Forward Madison announced on Monday eight of the players who will return for the 2024 season.
The list includes goalkeeper Bernd Schipmann; defenders Mitch Osmond, Jacob Crull and Timmy Mehl; midfielders Derek Gebhard, Nazeem Bartman and Aiden Mesias; and forward Christian Chaney.
Manager Matt Glaeser said he expects 10-12 of the players on the 2024 roster will be familiar faces, a marked contrast from 2022 when he resigned only four players following a disappointing ninth-place finish the previous season.
“Over the last couple of years .. consistent playoff teams, consistently competing for trophies, continuity is something that you’d find in their rosters,” Glaeser said. “We felt like we had some good core pieces, and we felt like we there’s certainly areas in the roster that we need to improve but we felt like there was a good core group.”
Schimpann, a German-born ‘keeper who’s seen time for the Phillipines national team, recorded 12 clean sheets in 2023, second-best in the league.
Chaney set the record for the most goals in a season with 11, and the fastest goal in Forward Madison history with a score just 16 seconds into a match against South Georgia Tormenta. Gebhard added five goals, Bartman three and Mesias two.
“I think that going into last season, it felt almost like an expansion group. We had so many new guys,” said Osmond, the team captain who’ll be entering his third season with the club. “Making the playoffs was the primary objective, and now that’s the minimum standard … rather than having to kind of integrate guys to build chemistry and to work on every aspect of the game, now we can just focus on cleaning up smaller details and then that puts us in a better position to compete for trophies.”
“I think if we just build off of that, bring, bring some other other good pieces in, I think we’ll have a really good chance because then it allows us to also build off of the relationships we’ve had with each other, the guys that are coming back, and kind of like the culture that we had within the team and the club, for whoever, whoever the new guys that are going to come in like those, it’ll be I think, a little bit easier for everyone to adjust. because there’ll be a good group of core guys that kind of know, how we want to play and things like that.”