Over the last two seasons the Hoosiers have been rock solid at goalkeeper. Trey Muse was the man between the posts for IU’s back-to-back College Cup runs and one of the best keepers in the nation, but during the offseason he moved on, signing a homegrown contract with Seattle Sounders FC and becoming a pro. With Muse out of the picture the Hoosiers will turn to two-year backup Sean Caulfield. Despite the change the Hoosiers seem as confident as ever that their backline will be strong with Caulfield helping to organize it.
“He’s great,” sophomore center back Jack Maher said. “He’s someone who comes in every single day, works his butt off to be the best. Even when he wasn’t starting, he was preparing as if he was the starter and that’s something that, at Indiana, you do. His play will speak for itself shortly, but I’m so confident with him. He’s very vocal, he’s a natural leader.”
Players to Watch
Sean Caulfield, redshirt senior - After four years mostly spent on the sidelines Caulfield is set for plenty of playing time in 2019. He’s got just four appearances under his belt as a Hoosier, one as a sophomore when he subbed in for penalty kicks and three that totaled just over 50 minutes last season. Despite that lack of in-season game experience he’s been in the IU program for over four years now which is worth something and there seems to be a sense of confidence among the people in the locker room and in training.
Bryant Pratt, redshirt freshman - Pratt is the player who inherited the shirt (#0) that was worn by Caulfield over the last two seasons as the backup. The Columbus, Ohio native redshirted last season, but coming out of high school he was rated as a three-star recruit by Top Drawer Soccer as well as the 19th-ranked recruit in the Great Lakes region. He was also previously named the best goalkeeper at a US Youth Soccer national tournament as well as being All-Everything in high school.
Jacob Gruber, redshirt sophomore - Like Pratt, Gruber was rated as a three-star recruit coming out of high school. He was a member of Top Drawer Soccer’s IMG Academy Top 150 and the 12th-ranked player in the Great Lakes region. His first two seasons as a high schooler were spent at Cathedral High School, where he was the first freshman to play varsity in over a decade and helped the school win a sectional title. His last two years of high school were spent with the Indiana Fire Academy.
Roman Celentano, freshman - Celentano was rated as a two-star recruit by Top Drawer Soccer last year coming out of Sockers FC. When the newly minted freshman signed back in January, IU head coach Todd Yeagley said that Celentano “has great size and wonderful potential” while also noting that he was previously trained by a former IU assistant coach.
Battle to Watch
Sean Caulfield is the starter this season. That seems pretty set in stone. What doesn’t seem as clear is who will back him up and possibly take the pole position in next year’s race for the starting keeper job. It seems weird to talk about the 2020 season when the 2019 season has yet to begin, but this is a position where one guy plays and he plays nearly all the minutes if he’s good, so with Caulfield seemingly prepared to lock things down that second spot (and next year’s top spot) is something worth watching.