Over the past several years, No. 3 Georgetown has shot to the very top of college soccer. The sport has definitely taken notice. Two Hoyas grabbed Big East preseason Player of the Year honors — senior forward Brandon Allen is the preseason Offensive Player of the Year and junior defender and co-captain Joshua Yaro is the preseason Defensive Player of the Year — and the coaches’ poll picked the team to finish in a tie for first in the conference with No. 6 Creighton. Along with Allen and Yaro, senior defender and co-captain Keegan Rosenberry also made the Big East preseason all-conference team.
The Hoyas, including Allen and Yaro, have clearly earned the recognition they have received in the buildup to the season. A series of very strong recruiting classes and an attractive, advanced style of play has delivered results for the team, earning a trip to the national championship game and a quarterfinal appearance in the NCAA Tournament, as well as a Big East regular season title, all in the last three years. Despite the attention, awards and rankings, the Hoyas are looking to stay firmly focused on the games immediately ahead of them.
“I don’t think it would matter if we were number one in the country or unranked, in terms of how we would approach games, in terms of mentality or preparation or attitude,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said.
Allen and Yaro know what it is like to prepare for the season while in the spotlight as well as any players in the college game today. Along with the conference Player of the Year selections, the two players earned spots on the watch list for the MAC Hermann Trophy, an award given to the top player in the nation. Both could be top-10 picks in the MLS SuperDraft this January. The recognition has not stopped them from concentrating on the season ahead of them.
“Both [Allen] and [Yaro] are really good role models for the rest of the team because they are getting a lot of attention … but they’re handling that with a really good team-first mentality and a really good work rate,” Wiese said.
Allen and Yaro have already shown improvement from the beginning of the preseason, according to Wiese. Yaro is attempting to return to midseason form after a summer of classes, and Allen recovered from a difficult preseason opener with strong performances in the team’s two most recent exhibitions. He scored from a free kick in a 4-0 rout of No. 2 Virginia on Aug. 22.
With Allen leading the offense and Yaro leading the defense, Georgetown has great potential on both sides of the ball this season. Wiese’s fellow coaches are certainly confident in the team’s ability to deliver on that potential, having picked the team to finish in a tie for first in the Big East. This represents a vote of confidence in an incredibly difficult conference.
“I think we’re getting a nice rivalry with all of the teams in the league, which is the fun of it,” Wiese said.
The rivalry with Creighton, the other half of the tie for first in the preseason poll, may become the most interesting of any in the relatively new Big East. After joining the conference in 2013, the Bluejays entered their last two matchups with the Hoyas ranked in the top three in the nation. This year’s game will be played on the final day of the regular season at Shaw Field. Both sides have a lot of soccer to play between now and then, but the ingredients exist for a thrilling end to the regular season.
“Creighton is a really fun team to deal with. … They are absolutely loaded with talent this year. They are hard as hell to play against,” Wiese said. “It’s fun for us because we know that if we slip up, they easily might not all year. They’re that good.”
Georgetown, then, has plenty to live up to in 2015. From ready-made rivalries to individual honors, the Hoyas’ season is set up to be a thrilling one. Wiese, though, does not put too much stock into anything that happens before kickoff.
“That is really all it is: conjecture. At the end of the day, you have to step out onto the field and be better than your opponent,” Wiese said.
The Hoyas will open their season at 7 p.m. on Aug. 28 against Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Fla. The first home game will be Sept. 4 against Akron University.
Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.