The Rutgers men's soccer team is set to begin its 2023 campaign today with an away match against Delaware. In 2023, the Scarlet Knights will look to build off of their historic 2022 season that saw them win the Big Ten Championship for the first time in program history and make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015.
Rutgers will be without some key players this season, including senior forward MD Myers, who was drafted by the New York City Football Club in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft, and senior defender Hugo Le Guennec, who signed with Philadelphia Union II.
Myers had a stellar 2022 campaign, scoring a conference-leading 13 goals and being named Big Ten Player of the Year. Le Guennec started 19 games last season and provided veteran leadership on defense.
Despite losing some players over the offseason, many key veterans have come back to play another year of soccer on the Banks, including graduate student defender Chris Tiao, graduate student midfielder Jackson Temple and junior midfielder Matthew Acosta. All three players started more than 15 games last season and will bring experience to the roster.
The Knights were also active in the transfer portal this offseason, adding sophomore defender Sawyer Koza from Temple and junior midfielder Curt Calov from Syracuse. Koza started 13 games as a freshman last season and netted 3 goals. Calov featured in 23 games, scoring 4 goals and providing seven assists.
Temple, 1 of the 2 fifth-year players on the roster, spoke on the team's upcoming season.
"We had an excellent year last year, and we're really just looking to build on that and get even further than we did last year," Temple said. "We're going to have a lot of guys step up, and I think it's really a time for new guys to step up."
Temple also spoke on the leadership he plans to provide for younger players this season.
"I think using the past experiences I've had from games and different scenarios, just trying to help the other guys improve when I see them going through the same types of things," Temple said. "I had that help for me a lot when I first got here."
Head coach Jim McElderry returns for his fifth season on the Banks with an experienced squad and four incoming freshmen for the 2023 season. McElderry spoke on the newcomers to the roster.
"We have guys that I think are going to be able to come in and help us immediately," McElderry said. "I think these guys are all going to be pushing and challenging for playing time from the get-go."
Rutgers opens the regular season tomorrow with a road match against Delaware beginning at 7 p.m. in Newark, Delaware.
"We have a confident group of guys," McElderry said. "Last season gave us a lot of confidence ... we can win big games, we can play away from home and win games.
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