College soccer is back in season across all levels and numerous Otters are preparing to help lead their teams into the new season. Some are looking to match the accomplishments of last season and meet lofty expectations, while others are out to prove people wrong and finish higher than predicted.
In Division I, several players and their teams are hoping for big seasons. Up in New York at Canisius College, Troy Brady and the Golden Griffins were picked to win the MAAC title and Brady was selected to the Preseason All-MAAC Team.
In Illinois, Matt Perry is headed into his senior season with the Bradley Braves, who are expected to finish third. Just an hour west, goalkeeper Tim Trilk is preparing for his third season with Western Illinois where he is looking to continue as their primary starter in goal.
Down south, defensive standout Shalom Dutey will look to team up with former Otter and Preseason First Team forward Tresor Mbuyu to lead the Liberty Flames to a surprising finish after moving from the Big South to the Atlantic Sun this year. Locally, redshirt freshmen midfielder Jordan Broadwater and goalkeeper Josh Perryman join a young ETSU Buccaneers squad predicted to finish third in the Southern Conference. Elsewhere in the SoCon, former Otter and Science Hill standout Lucas Altman was named to the Preseason All-SoCon Team.
Staying in the region, a quartet of Otters will head to Tusculum University this fall. The Pioneers were predicted to finish seventh in the SAC, but Ayuk Tambe and Henrique Devens’ combined five goals with the Otters will look to spark the attack, as will freshman Paulos Beraki and Preseason All-SAC Second Tem selection Edgar Cervantes.
Elsewhere in the SAC, the Wingate Bulldogs were picked to repeat as conference champions and ranked 18th in the first poll of the season. Junior Oscar Perez will try to parlay his impressive form with the Otters into an expanded role with the Bulldogs on their way to a title defense. Meanwhile, Italian midfielder Mattia Ditommaso will try to follow-up his breakout freshman season with an equally impressive sophomore campaign. Ditommaso’s freshman season was enough to earn him a spot on the SAC Preseason First Team after making eight appearances for the Otters this season.
Wingate is not the only school to feature Otters players and be preseason conference favorites and ranked nationally. At Ohio Valley, defender Diego Thielen returns after the Fighting Scots won their first-ever conference title and #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Scots are ranked 7th to begin the year. At Palm Beach Atlantic, three Otters will look for expanded roles on a talented team after making the most of their minutes in the Tri-Cities this season. Defenders Blake Barribeau and James Scasserra and forward Raphael Campos hope to help the 9th ranked Sailfish avenge last year’s early exit from the NCAA Tournament.
Elsewhere across the D-II landscape, Guillermo Segovia turned his excellent sophomore season with Ohio Valley into a transfer to Florida Tech, predicted to finish fifth in the Sunshine State Conference. At Northwest Nazarene University, Serbian midfielder Aleksa Mitrovic enters his senior season with the Nighthawks who were selected to finish fifth in the GNAC.
On the NAIA level, Alexis Castillo returns for his senior season with defending national champions Wayland Baptist University. The Pioneers were picked to repeat as conference champs and opened the year ranked #1 in the polls. Also in the Sooner Athletic Conference, Elias McCloud will begin his sophomore season with John Brown University and former Otter Conner Haney who will hope to help the Golden Eagles to a higher finish than their current fourth place prediction.
In Mississippi, defender Guilherme Àvila begins his first season at NAIA powerhouse William Carey who begin the season ranked 5th nationally. At Reinhardt, goalkeeper Torge Wiedenroth and transfer Taylor Gray will be integral pieces for the 23rd ranked Eagles to repeat as regular season conference champions and capture the postseason title that eluded them last season.
Follow the Otters on social media this offseason while we provide updates on the team, as well as keep tabs on our players competing all across the country and the globe! #FearTheFur