2012 Men's Soccer Preview: Defenders
Aug. 21, 2012
SEATTLE - Next on our previews of the Husky Men's soccer team is the defense. Head coach Jamie Clark believes the Husky defense is a very strong and deep position, led by Dylan Tucker-Gangnes, Chris Brundage and Taylor Peay.
"Defense is a position of strength for us," says Clark. "We are very deep on defense. We return three starting central defenders who've all shared time. Tucker-Gangnes is our senior captain. I think he will be the best central defender in the Pac-12 this year."
Tucker-Gangnes, a Bainbridge, Wash., native, started in all 18 games as a freshman in 2008 and tallied six assists. After redshirting in 2009, he came back in 2010 and earned Honorable Mention All-Pac-10. As a junior in 2011, he was one of three team captains and named Second-Team All Pac-12.
Anchoring the back line with Tucker-Gangnes will be Brundage and Peay. The central defenders worked out with club teams over the summer, improving their skills and tactics. Tucker-Gangnes played for the Portland Timbers U23 team, while Brundage and Peay played for the Seattle Sounders U23 squad. Their experience in summer leagues and with Washington will be vital this season for the Huskies.
Brundage, a senior from Gig Harbor, Wash., started for the Huskies in 2010 after transferring from Western Washington. He was named the GNAC co-Freshman of the year and First-Team GNAC All-Conference at WWU. After transferring, he played in 13 games as a sophomore and garnered an assist. Brundage played in 15 games as a junior and started in 12.
Peay from Salt Lake City, Utah, played in 17 matches as a freshman. During his sophomore year, he played in 11 games and helped anchor the Husky back line.
Adding to the lineup at the central defender position is freshman Michael Gallagher. Gallagher is a hybrid defender/midfielder from Sammamish, Wash. He was named MVP at Eastlake High School in 2011 and a two time KingCo selection. There, he helped Eastlake win the 2011 KingCo 4A championship and the 2011 WIAA 4A State Championship. Gallagher played for both the Seattle Sounders FC and Crossfire Premier, reaching the quarterfinals twice and winning a state championship in 2010.
"Michael is a central defender who is ready to contribute and will likely be around as one of our central defenders this year," says Clark. "He is a very good passer of the ball."
Clark wants to utilize the trio's toughness, athleticism and experience to lead the defense.
The Huskies have different options at the fullback position this season. Michael Uyehara and Ian Lange will don the purple and gold for the first time in 2012, and Andy Thoma and Charlie Ranahan both enter the season as sophomores.
"At fullback we will likely have two newer faces: left back Michael and at right Andy," Clark says. "They are both very athletic left footed defenders that like to go forward on the right side. Charlie and Ian Lange are also pushing hard for that position. They are both very good defenders who make very good decisions with the ball."
Sophomore Thoma hails from Los Alamos, N.M. As a freshman last year his appeared in all 18 games and recorded two assists. Thoma looks to enter his sophomore year as a dominant figure on the Husky defense. Thoma was the 2010 New Mexico 4A State Player of the Year and a three-time All-District selection.
Uyehara starts his first season as a Husky in 2012. The Agoura Hills, Calif., native transferred from Navy after his freshman year. There, he switched from a forward to a defender, but still tied the team lead in goals at the end of the season.
Ranahan enters his sophomore year after a solid freshman season. The Oakland, Calif., native played in 14 games as a freshman for the Huskies with three starts. Ranahan was named an ESPN Rise Winter All-American for California. He also played summer ball on Washington's Crossfire PDL team.
Lange, from Burien, Wash., won the WSYSA State Cup in 2008 and 2009 and was an ODP Washington State travel member in 2008 and 2009. Lange plays in the Seattle Sounders FC system.
Four other accomplished Huskies are looking to get into the veteran defensive squad.
Gebert, the Everett, Wash., native comes to UW for his freshman year. Gebert earned All-Wesco Player accolades in 2010 and 2011. He was the 2011 Everett HS MVP and played for Tynecastle FC and Crossfire Academy club teams.
Miller (Albuquerque, N.M.) was named First-Team All-State in 2008, 2009 and 2011. Miller played with Schmidt at N.M. Rush which won the 2011 West Region IV Championship.
Schmidt (Albuquerque, N.M.) was named the District Player of the Year at Volcano Vista HS. He garnered Second Team All-State honor in 2010 and 2011 and was named MVP in 2008 and 2011. Schmidt's club team won five-straight State Championships.
Redshirt freshman White hails from Vancouver, Wash., and plays club ball for the Seattle Sounders FC U18 team. White was named an NSCAA All-American in 2009 and was a `92 Regional ODP Selection. The Camas HS forward netted 20 goals and 17 assists as a senior and won a state championship at the 3A level.