Camels Ranked Tops in the Nation
Following last season’s unforgettable run that culminated in the 2021 NCAA Division III championship title, the Connecticut College men's soccer team has been named No. 1 in the nation in the United Soccer Coaches 2022 preseason poll.
The Camels are coming off their best season in program history, including the national title and regular season NESCAC crown. After dropping the season’s first game to Wheaton, Conn rebounded and finished with a record of 19-4-1, concluding with a triumph over Amherst in penalty kicks to secure the first team NCAA Championship victory in school history.
For this season, Conn returns the majority of its starters and reserves, although they lost three impactful seniors: Lorenzo Bocchetti (Wilmington, Del.), MT Tshuma (Magwegwe, Zimbabwe) and Aiden Scales (Grafton, Mass.).
On the offensive end, All-America and NESCAC Player of the Year Augie Djerdjaj (Mahopac, N.Y.) and fellow All-NESCAC teammate Steve Yeonas (McLean, Va.) highlight a strong returning midfield. Following an outstanding first year, Jack Kelesoglu (Westfield, N.J.) anchors an experienced back line, while goalkeeper Sam Maidenberg (South Orange, N.J.) returns for a second consecutive year.
Key contributors Rye Jaran (Downingtown, Pa.) and Jake Creus (Rye, N.Y.), each of whom scored five goals last season, will continue to factor in offensively. Bruce Doyle (Hoboken, N.J.), Alessandro Horvath Diano (New Haven, Conn.) and Marco Cerezo (Malaga, Spain) will shore up a defense that allowed less than one goal per game last season.
Despite the best preseason ranking in program history, head coach Reuben Burk does not put much stock in the honor.
"For me, being ranked No.1 is more or less irrelevant because no one has played a game yet," he said. "Predictions are nice praise, but the reality is that the only rankings that truly matter are the ones at the end of the season."
Burk said he doesn’t believe the top ranking will affect his squad.
"The rankings don't put any extra pressure on us because we set our own expectations and objectives each season and we can't control how other people think we will do this season."
The Camels will kick off their 2022 campaign on Tuesday, Sept. 6, when they host Mitchell College at Freeman Field.