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Northern Michigan University men’s soccer team moves forward: Wildcats name recruits, outline spring schedule that replaces lost autumn slate

Northern Michigan University’s Keegan Schmidt, right, and Purdue Northwest’s Jaime Garcia sandwich the ball between them during a Sept. 20, 2019, game at the NMU Soccer Field. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

MARQUETTE — Several news items have come recently from the Northern Michigan University men’s soccer team.

This Wildcats team announced its updated GLIAC schedule, moving games from the fall to spring.

And NMU head coach David Poggi this week announced two student-athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to play this fall when the team is scheduled to return to its normal playing season.

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Spring schedule

Northern Michigan University men's soccer head coach David Poggi yells out instructions to his players in the second half of a GLIAC game played against Purdue Northwest at the NMU Soccer Field on Sept. 20, 2019. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

The Wildcats have a seven-game all-GLIAC schedule, facing each of the other league teams once beginning with a home game against Saginaw Valley State on Sunday, March 7.

That and the three other home contests are scheduled to be played indoors in the Superior Dome, though advantageous weather could bring some games outside to the nearby NMU Soccer Field.

While a game time hasn’t been established for the opener, the other home games — all Sundays — have afternoon start times. Northern hosts Ashland at 1 p.m. on March 21, Northwood at 1 p.m. on April 11 and Wisconsin-Parkside at 2 p.m. April 18 that completes the regular season.

Road matches, none with starting times established, are at Davenport in Grand Rapids on Sunday, March 14, at Purdue Northwest in Westville, Indiana, on Sunday, March 28, and at Upper Iowa at Fayette, Iowa, on Saturday, April 3.

The GLIAC tournament is scheduled for April 25-May 2 with higher seeds to host games.

Northern Michigan University goalkeeper Valentin Kliebe stretches wide to try to stop a shot by Ashland during their GLIAC game played at the NMU Soccer Field on Oct. 14, 2018. (NMU photo courtesy Cory Genovese)

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Recruits named

Earlier this week, Wildcats head coach David Poggi announced that a midfielder and goalkeeper signed their national letters with NMU.

Aydin Lambert of Byron, Illinois, is listed as a versatile midfielder, while Mason Walsh of downstate Waterford excelled in goal on both club and high school teams.

“To say we are excited about these two 2021 signings is an understatement,” Poggi said. “The 2021 recruitment process has proved very challenging with the COVID-19 pandemic eliminating many opportunities to see players in action. Luckily both players attended our Summer ID camps multiple times and have been on my radar for a number of years.”

Lambert, a two-year captain at Byron High School, was named to the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association all-sectional team while earning all-conference three times. Also a member of the Rockford Raptors club team, he also played football for Byron’s two-time state champions.

“Aydin obviously impressed me at the ID camps and I thought he had all characteristics necessary to be a top player at Northern,” Poggi said. “He is an exceptional athlete with good pace, power and is very dynamic. A hard worker on both sides of the ball, he can help us in the attack and in defense. We expect big things from him.”

“Aydin is one of those rare players that has the ability to raise the level of play for players around him,” Rockford Raptors coach Frank Mateus said. “He is a hard worker, quick learner and great teammate on and off the field.”

Walsh first attended Oakdale Academy, where his team won the Michigan Association of Christian Schools Division II championship when he was a freshman and sophomore. He then transferred to Class A Clarkston High School as a senior. He also played club soccer for Pato Magic SC, winning a state cup in 2015.

“Mason is someone I zeroed in on a couple of ID camps back,” Poggi said. “He is an elite goalkeeper already in a number of areas. He also has immense potential to improve and his ceiling is limitless. No doubt Mason will be part of a great legacy of Northern Michigan goalkeepers.”

Pato Magic SC Coach, Chris Fisher on Walsh:

“Mason is a talent to watch and a joy to coach,” Pato Magic SC coach Chris Fisher said. “Technically, Mason has a combination of soft hands and strong (game) which allows for a quick transition back to offense. Tactically, he has a thirst for learning.”

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.

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