GOODS: Prpa living up to the preseason hype

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GOODS: Prpa living up to the preseason hype

Luka Prpa scored his fifth goal of the season against Northwestern.

Luka Prpa scored his fifth goal of the season against Northwestern.

Photo by Maggie Bean

Luka Prpa scored his fifth goal of the season against Northwestern.

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean

Luka Prpa scored his fifth goal of the season against Northwestern.

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Last spring I wrote a story featuring incoming soccer freshman Luka Prpa, the highest-ranked recruit in program history. The story was titled “Luka Prpa could be the next Marquette soccer star.”

Let me revise that now. Luka Prpa IS the next Marquette soccer star.

The freshman phenom has five goals and five assists this season, good for 15 points in college soccer’s unusual point system. His back-to-back two goal and two assist outings against Northern Illinois and Illinois-Chicago is a feat no other Marquette player has ever accomplished.

He’s already surpassed the scoring output of everyone on the 2015 team besides leading scorer Kelmend Islami. He was tied for third in the country in goals scored going into Monday.

To put things in perspective, he’s already passed the star player who held his position previously, Louis Bennett II’s, career season-high after just four games.

Even when he doesn’t score, you can sense his awareness. Head coach Louis Bennett called him a 360 player, someone who sees the field from all angles. He’s not just a finisher, but a facilitator too. He’s involved in nearly every play, taking the team’s free kicks, corners and penalty shots.

The amazing thing about Prpa is that you’d never know how good he is by talking to him. He’s quiet, modest. He credits his teammates and the chemistry they’ve built for his success.

Bennett’s favorite story early this season was how Prpa introduced himself to his teammates. Prpa listed off the local clubs he’s played for, including Chicago Magic PSG and North Shore United, and how he’s lived in Florida the past two years. He glosses over the last stop, but Prpa wasn’t in Florida just to catch some rays. He was in residency with the U.S. National team.

“It’s that kind of humility that goes along with Luka Prpa,” Bennett said.

He can be modest about his talent and accolades, but word is getting out. Monday he was named to College Soccer News’s National Team of the Week and the BIG EAST’s Freshman and Offensive Player of the Week.

No matter how the season goes with this young team, Prpa gives fans plenty of reason to make the trek down to Valley Fields. With how he’s playing, the real question is whether they’ll be able to do so for four years.

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