Team of the Week: Sidwell Friends soccer

If any MAC team has plans on knocking off five-time defending champ Sidwell Friends in November, it better be ready for the challenge of a senior-laden squad oozing with talent all over the pitch. Head coach Jorgen Kjaer returns 10 seniors, including a pair of offensive standouts in Ben Citrin and Curtis Oberg, from a squad that went 14-2-1 last year.

“They have been great during this run,” Kjaer says of his vets. “They’re going to be the foundation of this team.”

Oberg and Citrin combined for 23 goals and 15 assists in 2010, but they’ll be counted on for even more production after the squad graduated leading scorer Jesse Pollak. The Quakers will also lean heavily on senior MFs David Geschwind and Daniel Perlis to help fill the void on offense. Perlis’ speed makes him a tough cover and a dangerous threat on the outside, while Geschwind is an outstanding playmaker who can deliver the ball in tight spaces.

Friends’ defense yielded 22 goals last season and should remain stout with senior defender Cole Graham assisting the efforts of classmate Mark Greenberg (1.31 GAA) in net.

“They’ve been together for a long time,” says Kjaer of the duo. “They have a common understanding of what to do to support each other.”

Friends’ repeat efforts should also be bolstered by the return of senior Diego Arene-Morley and the addition of Nick Jackson, a sophomore who spent last season playing in England.

The Quakers will be tested from the outset with tilts against Landon and Gonzaga, but Kjaer is hoping the games help his troops emerge better prepared for the rigors of a sixth title run.

“It will give us a lot of confidence if we can defeat those two good teams,” he says. “The players have to show up early on.”