The Faith men's soccer team made a dramatic transformation over the course of the season, going from uncertainty about their ability to field a team in August, to a group with a realistic chance to make it to the national tournament in November. The Eagles had to replace eight starters from their 2012 team and at the end of tryout week only had twelve players, several of whom had never played soccer prior to attending Faith. Through prayer and help from the basketball team the Eagles were able to boost their roster to fifteen, but experience was still a huge hurdle to overcome early in the season.
With the Eagles facing three ranked teams on the road to start the year, lessons were learned the hard way as they lost all three and were outscored 14-1. Following that first set of games Faith began focusing intently on team defending and made up their minds to set a school record for shutouts in a season. From that point the Eagles only gave up 12 goals the next 17 games which included matches against four ranked NCCAA opponents, an NCAA DIII school twice, and an NAIA scholarship program during that time. The defensive highlights from that stretch include holding Northland, the #1 team in the country at the time, scoreless for over 60 minutes and setting a school record with five consecutive shutouts in October.
The Eagles were led offensively by sophomore forward JJ Parkhurst who scored 13 goals while earning 1st Team All-Conference and All-Region honors and being ranked 14th nationally in goals per game. Freshman midfielder Ryan Koch earned Honorable Mention All-Conference and All-Region recognition as he scored five goals and had four assists. In his first year at Faith, junior defender Zach Peterson scored one goal and had two assists as the backbone of the defense. He earned 2nd Team All-Conference and All-Region recognition. Sophomore goalkeeper Jason Scheps set school records for consecutive shutouts with five, longest time without giving a goal at 594 minutes, and most shutouts in a season as he led the nation with 10 this year. In his first season in goal Scheps was recognized as a 2nd Team All-Conference, All-Region, and ended the season ranked 4th nationally in goals against average.
The Eagles improved on their fifth place finish in the Midwest Christian College Conference from a year ago as they ended the regular season and tournament in fourth place behind three nationally ranked teams. They also finished the North Central Region regular season tied for second before falling in the semifinal in what turned out to be the most competitive region tournament in years. The Eagles fell to North Central University in a dramatic penalty kick shootout in the dark before NCU eventually lost to #2 Providence in sudden-death overtime of the regional final.
The steady improvement throughout the year, coupled with a large group of returning starters and a strong recruiting class gives the Eagles plenty of optimism going into next season. At the same time, senior captain Josh Huang will be sorely missed. He did a tremendous job leading by example both on and off the field and has left big shoes to fill for next year's captain.