University of Wisconsin men’s soccer program unveils 2021 recruiting class
MADISON, Wis. – Seven newcomers to the University of Wisconsin men’s soccer program can now call themselves Badgers with the announcement of UW’s incoming class.
Men’s soccer season unofficially kicks off on Aug. 10 with an exhibition contest at Breese Stevens Field in Madison against Forward Madison FC.
“We are very excited to announce the addition of seven members to the men’s soccer program,” head coach John Trask said. “We feel as a coaching staff that we’ve addressed some immediate needs and look forward to integrating this fine group of young men to the existing squad.”
The group includes: Jonathan Bowen (Fort Wayne, Indiana), Dan Iscra (Northbrook, Illinois), Ryan Keefe (Wausau, Wisconsin), Kyle McCurley (Lake Zurich, Illinois), Will Navarre (Milwaukee), Adir Raphael (Tel Aviv, Isreal) and Aron Saevarsson (Reykjavik, Iceland).
Jonathan Bowen, a 6-3 defender, captained the U19 Indiana Fire Academy Team as a senior. His sophomore year, Bowen was named all-district second team after scoring 18 goals and helping his Fort Wayne Canterbury High School team to the Indiana High School 1A state championship under coach Greg Mauch. He helped the team to the state title his freshman season, as well.
He also captained his Fort Wayne United club team to the MRL Division 2 League title and the State Cup championship under club coaches Nick Potter and Kiki Wallace.
Coach John Trask – “Jonathan has all the tools to be an elite Big Ten defender — quality and composed on the ball with all the physical tools to be a force on the defensive side of the ball. He is a member of the Indy Fire MLS Next program and Coach Wallace has done an outstanding job preparing him to join us in Madison. Jonathan was initially identified through our College ID camps and we are very excited to start working with him this fall.”
Coach Keith Tiemeyer – “Jonathan’s confidence has grown in recent years as has his athletic ability. He is a comfortable passer with good passing range out of the back. He is a strong ball-winner in 1v1 duels and in aerial battles and his defensive start up positioning is excellent.”
Why Wisconsin? “I chose to attend Wisconsin for its highly reputable strength in academics, especially in engineering, and to develop as a player by competing in the Big Ten. I am excited to be a part of something by competing to win a national championship and to be surrounded by such strong school spirit.”
Dan Iscra, a 6-2 fullback from Northbrook, Illinois, joins the Badgers after playing two years for DePaul.
Coach Trask – “Danny is transferring from DePaul University where he was a two-year starter for the Blue Demons. He has experience and will be looked at in a number of defensive positions along the back line. His desire to join the Badgers and follow in the footsteps of many of our great Chicago-land defenders will provide real competition for playing time in our defensive unit. He is a top-quality defender who is a very good passer of the ball and we are looking forward to helping him progress toward his goal of being a professional soccer player.”
Coach Tiemeyer – “Danny is another solid defender with physical strength and stamina. He is comfortable defensively in 1v1 situations and can play across the back line. He also has the ability to play in the back of midfield due to his passing ability.”
Why Wisconsin? “It’s a prestigious program with great players, facilities and academics that will allow me to grow as a person.”
Ryan Keefe, a 6-2 back or midfielder, spent the last two years at Shattuck-St. Mary’s High School, including his senior year as captain. He also spent his sophomore and freshman season’s at Wausau East High School as captain, earning unanimous first-team all-conference, team MVP and offensive player of the year as a sophomore. He was second-team all-conference, team MVP and helped the squad finish as section runners-up.
Coach Trask – “Ryan was identified through our camp programs and while being from the great State of Wisconsin challenged himself by going to Shattuck St. Mary’s to further his academic and athletic goals. He has experience playing in the midfield as well as the back line and his physical tools along with soccer acumen make us believe he has a bright future with the Badgers.”
Coach Tiemeyer – “We are thrilled to be adding another Wisconsin native to the team in Ryan Keefe. He will be expected to provide depth to our back line as a center back or outside back, though he can also play in the midfield. His experience at SSM has provided him with a broader vision of training methods and competitive experience.”
Why Wisconsin? “Because of the opportunity to play and represent my home state. Being able to compete for the Badgers, as school that many people know I support, comes with a sense of pride. What stood out to me was the drive and passion of the students for academics and athletics. At the UW there seems to be so much support from everyone in all aspects of the school.”
Kyle McCurley, a 5-10 midfielder from Lake Zurich, Illinois, joined the Badgers for the spring, after playing for Wake Forest during his undergraduate days. Before college, he played for FC United Academy and Chicago Magic Academy. He is working on his master’s degree in UW’s educational leadership program.
Coach Trask – “Kyle is a graduate transfer from Wake Forest who joined us last spring, but due to him competing at Wake in the fall of 2020, was unable to play in matches this past spring. While finishing a graduate program in leadership, Kyle brings a wealth of big-game experience to the group. He learned about the culture and impressed the coaches all spring with his quality and training habits. Kyle will be looked at to strengthen our midfield core and we are excited that he will be available this fall.”
Coach Tiemeyer – “Kyle was an excellent addition to the team last spring. His experiences as a youth player in the Chicago area, combined with his experience at Wake Forest, will help provide strength, confidence and maturity to the Badgers this fall. Kyle is a capable passer and competitive player that can play in many positions around the field.”
Why Wisconsin? “Because of the incredible opportunities not only in the classroom, but also because of the culture and attitude on the field to compete and strive to be champions. The combination of these two things is hard to beat.”
Will Navarre, a 5-9 forward from Milwaukee, was the 2021 Gatorade Boys Soccer Player of the Year in Wisconsin after scoring 20 goals and 15 assists in 11 games as captain for Nicolet High School. Invited to play in the 2021 Boys High School Soccer All-American Game and selected to the all-Great Lakes region team, he was twice named to the Best XI all-state group. He played for the Milwaukee Bavarians Soccer Club from U13 to U18 levels and helped that squad to State Cup wins in 2021 and 2019 and a regional win in 2019.
Coach Trask – “Will is another in-state All American from the Milwaukee area. He has dynamic attacking and athleticism which will be a nice addition to the team. Will played at the youth level for the Bavarians and the coaches have done a very good job of preparing him for top Division I soccer. He has a chance to compete for playing time in many different attacking positions this coming fall.”
Coach Tiemeyer – “Another dynamic Wisconsin player, Will joins the Badger Soccer Family from the Bavarians Soccer Club. His speed and athleticism allows him to be a contributor in the forward or midfield lines. He has a nose for the goal and, through his speed, the ability to breakdown defending groups.”
Why Wisconsin? “I chose to attend Wisconsin because of the university’s incredible academic standards, as well as its beautiful campus. I have grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and a sibling who have attended UW-Madison, which makes it feel like home.”
“I did not feel there was a better style of play for myself than Wisconsin and I was very excited about the prospect of playing in the Big Ten. The coaching staff was very impressive with their soccer knowledge and their years of experience developing soccer players.”
Adir Raphael, a 5-11 goalkeeper from Tel Aviv, Israel, joins the Badgers after playing for the Israel National Team from U16 to U19.
Coach Trask – “Adir will be joining the Badgers from Israel where he competed for the Israeli U-18 National Team. Adir was brought to us by David Znatty who had a great career at UW-Green Bay and once our goalkeeper coach, Jameson Kronser, watched video, we all felt confident that he will improve our keeper group. Adir has spent time in the Israeli Army and will bring continued maturity to the group.”
Coach Tiemeyer – “Adir’s addition to the team brings a wealth of personal experience and maturity. He’s represented his country at the youth level and has recently completed his military responsibility in Israel. Not the loudest, not the biggest, but very athletic. He is mature and has a strong presence in the goal.”
Why Wisconsin? “From the first moment I heard about UW-Madison, I knew it is the right place for me. I can’t wait to be part of this amazing sport program. Together we will reach for great success. On, Wisconsin!”
Aron Saevarsson, a 6-5 back from Raykjavik, Iceland, captained his previous team, Afturelding, playing in Iceland’s highest division, HK.
Coach Trask – “Aron is a left sided defender who will be completing his master’s degree while competing for the Badgers. He has excellent technique and great size for someone who can defend and attack in the modern game. Aron’s background in Iceland has provided him a great platform to compete immediately for the Badgers.”
Coach Tiemeyer – “Aron is another older, smart, disciplined, mature student-athlete who will be studying for a master’s degree in industrial engineering. He has excellent soccer experience and will be counted on for his strength, maturity and play making ability as an outside back or wide midfielder. His engine is second to none!”
Why Wisconsin? “Because I have always wanted to be surrounded by great athletes and great support and atmosphere. Madison also made an impact.”