The Gustavus men’s soccer team will have a much younger look in 2008 due to the graduation of 12 seniors that helped last year’s team post a record of 16-4-1 and tie for the conference title. Head coach Larry Zelenz, who has directed the Gusties to four consecutive conference titles, will look to senior captains Flynn Stewart-Franzen (Sr., Minneapolis, Minn.) and Todd Johnson (Sr., Bloomington, Minn.) for leadership. Zelenz will need to re-build the defense and the attack, while relying on a veteran midfield group to control play as the rest of the team adjusts to its new roles.
The midfield returns starters Max Malmquist (So., Salt Lake City, Utah), Fraser Horton (Jr., Missoula, Montana), and Brett VanderStreek (Jr., Pella, Iowa), along with veterans Stefan Kolis (Jr., Eau Claire, Wis.) and Chris Adams (Jr., White Bear Lake, Minn.). Horton, a two-year starter, was an all-conference and all-region performer last season, while Malmquist made a big impact as a freshman and will likely become one of the team’s on-field leaders this season. VanderStreek, who started at forward a year ago, will slide back into the midfield as the Gusties adjust their basic playing formation this season.
Up front, Gustavus will need to replace All-America and MIAC Most Valuable Player Mike Butterworth , who graduated. Coach Zelenz will be searching for individuals who can put the ball in the net and that could result in some shuffling of players on the attack early in the season. Seniors Jesus Espina-Velosa (Hopkins, Minn.) and Ben Eriksson (Madison, Wis.) are returning letterwinners with experience that will get an opportunity to fill this big need for the squad.
Defensively, the Gusties will rely heavily on Flynn Stewart-Franzen, who is the lone returning starter in the back. He is a three-year starter who earned all-conference and all-region honors last season. Todd Johnson, who will likely become one of the starting outside backs, is a veteran who logged a lot of minutes last year. Junior Skylar Schulz (Tacoma, Wash.) will battle for the other starting outside back position. Sophomore Luke Strom (Plymouth, Minn.) will move into the starting goalkeeper position replacing Trevor Brown who graduated.
The team will begin its season on August 29-30 with challenging matches against Whitworth University and Pacific Lutheran University in Spokane, Washington.