Next to perhaps the more familiar names along the defense - Alec Fisher, Fox Slotemaker, and Austin Place - I found myself a bit surprised after putting this series together to see just how much Daniel Cramarossa had seen the field in 2014. I mostly included Cramarossa in the series because I remembered him as part of the defense that gelled over the course of the season. But beyond that, my impression of the Canadian defender was all off.
What I remembered: A scrappy, persistent player who eventually broke into the starting lineup, saw the field more and more as the season went on, and was at his best in more physical contests like the road matches against Canisius and Lafayette and a late-season conference test against Northern Illinois.
Other UB Defenders
What actually happened: Cramarossa came into 2014 with 17 starts already under his belt, and was a significant contributor season long for the Bulls, sitting out San Diego and Bryant early in the season but starting in 12 and appearing in all of the 15 other games.
Cramarossa comes from a strong pedigree before UB, having played with a number of elite teams and travel programs in Ontario and the London area and learning from his father, Dino, who currently serves as the Technical Manager at Markham Soccer Club but has coached at least three players who've gone on to the professional ranks. This summer, he's played with the still-undefeated Vaughan Azzurri FC in LeagueOne Ontario, and comes from the same Soccer Academy Alliance Canada network that ultimately sent Marcus Hanson and Laura Dougall to Buffalo.
On the field, Daniel is UB's smallest defender by a few inches, but brings a different style than any of the others. Fisher and Slotemaker use their positioning to make defending look easier than it is, and Place is quick to get the ball moving upfield once gaining possession, Cramarossa is a scrappy pest in both directions, one who doesn't get beat without a fight and who - as I said above - was at his best in UB's most physical, messy matches in 2014 like Canisius, Northern Illinois, and Lafayette.
In 2015 Daniel is yet another Bulls defender with full seasons of experience under his belt, but he does bring something unique to the edges of the back line. It's unlikely that he'll wow anyone ten minutes into the season with an indescribable play, but for those who pay attention, two, three games into the season, you might look around as he clears a loose ball, disrupts a pass, or slows a counter attack to give the rest of his team time to catch up and think to yourself; "Gee, I've seen a lot of him, haven't I?"