The Bears Will Again Be The Team To Beat In The Missouri Valley Conference In 2023
|Coach – Michael Seabolt – 2nd season|
|Conference – Missouri Valley Conference|
|2022 Record – 12-2-4 overall, 6-0-2 conference|
|2022 National Ranking – 30 College Soccer News. Received Votes in United Soccer Coaches season ending poll.|
|Five Year Win Total |
2022 – 12
2021 – 17
2020 – 12
2019 – 18
2018 – 9
Aadne Bruseth – Forward – A four-year starter. All-MVC First Team selection in 2020 and 2021. Appeared in a total of 77 games with 60 starts over five seasons. Eleven career goals and 15 career assists.
Adrian Barosen – Defender – Played in 46 games with 26 starts over three seasons. Three career goals and six career assists. MVC All-Freshman Team member in the 2020 (spring 2021) season. Transferred to FIU for 2023 season.
|2023 Outlook – The 2022 season at Missouri State was unique in that it was the first season in thirty years that Jon Leamy was not at the helm of the program. However, the normal growing pains that accompany the transition from a long term head coach were minimized due to the fact that new head coach Michael Seabolt served as the associate head coach at MSU under Leamy since 1992. |
The Bears won the MVC regular season title for the fourth year in a row last year, the MVC tournament title for the third year in a row, and punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive season. They also were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row by nemesis Creighton.
Missouri State’s less than stellar 2-7-0 overall record in the NCAA Tournament is no doubt among the areas where Seabolt hopes improvement will occur in the future. One of the two wins came in 2020 and the other in 2021. But first the Bears, who have the best overall winning percentage in the country since 2017 (77-14-14) and are undefeated in regular season MVC play in three out of the past four seasons, have to continue to take care of business in conference play.
Seabolt will enter the 2023 campaign with a roster full of veteran players to work with supplemented by the addition of a bumper recruiting class that leans heavily as in the past on international players. The 2023 squad will again be the prohibitive favorite to dominate the MVC. The Bears will be a deep team with a lot of lineup options. Sometimes when it comes to personnel “more can be less” and can create complacency. Accordingly, Missouri State’s success in 2023 will be impacted by their ability to remain focused on one game at a time and their collective motivation to improve as the season progresses.
Senior Jesus Barea, the 2022 MVC Player of the Year, return to lead the attack up top. Other returning forwards include Graduate Student Jon Koka (3g, 4a), junior James Jennings (3g, 1a), senior Pablo Guillen, and sophomore Ollie Bate.
Seniors Jack Denton (0g, 5a), the 2022 MVC Midfielder of the Year, and Kian Yari (4g, 5a), the 2021 MVC Midfielder of the Year and a three-time All-MAC First Team selection, will set the pace in the middle of the park and serve as catalysts on the offensive side of the ball. Seniors Zack Hargreaves (0g, 2a) and Pasco Corvino and sophomore Daniel Normann (2g, 0a) round out a deep contingent of linkmen.
A relentless MSU defense that held opponents to a total of only 11 goals last year should again be a team strength. Six of the 11 goals came in a 3-0 loss to Tulsa and a 4-3 win over Evansville. Senior Harry Townsend who started every game in goal last year with a 0.61 goals against average and a program best 12 shutouts returns to anchor the defense. Graduate Students Javier Martin Gil (1g, 4a), a 2022 All-MVC First Team selections returns in the back along with junior Michael Peck (0g, 2a) among others.
The MVC has expanded to ten teams in 2023 with the addition of affiliate members Bowling Green, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois who previously were members of the Mid-American Conference. All three have fielded very competitive teams in the past and will make winning the MVC championship a little more difficult.
Winning the MVC regular season and tournament titles has become an expectation but is by no means a given at Missouri State. However, they are clearly the frontrunner. The next step for the program is a sustained run in the NCAA Tournament. This could be the year that happens. Whether this team has what it takes to do that remains to be seen.
Tyler Cataon – Midfielder – Surry, England – Played for Fulham Soccer Club.
Max Falconer – Midfielder – Wellington, New Zealand – Played for Miramar Rangers AFC. A finalist for the College Sport Wellington Football Player of the Year and the Wellington College Sportsman of the Year.
Joe Ling – Midfielder – Essex, England – Woodbridge High School – Played for Crystal Palace FC.
Mattia Petricca – Defender – Rome, Italy – Played for the S.S. Lazio football club.
Blake Bastian – Defender – Eagle Mountain, Utah – Westlake High School – A junior transfer from Salt Lake Community College. A 2022 SWAC All-Conference selection.
Jonathan Kliewer – Goalkeeper – Grand Rapids, Michigan – A redshirt junior transfer from the University of Detroit, Mercy where he was the starter in goal in 2021 and 2022 and was named to the 2021 Horizon League All-Conference Team, All-Freshman Team, and was named the Horizon League Goalkeeper of the Year.
Lorenzo Rovei – Goalkeeper – Turin, Italy – A senior transfer from Dallas College Richland. A Second Team 2022 JUCO All-American.
Daniel Shabani – Defender – Boras, Sweden – A junior transfer from the University of Central Arkansas where he played in 11 games with 2 starts in 2021 and 17 games with 15 starts in 2022.
Picture from Missouri State Athletics