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SLU soccer adds 14 incoming players with 5 transfers

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Van Horn's Jeferson Santamaria tries to block Fort Zumwalt South's Karson Gibbs during a Class 3 semifinal soccer match against Van Horn on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at Soccer Park in St. Louis County, Mo. 

St Louis University’s soccer roster was hit hard by the MLS draft after last season’s run to the NCAA quarterfinals. Having six players selected made for both a massive loss of talent and significant selling point for the next round of recruiting.

The Billikens have restocked with 14 new players for the 2022 season, including five Division I transfers.

The class, which was announced Tuesday, reflects the geographic expanse of SLU’ recruiting with players from eight states (Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Missouri, Utah, Florida, Oklahoma and Georgia) and four countries (Nigeria, Denmark, Spain and Germany).

“Our 2022 recruiting class might be one of our most exciting and talented classes to date,” coach Kevin Kalish said. “We were able to draw top-level players locally, regionally, nationally, internationally as well as transfers with college soccer experiences.”

The unveiling of the roster additions comes a matter of weeks before SLU will begin preparing for the 2022 season.

SLU went 16-1-4 last season and reached the Elite Eight with a roster that included six players who were drafted in January. Others signed professionally without being drafted.

Transfers include defender/midfielder Lane Warrington and defender Grady Easton from SMU, defender Alberto Suarez (Central Arkansas), defender/midfielder Enzo Okpoye (Yale) and goalkeeper Carlos Tofern (Albany). Suarez was the player of the year in the Atlantic Sun in 2021.

“Alberto’s successes in college soccer certainly speak for itself,” Kalish said. “He can start or thwart attacks. He can score goals and stop goals. He can make plays in both boxes when called on to do so.”

Among the top freshmen are forward CJ Coppola, the Gatorade player of the year from Iowa, forward Karson Gibbs (Fort Zumwalt South), the Gatorade player of the year from Missouri, midfielder/defender Mads Stistrup Peterson (Denmark), and midfielder/defender Matteo Boasso (O’Fallon High).

SLU competed nationally for players who had choices including national powers Indiana, Tulsa, Akron, Kentucky, Clemson and Missouri State.

The Billikens open the season Aug. 25 at Louisville.

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