When asked to name five returning players who will help determine the fate of the coming season, UConn soccer coach Ray Reid didn’t hesitate.
He mentioned defender Jacob Hauser-Ramsey, forward Abdou Mbacke Thiam, goalie Scott Levene, defender Andrew Geres and defender Dylan Greenberg.
“They’ve got to hold themselves, and everyone else accountable,” Reid said.
It is a new chapter for UConn soccer. After graduating longtime leaders Kwame Awuah and Jake Nerwinski, the Huskies enter training on Aug. 8 facing unique pressure.
UConn missed the NCAA Tournament last year and has never missed back-to-back NCAA Tournaments in the past 20 years under Reid.
“They’ve just got to come in from day one and just put one foot forward at a time,” Reid said. “We started off really well last year and didn’t end well. We need to put a complete season together.”
The Huskies (11-7-1 last year) open the season on Aug. 25 against Iona at Morrone Stadium, kicking off a span of six straight home games.
Last year, Levene and Greenberg didn’t miss a game, and the trio of Hauser-Ramsey, Thiam and Geres combined to start in all but six games. Hauser-Ramsey, Thiam and Greenberg are all juniors. Geres and Levene are seniors.
“If these five guys can have good years, we’re three-quarters of the way home,” Reid said.
In his first season with UConn after transferring from Tyler Junior College in Texas, Hauser-Ramsey became one of the team’s top defenders.
With his size (6 feet 3) and athleticism, he helped solidify the back unit. A year later, Reid has high expectations for his center back.
“He’s got great feet for a big man, he’s very athletic, very loyal, committed guy,” Reid said. “He’s mature and makes the right decisions. … He’s going to need to be a steady rock for this team.”
Hauser-Ramsey played in 18 games last year for UConn and helped the defense to a conference best goals against average of…