won five Mid-American Conference regular-season and tournament championships and made the NCAA tournament five times, including three College Cup appearances and a 2018 national runner-up team.
 
With Chappel as assistant coach, Akron totaled a 76-26-13 record with a postseason mark of 12-2-3. After five seasons, the Zips held the best winning percentage in D-I soccer over that time period. ...

 

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On 1/15/2024 at 9:57 PM, Zip_ME87 said:

https://gculopes.com/news/2024/1/5/mens-soccer-kiefer-announces-chappel-as-associate-head-coach.aspx

 

...Prior to that, Chappel was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Akron, where he served for five seasons. In his time there, the Zips won five Mid-American Conference regular-season and tournament championships and made the NCAA tournament five times, including three College Cup appearances and a 2018 national runner-up team.
 
With Chappel as assistant coach, Akron totaled a 76-26-13 record with a postseason mark of 12-2-3. After five seasons, the Zips held the best winning percentage in D-I soccer over that time period. ...

 

Interesting press release. Looks like Coach Chappel has convinced people he was on staff for the 2018 conference title and tournament run when he was no longer part of the coaching staff then. 

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19 hours ago, YipaZip said:

Interesting press release. Looks like Coach Chappel has convinced people he was on staff for the 2018 conference title and tournament run when he was no longer part of the coaching staff then. 

 

That's a good point. As I recall, Coach Chappel was with the Zips much of the 2018 regular season and definitely gone for postseason. The Zips overall record and postseason mark quoted as "With Chappel as assistant coach..." are incorrect if they include the 2018 postseason.

 

 

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19 hours ago, YipaZip said:

 Looks like Coach Chappel has convinced people he was on staff for the 2018 conference title and tournament run when he was no longer part of the coaching staff then. 

 

By the way, I doubt Coach Chappel "convinced" the writer of anything. Writers have become extremely lazy and don't seem to fact check much. I see this from our SID, and I also loathe reading UA's AI written game summaries. Ugh!

 

 

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On 1/19/2024 at 2:45 PM, fknbuflobo said:

Why did Leo Chappel leave Zips MSOC right before 2018 postseason?  Seems curious timing for a career change.  That question has always nagged at me.

A former administrator told me he got fired but would not say for what. 

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The Dayton Flyers will be playing at Akron on Saturday April 6......at 5 pm...in the spring college league

I would suspect that the zips 3 other spring college league games against Michigan, Michigan State and Bowling Green will occur on Saturdays in the month of March.

I am really looking forward to seeing how all of these new players do.   Go, Zips !!!.....I think that they have a good chance of playing in Crew Stadium on April 13.

 

 

https://daytonflyers.com/news/2024/1/29/mens-soccer-mens-soccer-announces-spring-schedule.aspx

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On 1/30/2024 at 1:07 PM, TennZip said:

I am really looking forward to seeing how all of these new players do.   Go, Zips !!!.....I think that they have a good chance of playing in Crew Stadium on April 13.

 

 

I anxiously await seeing our Zips Mens Soccer team in action this Spring, and think they have the players to do well v the competition.

 

The Zips play at BUGS on Friday, March 22nd ... https://bgfalconmedia.com/154074/sports/bgsu-mens-soccer-reveals-2024-college-spring-league-schedule/

 

As in the past, all of the teams will play their final game in Historic Crew Stadium.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Michigan State will play at Akron on Saturday March 9

We now know  that Akron's 2 home games  in the college spring league will be Dayton on April 6  and the Spartans on March 9

We know that the zips...play at Bowling Green on Friday March 22.

     The zips will play at Michigan in their 4th college spring league game  (that date has not yet been published by either Michigan or Akron)

 

 

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21 minutes ago, NYC ZIP said:

Let’s get some team chemistry going and hit the fall with a vengeance. Load those chips on those shoulders.  Zips got work to do!

Agreed.  Given the present state of the program, this Spring schedule is more important than it is in most years.  Zips need some collective success on which to build.  

 

Zips got work to do!  

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Saturday March 9, 5 pm, Michigan St at Akron

Sunday March 17, 5 pm, Akron at Michigan

Friday March 22, 7 pm, Akron at BUGS

Saturday April 6, 5 pm  Dayton at Akron

Saturday April 13, TBD, Akron v TBD at Historic Crew Stadium

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On Saturday March 2nd, the zips soccer fans....that live in NE Ohio  .....will get to see the Zips debut of 8 exciting new players....as the zips will play 2 games on March 2nd against an under 19 Canadian soccer club...and against an under 21 team from that same soccer club....

 

Making their Zips Debuts - 6 January additions

Maximus Barboto

Joshua Bartels

James Buebendorf

Nicholas Beier

Beto Ydrach

Devin Armstrong

 

and 2 very talented redshirt freshman  (injured, could not play in the fall)

Caleb Borneo

Nathan Ferguson

 

You will notice that the Zips .....will have a lot of players on their team.....with a last name beginning with B

 

How many of the 11 zips starters in the fall...will have a last name beginning with B?

Jonas Buechte  ?

Mitchell Budler   ?

Caleb Borneo  ?

Maximus Barboto  ?

James Buebendorf  ?

Nicholas Beier  ?

Joshua Bartels  ?

 

    I am really excited.......to see how this exciting group of zips do in the spring campaign.....Go, Zips  !!!

    

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