The Faith Eagles men's soccer team kicks off its season on Saturday, September 5, against Viterbo University at 3:30 p.m. in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. The Eagles look to build off their ten-win campaign in 2019 with a new coach and four returning starters.
Gary Backous returns to coach the Eagles men's team as the winningest coach in program history. He coached the team from 2008 until 2015, winning 77 games against 69 losses and 8 ties. Gary's last season at Faith was one of the school's best-ever as the team went 16-4-1 and advanced to the national tournament.
"I'm optimistic about our team this fall," said Coach Backous. "They grew a lot during the preseason camp. I would love to build off the excellent defensive culture that former coach Jordan Sauser developed at Faith. From an attacking perspective, my goal is to develop a more possession-oriented style of play, focusing on composure and playing through the midfield more consistently."
Faith's offense will be led by senior captain Jason Conable. He was a 1st Team All-Conference goalkeeper last season but is moving to the midfield where he will be playing alongside his brother, Joseph Conable. The Conable brothers will be sharing time in the midfield with newcomers Josh Forgie, Micah Love, and Will Holst.
The defense returns a lot of experience and will be led by returning starters Sawyer Gogerty, Jacob Stilwell, and Noah Zollinger. They will be helped in the back by upperclassmen Scott Iler, Caleb Love, and Sam Cole. Freshman center back Seth Brooks has been making a strong case to be considered for a starting position as well.
"We should be deep at forward as we have returners Trey Niemeyer and Jon Crossman competing for those roles against an athletic group of freshmen consisting of Carson Odle, James Busenitz, and Hanan Lindow," said Backous. "The most hotly contested positional battle is currently at goalkeeper where freshmen Ramon Hernandez and Jared Conable are competing for the starting role."
The Eagles play a difficult schedule as multiple teams at their normal level are not playing this season due to the coronavirus, forcing them to play much larger schools and tougher competition.
The front half of the schedule is loaded with home games. Faith plays eight of its first ten games at home, including two on Homecoming Weekend, September 18 and 19. They finish the season with three consecutive away games, followed by the conference tournament October 29 and 30 in Manhattan, Kansas. You can view the entire schedule here.