With college soccer season here, Elm Grove Soccer Club has a heavy presence in many of the local university rosters.
In fact 13 of the 16 seniors that played on the Elm Grove U18 Team that won a fourth straight State Cup under coach Ben Shepherd have gone on to receive scholarships to play at the next level.
This is more than any other club last year in Wisconsin and continues the growing trend of players that have developed through the Elm Grove system to then earn the opportunity to play at the next level. In fact eight members of last year’s team are currently on NCAA Division I rosters, one at an NCAA Division II school and four at NCAA Division III schools.
Here is a list players and the schools they are attending from the Elm Grove U18 State Championship team.
NCAA Division I — University of Wisconsin — Milwaukee: Stuart McBain, Mark Heydt and Daniel Lemus; UW-Madison: Joe Naughtan; Marquette University: Mac Wheeler, Nate Rohde; Drake University: Jimmy Grunert and Duquesne University: Nick Biasiotta.
NCAA Division II — UW-Parkside: Evan Carlin.
NCAA Division III — Catholic University: Nico Bartolomeo; UW-Oshkosh: Jack Ballestreri; Concordia University: Keegan Van Dusseldorp; UW-Whitewater: Justin Loncaric.
“Elm Grove has a great coaching staff and a huge part of the reason I developed so much as a player,” Heydt said. "Coach Shepherd was one of the best coaches I’ve ever played for and he helped me tremendously in playing soccer at the next level.”
Breider came over from FC Milwaukee USSDA.
“I knew coach Shepherd would help me get recruited,” he said. “His past recruiting record is impressive, and I’m looking forward to playing with this group of guys.”
Biasiotta credited Shepherd with believing in him even though he had a knee injury.
“Even though I was coming off a knee injury he still had the upmost confidence in me,” Biasiotta said. “And that helped me to motivate myself to come back. Coach instilled a sort of drive in me that I can’t explain. He inspired me and was truly professional with everything he did.”
Recruiters started calling Vandusseldorp once he joined Elm Grove.
“I decided to join Elm Grove my senior year and last year of club soccer because of its reputation in producing players to play at the college level,” he said. “Before I moved to Elm Grove I wasn’t being recruited very heavily but as soon as I started playing at Elm Grove many recruiters started contacting me.”
Ben Kosmider, who has been an Elm Grove player since he was U14, is looking forward to playing his senior year as he looks forward to playing at the next level.
“The coaches in Elm Grove will help me realize my dream of being recruited and playing Division 1 soccer,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with coach Shepherd and know he will help me help me succeed.”