SEATTLE -- The Dawgs have yet to complete the spring season, but are already gaining recognition for the upcoming season in the fall. TopDrawerSoccer.com came out with an early look poll and has the Huskies as the nation's fourth-ranked team.
The Dawgs finished the best season in school history last fall and have high expectations once again for the 2014 season. Washington claimed the 2013 Pac-12 title, finishing the season 16-2-4 and earning the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Although the Dawgs season came to an end in the Elite 8 with a loss at home to New Mexico, the Huskies established themselves as a force to be reckoned with for years to come. The Huskies graduated three seniors, including NSCAA All-American Taylor Peay who would be go on to be drafted by the Portland Timbers of MLS. However, the returning squad is expected to once again be amongst the most talented in the nation.
Returning for his senior season is Darwin Jones after turning down offers to go pro. Jones recently had a hat trick against the Seattle Sounders reserves leading the Dawgs to victory in the exhibition game. Also back is Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Cristian Roldan who was a revelation with his playmaking in the central midfield for the Huskies.
Overall, the Huskies return eight starters, plus Spencer Richey who had been a MAC Herman Trophy candidate in goal before a broken leg cost him the 2013 season. All-Conference players James Moberg, Justin Schmidt, Andy Thoma and Mason Robertson are among the returners that are expected to once again have the Dawgs in the running for conference and national titles.
TopDrawerSoccer.com's poll also exhibits the strength of the Pac-12 with three teams in the top-10 and California also earning honorable mention. UCLA is ranked No. 2 and Stanford No. 7 in the unofficial poll.
Husky fans will have a final chance to see the Dawgs this spring on May 1 when Seattle U. and Seattle Pacific come to Montlake as part of a day/night doubleheader. The Dawgs face the Redhawks at noon, followed by the Falcons at 7 p.m. at the Husky Soccer Field.