Expectations are being set high for a revamped Kentucky Soccer squad.
Heading into the 2021 season as the No. 14 ranked team in the country, the Wildcats announced on Friday that the program has officially signed nine new players to the roster, including four freshmen and five upperclassmen. In total, Kentucky and 10th-year head coach Johan Cedergren return 17 players from the 2020 season that concluded with just the program’s third-ever NCAA Championship Round of 16 appearance.
Cooper Kieran, Casper Grening, Martin Soereide, and Oliver Juul are the four new rookies while Luke Andrews, Cameron Wheeler, Lucca Rodrigues, and Jan Hoffelner come to Lexington as upperclassmen. The ninth and final addition is Nick Gutmann, who is a first-year college player but comes to Kentucky as a 25-year old junior from Germany.
— Kentucky Men’s Soccer (@UKMensSoccer) August 13, 2021
Below is a brief introduction of all nine players, courtesy of UK Athletics:
Kieran is a 6-foot freshman from Virginia Beach, Virginia. The midfielder is a graduate of Floyd E. Kellam High School and a product of his hometown Beach FC. He will wear No. 25 for the Wildcats.
Grening is one of two incoming freshmen from the country of Denmark. The 5-9 Roskilde native and FC Roskilde club member will wear No. 14 in the Kentucky midfield.
Soereide is a childhood friend of fellow Jessheim, Norway, native Eythor Bjorgolfsson, who led the Cats with 12 points a season ago. A rising freshman who last played midfielder for the Icelandic club Haukar, the 6-1 Soereide will don the No. 16 jersey.
Juul, the final freshman in Cedergren’s 2021 class, comes to Kentucky from Rudkøbing, Denmark. Another alumnus of FC Roskilde, the 6-foot defender will wear No. 20 in blue and white.
Though Gutmann is a first-year college player, the soon-to-be 25-year-old enters the NCAA ranks as a junior. A 5-7 midfielder from Hamburg, Germany, and FC Eintracht Norderstedt 03, Gutmann will wear No. 21 across his chest.
Andrews joins Kentucky from Saint Mary’s, where he was a first-team All-West Coast Conference performer last season. The 5-10 forward hails from San Jose, California, and will wear No. 19 for the Cats.
Wheeler is the only UK newcomer who is also a Kentucky native. The 5-11 midfielder spent the last four seasons with his hometown Louisville Cardinals but will conclude his college career 80 miles east in the No. 28 uniform.
Rodrigues is set to make his second NCAA Division I stop with his third college team overall. Beginning at Benedictine College (Kan.) of NAIA, Rodrigues was most recently a second-team All-Summit League defender at Oral Roberts. The 6-1 São Paulo native will wear No. 3 on the Kentucky back line.
Hoffelner joins redshirt junior Ryan Troutman as the only goalkeepers on the Kentucky roster. The 6-3 Langen, Germany, product embarked on his collegiate journey at Presbyterian but spent the last two seasons at St. John’s. The 2019 Big East Co-Goalkeeper of the Year will wear No. 1 between the pipes.