Men’s soccer relies on veteran leadership


Senior Isaac Kannah (7) prepares to make his move around an Eastern Illinois defender Oct. 22 in DeKalb. Kannah is one of nine upperclassmen who are expected to help guide a young men’s soccer squad this season.

By Abraham Murguia

Conscious of the less-than-ideal results his team had last year, men’s soccer head coach Eric Luzzi is looking ahead to a difficult schedule with only one goal in mind: making the NCAA tournament.

Luzzi knows five teams on the Huskies’ schedule were part of the NCAA tournament last season and said it is likely by the time the Huskies play against some of these teams they will essentially be squaring off against teams in the top 25.

“It’s an aggressive schedule, but that’s what good players want,” Luzzi said. “Good players want to play against the best.

“Our goal is always to win the NCAA tournament however that happens, whether it means we win our conference tournament or we get an at-large bid. There’s two different ways to get in and we are always going to try our best to make sure we get in one of those two ways.”

Senior center back Dusty Page echoed Luzzi’s comments, saying the players’ expectations are simply to win.

“We have very high aspirations for the team. We know what we are capable of,” Page said. “We know we have all the soccer pieces we need to be successful. We expect to win trophies, win the MAC and make a run in the NCAA tournament. That’s the goal and that’s the plan right now.

“I think one of my biggest roles on the team is just [being] a vocal presence, being able to communicate certain runs that I see from the back of the field, and even if it’s not soccer-related just a little bit of a vocal lift helps the team out, can be inspiring at times and makes sure the team stays focused, so that’s a big contribution.”

With nine upperclassmen on the roster, Luzzi said he doesn’t expect any of the eight freshmen to make big splashes right away, but everyone will have an opportunity to earn the right to be part of the starting 11.

“If I am being honest, I try to make a point to never count on freshmen,” Luzzi said. “I think that when you look at teams that really do well at the Div. I level, it’s usually the teams that start more experienced players.”