The Mississippi College Men’s Soccer Team looks to start out the 2017 campaign on a high note as they play host to the Nova Southeastern Sharks. After an interview with Head Coach Kevin Johns and Senior Midfielder Bastian Busch, the Choctaws look to build on last year’s regular season dominance. Soccer, like all sports, can be broken down as a game of numbers. These numbers seem random and insignificant alone, but when related back to MC Men’s Soccer they are important.
15: The number of international players the Choctaws have on their roster. It is the second most in the Gulf South Conference. Coach Johns attributes the worldwide popularity and opportunities in the United States for student athletes to the amount of players who want to come to the United States, “…with soccer being the world’s game and the most popular game in the world. The game itself is played in every single country with a massive passion. In America, (soccer) it’s way down the list as far as the passion compared to other countries. And they all would love to come get an education in America. In most of those countries, you either pick university or soccer. They don’t have the opportunity to get an education and play soccer.”
12: The number of returning seniors. This depth of experienced players will help the team execute little details that can mean the difference between a win and a loss. Senior Bastian Busch highlighted some of the keys the team has been focusing on this offseason, ““This year we will focus on trying to move the ball quickly and limiting our mistakes. When games are close, it’s the first team to make a mistake that would lose the game.”
10: With 10 wins last season, Mississippi College finished the regular season with the best record and therefore the number 1 seed in the GSC Tournament. Last year was a huge improvement from 2015’s 8th place regular season finish.
9: The jersey number of last year’s scoring leader for the Choctaws: Jorge Delgado. Delgado led the Choctaws on the offensive end, with ten goals and forty-three shots. Fear not Choctaw fans, Coach Johns believes the combination of solid defense and good recruiting will pick up any slack left on the offensive end.
3: The West Alabama Tigers have won 3 straight Gulf South Conference Championships. They look to win another as the coaches of the GSC voted them to first place in the GSC Men’s Soccer Poll. Coach Johns expressed the depth in the GSC, “Our conference is not top heavy, like there’s not a team that could win the national championship. There’s five or six teams that could win the conference.”
1: The jersey number of the reigning Gulf South Conference Player of the Year Humberto Pelaez. The senior goalkeeper is also a preseason All-GSC Pick. Pelaez anchors the Choctaw defense as the one of the best players in the conference. It will make it easier on the offensive end for newcomers when you have such a reliable, experienced goalie behind you.