Temple men's soccer finished the season with a 2-14-2, 1-6-1 record that ended with a loss to UConn in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament. After being picked to finish fifth in the preseason coaches' poll, the Owls weren't able to meet expectations they set for themselves as they finished in eighth place. However the young squad showed much promise when playing tough opponents and has several building blocks for future success in the tough American Athletic Conference.
"This can't happen again," said Head Coach David MacWilliams
. "We have to build from this year, take the positives and work on the things we need to correct in order for us to be successful again."
MacWilliams set a tough non-conference schedule for his team in 2014 that included two games against ranked teams (#16 Penn State and #23 Delaware) and a four game road trip. The non-conference slate was tough for a young team that had to replace five seniors, including four starters that contributed mightily to last season' success. The roster is made up of 22 underclassmen, tying for the most in the conference. Starting games for Temple this season were 12 underclassmen, with 17 total underclassmen appearing in a game. There were five freshmen that started at least eight games for the Owls: midfielder Felipe Liborio
(16 games), defender Mark Grasela
(12), midfielder Miguel Polley
(15), midfielder Brendon Creed
(nine) and forward Olli Tynkkynen
"We played a very tough schedule," said MacWilliams. "Looking back at it, maybe we weren't ready for it. Our non-conference schedule was pretty tough along with our conference schedule, and we never really gained any momentum throughout the year. I think there were a lot of games that were close and could have gone either way. Unfortunately we were on the short end."
Several individuals had success during the course of the season. Midfielder/forward Jared Martinelli
, defender Robert Sagel
and goalkeeper Dan Scheck
were selected to the second team all-conference, with Sagel and Martinelli selected to the second team for the second season in a row. Martinelli was second on the team in scoring with eight points and led Temple in assists (four). In his three seasons so far he is tied for sixth in career assists in Temple history with 19. Sagel played every single minute of action this year, and has started all 36 games in his career. Scheck has ended his career as one of the best goalkeepers ever to don the cherry and white. He ranks third in career goals allowed average (1.03), ninth in career saves (198) and fourth in career wins (14).
"Robby Sagel is very bright; I think he's a very good player. He is one of our mainstays in the defense back there. There are some things he needs to improve on, and Robby is going to continue to improve. He's a great kid, great for the program. I think he has a bright future ahead of him."
MacWilliams and his coaching staff have put together back-to-back top 20 recruiting classes, bringing in some of his most talented recruits in his tenure these past two years. Eight starters are slated to return next season, with seven of them from these past two recruiting classes. Defender Stefan Mueller
, who missed three conference games due to injury, has started all 33 games played in his two seasons at Temple. Defender Matt Mahoney
played the second most minutes on the team behind Sagel. Liborio was selected to the all-rookie team this season, the third consecutive year that Temple has been represented on the all-rookie team. The two Fins on the team, Tynkkynen and Joonas Jokinen
, showed much offensive potential. Tynkkynen suffered an injury early in the season that made him miss time, and Jokinen missed most of the season with an injury as well. After redshirting last season, Polley and Grasela logged heavy minutes this season. Polley was named the Philadelphia Soccer Six Rookie of the Week on Sept. 15 and selected to the United States under 20 Men's National Training Camp last May along with Sagel. Temple was only one of two schools to have two players selected to the camp.
"Obviously I think we have a good nucleus. Again we're very young and kind of immature this year, but I think moving forward the future is bright for a lot of these players… Felibe Liborio is one player. Matt Mahoney
, Sagel, Stefan Mueller
, just to name a few, but there's quite a few players that are going to be mainstays for the Temple Owls."
The men's soccer program also received great news off the field during the season when it was announced they will be moving away from Ambler Sports Complex to a few blocks away on Broad Street. A new complex/stadium will be built on Broad Street where William Penn High School was to serve home for the men's and women's soccer programs. The two programs will now play within walking distance from campus instead of miles away at the Temple-Ambler campus.
"I think (the new facility) will have a tremendous impact on our program. It's unfortunate that we are up in Ambler. It's a great facility, but unfortunately there are no lights so it's tough for people to get out and see us in the mid-afternoon. I think it's going to be great for our student-athletes not to travel to train and now play in front of the student body. It will help us in recruiting tremendously. It's really going to help the program 100%, so I'm really looking forward to it."Season Recap Interviews with MacWilliams and Sagel