The Gustavus men’s soccer program will take on a new look in 2010 as Mike Middleton takes over as the head coach and ushers in a new era of Golden Gustie Soccer. Middleton will build his squad around 11 returning letterwinners including returning starters Luke Strom (goalkeeper), Ben Ceder (defense), Justin Egleseder (defense), Lucas Thompson (defense), and midfielders Kyle Sadler (midfield), Max Malmquist (midfield) and Ben Ikeda (midfield). Gustavus opens regular season play on Saturday, September 4 with a match against Northland College, which will be played at St. Scholastica in Duluth beginning at 2:30 pm.
Coach Middleton will build the team around the four returning defensive starters including Strom (Sr., Plymouth, Minn.) in the nets, Egleseder (Jr., Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Thompson (So., Sioux Falls, S.D.) as central defenders, and Ceder (Oregon, Wis.) at right outside back. A two-year starter, Strom compiled a record of 5-5-3 in the nets last season and posted a 1.04 goals against average. Egleseder and Ceder have been key elements of the Gustie defense for the past two seasons and will give Coach Middleton a much needed veteran presence in the back, while an inexperienced group in the midfield and up front grow together and become a cohesive unit on the attack. Thompson gives the Gusties good speed and size in front of Strom. Sophomore Evan Odean (So., Duluth, Minn.) will likely step into the opening at the left outside back position, while senior Steve Lundberg (Sr., Apple Valley, Minn.) will also contribute in goal.
Malmquist (Sr., Salt Lake City, Utah), Sadler (Jr., Sioux Falls, S.D.) and Ikeda (Sr., Maple Grove, Minn.) will anchor the midfield. Middleton will look to Malmquist, an honorable mention all-conference honoree last season, to provide veteran leadership to a young midfield. Middleton also likes the competitiveness and leadership that Ikeda brings to the squad and feels Sadler has shown excellent technical skill in practice while also scoring two goals in the Gusties preseason scrimmage. Others expected to contribute in the midfield include senior Chris Adams (White Bear Lake, Minn.), who is recovering from a knee injury, Doug Frey (Sr., Duluth, Minn.), Grant Steine (So, Chaska, Minn.), Jackson Zoellner (So., Sioux Falls, S.D.), Gabe Steinborn (So., Sioux Falls, S.D.), and Alberto Guerra (So, Woodbury, Minn.).
Up front, the squad returns all-conference performer Mark Adams (Jr., Waukee, Iowa) who led the team in scoring with 10 goals and four assists as well as Dan Jarrett (Sr., Edina, Minn.). Middleton will likely also move several players around early in the season to see who might be effective in the attack, which is an area where the Gusties lack experience and depth.
Coach Middleton is excited to get started and he has been impressed with how willing the squad has been to accept a new approach and philosophy. He stated, “We are introducing some different ways of playing as well as some different formations and the players have been very willing to do whatever we ask of them.” Middleton added, “We are going to be moving some people around early trying to make the most of the talent that we have and that can be unsettling. They have shown the appropriate desire and it is my job to get everything we can out of them so this team can reach its full potential.”