Meet MSU Soccer’s next generation

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Damon Rensing/Photo: MSU Athletic Communications

Ian Gilmour, Men's Soccer Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING — With the end of each soccer season at Michigan State comes a new class of recruits. 

This year, the newbies signify a hope for the future and a desire to brush the previous three-win season under the mat.

A year muddled by injuries and inconsistencies now sits in the past for Damon Rensing’s men’s soccer squad. As his group of incoming freshmen make their way onto campus in the coming months, the need for them to inject a sense of freshness into this side is very real. 

Next year’s team will feature five incoming freshmen — four from across the mitten state and one from Utah with family ties to East Lansing. 

Jack Zugay is a midfielder from Ann Arbor, stolen right from under the nose of Michigan head coach Chaka Daley. Rensing describes him as “a really good two-way midfielder and covers a lot of ground.” Rensing also mentioned that Zugay can impact play in the final third very well. 

Kadin Shaban hails from Hudsonville, Michigan and does his work on the pitch by scoring goals as a striker. Shaban is one that flies under the radar. Even though he played in the high school All-American game, Rensing says not too many people know about him just yet. Rensing also mentions that he sees Shaban impacting a lineup most out wide in a 4-3-3 formation. 

“I think he’s most comfortable when he’s wide with space,” said Rensing.

Another striker entering the picture next year is Greyson Mercer, who comes all the way from Utah. Rensing has high praise for Mercer, saying he is “athletically ready to compete in the Big Ten and has got a nose for goal.” Mercer’s father played soccer at Okemos High School, just down the road from MSU campus. Mercer came to an MSU ID camp and the rest, as they say, is history. 

On the opposite end of the pitch, enter Chase Inscho, a defender hailing from Stoney Creek High School in Rochester, Michigan. Rensing mentions that Inscho could make an impact right away come the fall, especially with the departure of Nick Woodruff, Michael Wetungu and Patrick Nielsen. Rensing says Inscho “has good size and strength, he’s calm on the ball, he’s got all the attributes you want in a Big Ten centerback.”

The final member of the incoming freshman is Jacob Cromer, a central midfielder from Northville, Michigan. Rensing describes him as “our most polished and highly touted kid in our class.” Cromer draws high praise from Rensing, as the head coach continues to say “he’s got all the tools to be an All-Big Ten caliber midfielder.”

The Spartans had bright spots when it came to their freshmen last year. Alaa Algahim looked like a rising star before a season-ending injury brought his freshman campaign to an early end. Conner George came on towards the end of the season and Nick Stone more than held his own along an injury-plagued back line for much of the year. 

This class promises to, at the very least, challenge for minutes right away next season. Rensing says Inscho, Zugay and Cromer all have potential to try to make their way into the first team right away when August arrives. 

No questions will be answered until they step on the field, but they bring hope to MSU and usher in a new year.

Contact Ian Glimour at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @IanGilmour04.