The Rutgers men’s soccer team kicks off the new season on Friday at Michigan State at 1 pm ET twenty miles off campus at Schoolcraft College. The Scarlet Knights have are 0-5-1 against the Spartans and lost 3-0 in last season’s meeting.
Second year head coach Jim McElderry boasts a roster with 14 returning letterwinners and eight starters from a team that went 7-8-3 and 1-6-1 in Big Ten play. This season begins six months after it was originally scheduled but was postponed due to the global pandemic COVID-19. The players received a free year of eligibility for this season.
The Scarlet Knights were voted to finish seventh out of nine teams in the Big Ten preseason coaches poll. They are scheduled to play a conference only schedule of ten games that included home and home series’ with Penn State and Maryland. There is hope postseason play will take place at the end of the spring season but with COVID-19, nothing is certain.
Pablo Ávila, Hugo Le Guennec and Jackson Temple were named as Big Ten Players to Watch heading into this season. Ávila was a Second Team All-Big Ten selection last season after leading Rutgers in points with 6 goals and 2 assists. Le Guennec is an anchor on the defense and Temple was second on the team with 5 goals last season. Both were named to the Big Ten All-Freshman in 2019 and expected to play bigger roles this season.
Ávila and four-year defender Vince Borden, who has 48 career games on the banks, will captain the Scarlet Knights.
Oren Asher returns after starting every game in goal during the 2019 campaign, in which he posted three shutouts, combined for another and had a 0.84 goals allowed average.
Other key returnees include defensive back Thomas DeVizio and midfielders Kyle Galloway, Vincenzo Pugliese and Nick Cruz.
Young players up front along with Temple include Anthony O’Donnell and Randy Arronis. They’ll be joined by St. Joe’s transfer Ritchie Barry, who posted 13 goals and 11 assists in three seasons at the A-10 school.
Update: Rutgers beat MSU in season opener and recap is here.
We will have continued coverage of Rutgers men’s soccer this season and for more insight on this team, you can listen to episode no. 2 of the Jim McElderry Show here: