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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Filling in Coach Bennett’s footsteps

In 2006, Louis Bennett took over as head coach for the Marquette men’s soccer team after coaching at Milwaukee for 10 years.  At the start of the month, Bennett announced he would be leaving the program. Although Bennett had a great run, the program was losing speed, and a new head coach could provide much-needed excitement and growth to the stagnating team.

Bennett went 16 seasons at Marquette and took the Golden Eagles to three National Tournaments including two Sweet Sixteen appearances. In a very tough Big East, he had many respectable finishes including a Big East runner-up, but had a lot of bridge years while rebuilding the roster.

Although many may argue whether the change was necessary, there were no doubts that the program did not continue on the same trajectory it had when he took over. Recruiting needs to be the main priority to establish the program as a powerhouse and a chance to fight for a national championship. A new head coach will have to take over and incorporate new tactics to provide growth for the future of the team.

Last season was a rollercoaster starting with a 6-0 run, with big wins against Wisconsin and Harvard and finishing the season on a 0-5-2 slide and a last place in the division finish. Marquette’s new regime will have to focus on bringing in as many top 100 recruits as possible.

The Golden Eagles had 10 players that were seniors or older on their 30-man roster, most of which will leave the program. In fact, four out of their top five goal scorers were either seniors or graduate students.  

The main reason for their statistical advantage over the younger core is the fact that many of the seniors earned priority over the younger players for minutes in Bennett’s system. Bennett’s recruiting was fine, but it might not be enough for a school with ever-increasing expectations like Marquette. Marquette had only one top-100 recruit last year who didn’t have a significant impact on the team right away.

Despite finishing last place in the west division of the Big East, the Golden Eagles ended up leading almost every major stat over their opponents with shots, goals and assists. The only major statistic they had a clear disadvantage at was saves with 54 over the season while the average of their opponents combined was 79. Marquette’s offense was better than the rest of the pack, but they let up far too many goals to even compensate for the fast start by the offense. 

Marquette needs to recruit more players on the wings to support the spine of the team. Division 1 soccer is becoming increasingly focused on skillful players and international players from well-established academies all over Europe and Africa. Marquette began to catch up with the trend, recruiting many international players as Louis Bennett and his English heritage came in use with his knowledge of the European market and youth development talent. Marquette’s roster was filled with youth, but any coaching reset requires a huge uptick in recruiting to maintain their levels. 

Marquette should focus on bringing in as many young players as possible. Last year, the younger players didn’t have as much of an impact as they could have and didn’t provide a new coach much to be excited about. The new coach needs to get off to a hot start recruiting and rebuild a future core that can play time early in their collegiate careers.

This story was written by Conor McPherson. He can be reached at [email protected] or on X at @ConorMcPherson_.

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