This is the third of five blogs previewing players to watch for Western Washington University's men's soccer team. Check the blog for the other two - goalie Keegan Rogers and midfielder Jeremy Wentzel - that were posted earlier in the week. WWU in its first season under Greg Brisbon went 11-4-3. The Vikings begin this season with a home opener against Seattle University on Aug. 23.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Uche Ugwoaba (Jr., D/M)
2013 HIGHLIGHTS: Ugwoaba played in and started all 18 games for the Vikings last season. ... Played a team-high 1,651 minutes. ... Recorded his only assist of the season against Notre Dame de Namur on Sept. 12, 2013. ... Was a second-team Great Northwest Athletic Conference all-star. BREAKDOWN: The third-year standout has been a staple for the Vikings since arriving as a freshman. He's started all 36 games since 2011, growing into a leader that helped WWU hold opposing teams to just 13 goals all season. The Vikings' 0.69 goals-against average paced the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, and it ranked 13th nationally. His presence as a defensive-minded midfielder paired well with a strong backline, and it should only make things more difficult for opposing attacks this season. He has the skill and speed to bother any platoon of forwards, although how much he contributes on the offensive end is still an unknown.