The Creighton Bluejays men’s soccer team begins regular season play this weekend. Ahead of the season opener, WBR will preview each position for the nationally ranked Bluejays. Today, we look at the midfield for Elmar Bolowich’s first CU squad.
Coach Elmar Bolowich’s Bluejays line up in a 4-3-3 formation, designed to maintain an up-tempo, aggressive style. Some of the players listed here may take on more offensive or defensive roles, but each is listed as a midfielder on the roster.
Jose “Choco” Gomez has certainly earned the right to wear #10 for the Blue and White (read more about that here). One of the most creative players in America, Gomez was first-team All-MVC and third-team All-Region last season for his phenomenal finishing and deadly distribution. He scored both the Bluejays’ goals against #12 Notre Dame this week.
Andrew Ribeiro scored his first career goal last September against SMU and steadily improved throughout the season, peaking in the MVC Tournament and earning a spot on the All-Tournament team. Creighton will call on Ribeiro to step up and play a major role in the midfield this season. He played with the Chicago Fire Reserves this summer, and scored the 2011 season’s first goal on a bicycle kick against Akron last weekend.
Greg Jordan returns after a terrific year at the defensive midfield position. After tallying nine points last year and continuing his superb defensive play, Jordan is an emerging professional prospect and increasingly an anchor of the Bluejay eleven. He earned a spot on the All-Valley first team and the All-Region second team last year. Jordan is poised to have a breakout year on both ends of the field in 2011.
Bruno Castro is the only sophomore in the Bluejay midfield this year. He followed Coach Bolowich from North Carolina, where he earned considerable playing time as a freshman. He exhibited great touch and vision at the Blue-White Scrimmage and is sure to add to the Jays’ offense from the midfield. It remains to be seen if Castro will play centrally, alongside Gomez, or on the wings. In an exclusive interview with WBR, assistant coach Johnny Torres had this to say about Castro:
Bruno’s obviously a very intelligent player; he’s going to help the players around him get incorporated into the game. Again, I think it’s like Ethan [Finlay] — no matter where you play him, he’s a footballer. He’s a smart enough soccer player to make others around him better, so he’ll definitely fit in with our attack.
Rounding out the midfield are a herd of six freshmen, each eager to contribute to the Bluejays’ high hopes this season.
JT Seger is listed as a defensive midfielder, but impressed quite a few critics with his offensive prowess in the Blue-White scrimmage, and may see playing time in an offensive role. Guido Peña and Jose Ribas come to the Hilltop by way of Costa Rica and Ecuador, respectively. Ribas was a prolific scorer before coming to Creighton and could augment the Gomez-Castro combination at central midfield. Milwaukee product Dorian O’Lochlayne and Nebraskans Kyle Nowka and JP Pulverenti all arrive after extremely successful high school and club careers, and no doubt will try to crack the starting lineup this season.
Check back in tomorrow as we preview the 2011 Bluejays’ defenders and goalkeepers.