Kentucky men’s soccer is set to include seven new faces on its 2020 roster, as announced by head coach Johan Cedergren on Monday.
Freshmen Jalen Bigby, Ben Damge, Andrew Erickson, Enzo Mauriz and Eric Walker will join junior transfers Trey Asensio and Ben Wendell for their first season in Lexington.
“We’re excited to welcome a talented group of young players and two guys with great experience to our program,” said Cedergren. “With everything we bring back from last season, it’s going to be a really fun year.”
Bigby, who will don the No. 23 jersey, comes to Kentucky from Olentangy Orange High School in Lewis Center, Ohio. The defender was a five-year member of Columbus Crew Soccer Club Academy, where he frequently trained with the MLS’ Columbus Crew SC first team. Rated a three-star recruit by major recruiting outlets, Bigby led his club team in assists among fullbacks.
Damge is one of two newcomers from William Mason High School in Mason, Ohio, and will wear No. 27 for the Wildcats. Damge was a member of the Cincinnati United Soccer Club, though it was at the high school level that he strung together his most prolific resume. The forward left Mason as the program’s all-time leader in assists and the Comets’ second all-time goal scorer. He was a first-team all-state performer in 2019 after a second-team selection the year prior.
Erickson comes to UK from San Antonio, Texas, where he suited up for San Antonio City Soccer Club and Legacy of Educational Excellence High School. The midfielder enters college as the reigning Gatorade Texas Player of the Year and will wear uniform No. 26.
Mauriz joins the Kentucky roster as its only player from the state of California. The Rancho Cucamonga native relocated to the Kansas City, Kansas, area before enrolling, however, where he played midfielder for Shawnee Mission East High School and Sporting Kansas City and placed third in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs. Mauriz will wear No. 17 in blue and white.
Walker adds to Kentucky’s depth at goalkeeper, where he played for St. Mary’s High School and Saint Louis FC Academy in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Walker will take over the No. 24 jersey as the third different Wildcat between the pipes.
Asensio and Wendell both spent the last two seasons competing for the Cincinnati Bearcats, Cedergren’s alma mater. The pair of juniors are each Ohio natives who compete on the back line. Asensio, who is from Bexley, appeared in 25 matches with 15 starts at UC. Wendell, the second newcomer to hail from Mason, appeared in 13 matches, starting nine. Asensio will wear No. 29 for his new team, while Wendell will wear No. 22.
Kentucky welcomes back 20 members of last year’s squad, including reigning Conference USA Player of the Year Aimé Mabika and All-C-USA performers Kalil ElMedkhar (first team), Daniel Evans (second team), Enrique Facusse (second team) and Marcel Meinzer (second team). Last season, the Wildcats finished 13-5-3 with a sixth NCAA Tournament berth in eight seasons.
‑ GO CATS –
For more information contact: