2014 College Soccer Awards   Leave a comment

Best XI (alphabetical):  Paige Birschbach, Ripon College; Taylor Blazei, Tennessee Tech; Michelle Greeneway, Lake Forest College; Katelyn Hronek, Lake Forest College; Brandi Peltier, Ripon College; Samantha Read, Cardinal Stritch University; Brianna Reid, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater; Kaitlin Schmitz, St. Norbert College; Anna Stadler, Cardinal Stritch University; Maria Stephans, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Jenna Woodson, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Player of the Year:  Michelle Greeneway, Lake Forest College

Rookie of the Year (first-year player):  Paige Birschbach, Ripon College

Freshman of the Year:  McKenna Kowalski, Concordia University of Wisconsin

 

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Posted November 11, 2014 by Scott in Uncategorized

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Player Evaluation   Leave a comment

In 2010, we wrote a document on scouting which laid out how we evaluate players and the criteria we use.  With us continuing to watch new college players as well as those who have been part of MUSC in past seasons, that document is outdated.  A more numeric, less-subjective system became necessary to adequately measure players against each other and against a simple scale.  Thus, we determined that players needed to be graded on skill (physical, technical, and mental), “heart” (the less-measurable aspects of the game), and intangibles (leadership ability, positional flexibility, value on the field), with the categories weighted 55%/30%/15%.  The scale runs from 1-10 in increments of half-points (e.g. 7, 7.5, 8, etc.).  For our 2014 Women’s Premier League team, the 19 players we are considering for our two 2015 teams scored in a range from 7.2 to 9.85, with the majority of players between 7.9 and 8.5.  We have set benchmarks for experience (two years of college play), skill (7.5), heart (8), and average score (7.500) that a player must meet or exceed in order to be eligible to play for our “core” team, with those not part of the core who meet the standards eligible to be “called-up” on an as-needed basis but who would play for our “pool” team.  Below are brief synopses of four players we scouted in past years (two from 2012, two from 2013; all names, schools, and other identifiable information have been redacted).

Player A:  Second-year player at forward.  Overall score in grey area (between 7.5 and 8), minimum score on skill, above the bar in heart.  Works better with dynamic players alongside her (right/left midfield, forward partner) but has excellent speed and ability to draw away defenders.  Right now, would be slotted for “pool” but could get opportunities with the “core” due to absences/injury.

Player B:  Experienced center midfielder.  Above the bar in all areas, capable of playing more attacking or more defensive role, either alongside a partner or ahead/behind other center midfielder.  Possession-oriented, doesn’t commit turnovers or try to make more out of a play than is there.  Would make “core” and be in the mix for first XI selection.

Player C:  First-year player used at forward, outside midfielder, and center midfielder (attacking role in a diamond).  Meets the minimums in all scored areas, though heart score is just at the bar.  Moves around well to find the ball and make things happen with it.  Would play for “pool” team, but with proper development in summer would be able to move up to “core” next year.

Player D:  First-year player at forward.  Minimums in component areas, just over the minimum in overall score.  Good height, uses it to provide for outlet when up top.  Moves away from the center to open up space for others and to commit defenders elsewhere.  “Pool” for this summer and a bit of a project to develop into a player that makes the “core” in the future.

With six weeks (or so) left in the college soccer regular season, there will be more evaluations and constant grading of players as we work to find the right 41-43 women for our 2015 teams and start the course for bringing a WPL title to Milwaukee United Soccer Club.

 

Posted September 23, 2014 by Scott in Club Philosophy

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College Season Update   Leave a comment

Now that almost every team has played a third of their schedule, it’s time to parse through the stats and see how the watch list is doing.  So far in 2014, the 47 field players we are following has accumulated 37 goals and 27 assists for 101 points.  Leading the pack is Paige Birschbach (Ripon College/Campbellsport) with six goals and seven assists for 19 points, followed closely by Michelle Greeneway (Lake Forest College/Sheboygan North) with 18 points (eight goals, two assists) and Brandi Peltier (Ripon College/Hustisford) with 17 points (seven goals, three assists).  Birschbach and Peltier’s teammate at Ripon, Jessica Ochocki (Cedarburg), is part of a trio of players [the others being UW-Whitewater’s Brianna Reid (Oak Creek) and St Norbert College’s Kaitlin Schmitz (St. Thomas More)] with three goals on the season.  Players from our 2014 Women’s Premier League team have combined for 14 goals and 16 assists (44 points), the bulk coming from Birschbach and Peltier.  Maria Stephans (UW-Milwaukee/Hartford) has contributed three assists to her school’s early-season efforts and Anna Stadler (Cardinal Stritch University/Wauwatosa West) scored a goal in the Wolves’ opening match against Viterbo.

Are there players you know about that we should know about?  Drop us a note at our player gateway page.  We’re looking to have a two-team pool of approximately 41-43 players for the 2015 WPL season and are on the lookout for women who have the drive, discipline, and skill to wear the club colors with pride.  Our hope is to have more players in contact with us before the turn of the year, which will lead to finalizing the two teams and how players will be allocated earlier than this past year.

Coming soon: a set of interviews with players from the watch list.

Posted September 16, 2014 by Scott in Uncategorized

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2014 College Soccer Preview   1 comment

The 2014 college soccer season kicks off in full force this weekend when most schools will be in action (NCAA Division II teams will begin their schedules next week).  As you know from past years, our season preview focuses on players we’re scouting, their teams, and other notable trends from our online research of rosters.  This year, 16 players from our 2014 Women’s Premier League team return to campus, eager to build upon their 2013 college campaigns and incorporate some of their summer learning to their play.  We’ll start with them, then move onto freshmen of note and a set of new prospects we’ll be watching in light of our planned 2015 expansion.

2014 Milwaukee United SC co-Most Valuable Player Maria Stephans (Hartford) returns to UW-Milwaukee for her sophomore season having earned a starting spot at central midfield for the Panthers and being named one of the squad’s captains. Further north, 2014 co-MVP Brandi Peltier (Hustisford) kicks off her senior season at Ripon College alongside MUSC teammate Paige Birschbach (Campbellsport), where they hope to elevate the Redhawks into the Midwest Conference tournament for the first time in school history and Peltier goes after her fourth straight 20-goal season.  Some of their summer teammates, however, will plan to have a bit of say in whether either of those accomplishments are reached, as Katelyn Hronek (Wauwatosa West) at Lake Forest College and the St. Norbert College duo of Katherine Oleniczak (Wauwatosa East) and Kaitlin Malliet (DSHA) will be pressing to return their teams to the top of the conference standings (Lake Forest won the MWC in 2012, St. Norbert in 2013).  Cardinal Stritch University sees five members of our summer team (Danielle Doucette, Anna Stadler, Michelle Peltz, Cassie Braam, and Samantha Read) come back to campus with the expectation of earning a second consecutive Chicago Collegiate Athletic Conference playoff berth.  Alverno College will have three Owls in the fold (Neysel Powell, Casey Scheibengraber, Amber Thomas) as the Inferno search for their first-ever winning season after going 10-10 last fall.  Lastly, lifelong friends and teammates Heidi Hetzel and Leeah Rivas (Sheboygan South) will attempt to lead UW-Oshkosh to a Wisconsin Intercollgiate Athletic Conference championship after coming second to UW- Whitewater in both the regular season standings and the conference tournament in 2013.

Every year brings a new class of players to college campuses near and far.  This year is no exception, with potential 2015 Owls joining some of our above-mentioned players at Ripon (Jessica Ochocki, Cedarburg), Cardinal Stritch (Flor Corra, Milwaukee St. Anthony), and UW-Milwaukee (Olivia Wright, DSHA, and Emily Senger, Waukesha North).  Other players of note that are beginning their college careers this year include goalkeeper Nina Pantich (Greendale Martin Luther) at Concordia University-Ann Arbor, Jacki Quast (Hartland Arrowhead) at Longwood University, Sarah Watts (DSHA) and Taylor Koepke (Germantown) at St. Cloud State, Kristin Bronikowski (DSHA) at Carroll, and Jessica Hyde (Waukesha Catholic Memorial) at the College of St. Benedict. As part of a planned expansion to two teams for the 2015 WPL season, we are reaching out to players who have been unable to find suitable playing opportunities either due to a lack of numbers coming through the ranks at their previous club or the club not offering WPL play.  Amongst the prospects from this outreach are UW-Milwaukee’s Taylor Swittel (Brookfield East) and Abbey Hoerchner (Kettle Moraine Lutheran), UW-Whitewater’s Jenna Woodson (Menomonee Falls), and Taylor Blazei (Slinger) from Tennessee Tech.

In all, this year’s player pool is a little more targeted toward where we as a club want to go in 2015 and geared toward making both our expansion to two teams a reality and focusing on taking the on-field product to the next level after two seasons around the .500 mark (2-3-1 in 2013, 3-2-1 in 2014).  Behind the numbers, however, lies a down year for the area in terms of sending players to the next level.  The most disturbing thing that came from our online scouting is that there is not a single Milwaukee Public Schools class of 2014 graduate playing this fall (the three MPS players at Alverno make up the entirety of the district’s involvement in the college game this year).  That said, one positive trend is the breadth of schools where this year’s freshman class has gone.  New schools on our scouting schedule include Longwood (Va.), UW-Platteville, Concordia (MI), and Concordia (WI), with Beloit and St. Cloud State returning to our list after several years off it.  You can follow all the players we’re watching and keep up with their teams by bookmarking our weekly schedule.  Our first in-person scouting trip of the season will be this afternoon when we’ll be at MSOE to see them take on St. Norbert College, with kickoff at 5pm.

Posted August 29, 2014 by Scott in Uncategorized

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2014 End-of-Season Awards   Leave a comment

Golden Boot:  Brandi Peltier (eight goals, five assists)

Most Valuable Players:  Brandi Peltier and Maria Stephans

Most Improved Player:  Michelle Peltz

Order of the Snowy Owl:  Heidi Hetzel

Spirit of the City Award:  Casey Scheibengraber, Brenda Hernandez, Ashley Saskowski, Katherine Oleniczak, Kara Casebolt

Posted July 22, 2014 by Scott in Uncategorized

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2014 Post-Season Recap   Leave a comment

MUSC2014Milwaukee United Soccer Club completed a successful 2014 season with a 3-2-1 record (10 points) and a second-place finish in the South division of Wisconsin’s Women’s Premier League.  Led on the score sheet by Brandi Peltier’s (Ripon College/Hustisford) eight goals and five assists, the Owls increased their offensive production from 2013 by 13 goals and scored first in every match of the WPL season with none of those first tallies coming after the 21st minute.  Highlights from the season:

Up, Down, and Up Again:  The club’s first match of 2014 saw the Owls get out to a 3-0 lead on Racine United after 63 minutes [a result of Maria Stephans’ (UW-Milwaukee/Hartford) hat trick, the first in club history] only to relinquish that margin over the next 20 minutes.  Brandi Peltier’s game-winner in the 90th minute restored order and gave MUSC their first win of the season to kick off the club’s three-match home stand on the right foot (or in this case, the left, as all four MUSC tallies were scored left-footed).

Fast and Furious:  The Owls’ most complete performance came against RUSH Wisconsin where they took a 3-0 lead inside the first half-hour, opening the scoring just 40 seconds into the match.  Paige Birschbach (Ripon College/Campbellsport) scored twice and Brandi Peltier chipped in two goals and two assists to finish out a perfect home slate for MUSC in a match where they never trailed.

Heart and Soul:  The most “Milwaukee United” performance of the season came in the team’s final match against Croatian Eagles U23s, where the heat and a short roster could have decimated a less-spirited team.  A hat trick from Brandi Peltier (assisted on all three goals by Maria Stephans) helped the Owls secure a 3-3 draw and finish off the campaign on a high note.

Some additional thoughts on the 2014 campaign:

Transition:  This past year has been one of transition from the solo operation of the past few years to a club where players have greater responsibility on and off-the-field and where the board of directors is actively engaged in providing behind-the-scenes support.  We were able to expand our player pool and roster without losing sight of our underlying mission.  We may not have succeeded in every venture we attempted, but the positives outweighed the negatives and we are set up to sprad our wings further in 2015.

On-field play:  After a 2013 season where our style of play resembled that of a first-year team that hadn’t played together before, the 2014 season saw the ladies improve in controlling matches, scoring goals, and dictating the tempo against its opponents.  There were fits and starts along the way in striving to play a possession-oriented game and we didn’t always keep it clean at the back while doing so.  The last match of the season (against Croatian Eagles U23), in my opinion, best represented “who we are” and the MUSC style of play:  fierce doggedness of purpose; complete team commitment on both offense and defense; and aggressive play-making that can keep an opponent on its heels all match.  We might want to play like the Seattle Reign or the Portland Thorns, but in actuality are much more like FC Kansas City.

Preparations for the 2015 season will begin in a couple of weeks as scouting of college players gets underway.  Members of the club’s front office can be found at local matches throughout the week over the course of the college season, starting with an August 12th exhibition between UW-Milwaukee and Drake at Engelmann Stadium.

Posted July 22, 2014 by Scott in Uncategorized

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Making A Point   Leave a comment

Milwaukee United SC closed out its 2014 Women’s Premier League season on Saturday afternoon against the Croatian Eagles U23s.  Behind a hat trick from Brandi Peltier (Ripon College/Hustisford), the Owls willed their way to a 3-3 draw and clinched a second-place finish in the WPL’s South Division.

Peltier opened the scoring for Milwaukee United in the 9th minute with the first of her three goals on the day, assisted by Maria Stephans (UW-Milwaukee/Hartford).  Croatians would respond on 20 minutes and the match looked as though it would head to halftime level at 1.  Not so fast, said Peltier and Stephans, as they combined for a goal in the 38th minute to stake the Owls to its first halftime lead since their June 21st match vs. RUSH Wisconsin.  The Eagles tied the match again in the 59th minute and as the heat began to sap energy from both teams, a draw was looking like a good result as the match entered the last ten minutes.  Peltier and Stephans joined forces for a third time in the 81st minute to bring the Owls to a 3-2 lead and hopes for a season-ending win were high.  Alas, that lead would be short-lived as Croatians scored two minutes later to level the match at 3 and send both squads into the off-season with a split of the spoils.

Having dressed just 11 players for the match, a classic Milwaukee United performance was needed from all, with standout turns coming from midfielders Heidi Hetzel (UW-Oshkosh/Sheboygan South) and Neysel Powell (Alverno College/Milwaukee School of Languages), the back line of Cardinal Stritch’s Michelle Peltz (Nicolet) and Samantha Read (York College) and St. Norbert College’s Katherine Oleniczak (Wauwatosa East) and Kaitlin Malliet (DSHA), and goalkeeper Kara Casebolt (Cardinal Stritch University/Racine Horlick).  With most of the team’s players returning to their college squads in the next couple of weeks (there are three post-college players on the roster), the 2014 on-field activity for Milwaukee United Soccer Club comes to an end, with things learned and advances made toward a brighter future for the organization and the greater Milwaukee women’s soccer community as a whole.

Posted July 22, 2014 by Scott in Uncategorized

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