Trebby: Bennett’s program continuing path to the top

With one perennial top-10 soccer team already at Valley Fields, Marquette’s men’s program is feeling the pressure to develop into an NCAA contender.

As of last week, its transformation is almost complete.

Louis Bennett’s men’s squad has impressed nationally over the past two seasons. Its 2013 recruiting class, along with the two transfers who recently enrolled at Marquette, also bodes well for the team.

The team is going to be seriously good this fall. With the returning players and those who are new to the program, I’ll be shocked if the Golden Eagles aren’t a top-10 team before the season begins.

Despite losing seniors Andy Huftalin (Second Team All-Big East), Ryan Robb and Anthony Selvaggi, the new crop of players coming into the program is definitely a reason to be encouraged.

David Selvaggi transferred from DePaul and will have to sit out a year before trying to add to Marquette’s attack. Midfielder Brady Wahl comes to Marquette from Ohio State and will provide more depth in midfield in the fall, as will Louis Bennett II. The latter is one of two consensus top-100 players who will join the Golden Eagles.

The other is midfielder Jose “Coco” Navarro, who is the highest-ranked recruit to ever commit to Marquette – 38th nationally according to  Navarro comes from Real Salt Lake’s youth program in Arizona and could easily prove to be difficult to take off the field early on.

Also, defender Jake Taylor – Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association Player of the Year and an NSCAA All-American – is part of the 2013 class along with midfielder Alex McBride from Marquette University High School, who was also an NSCAA All-American and was named the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Area Player of the Year. The other Wisconsin product, midfielder Driton Zyteja, was a four-year starter at Sun Prairie High School, and captained a State Cup winning team in 2010 at Madison FC.

Goalkeeper Kyle Gress was also an All-American, and forward Nick Parianos has been part of the Columbus Crew Soccer Academy and has played in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy since he was in seventh grade. Midfielder Daniel Szczepanek was the Illinois Player of the Year, and defender Jack Alberts was first-team all-state at Fenwick High School in Hinsdale, Ill.

This class just adds to what is already an impressive squad. Places in the team are going to be difficult to come by, which is exactly what a successful program should be like. Training will be a mini-tryout. With that much talent, games could end up being less competitive than their training.

Right now we’re witnessing the ascent of the men’s team, and sooner or later they will be considered one of the college game’s best every single year. That is going to start this fall, when they will be considered one of the best in the country.