It is a whole new ballgame for the Husson College men’s soccer team.
The Eagles, under first-year head coach Seth Brown, hope to employ a fast-paced, attacking style as they begin the quest for a North Atlantic Conference playoff spot.
Brown, a former Searsport High and Maine Maritime Academy player, must replace four of Husson’s top five scorers from last season, a group that accounted for 32 goals and 25 assists.
“It’s a very young team,” said Brown, who has 10 freshmen, 10 sophomores and six upperclassmen on the roster.
Husson was 10-6-2 last season under Per Henrikson, who was fired 10 games into the season, and Keith Bosley, who finished out the campaign. The Eagles lost to eventual champion Mount Ida in the playoffs.
“It’s a great group of guys. They have a fantastic work ethic,” Brown said of a squad that also must replace goalkeeper Chris Jackson.
Key returning players include senior midfielder Oscar Ody out of Erskine Academy, who was second on the squad with 24 points (10 & 4) in 2005.
Nate Carter of Presque Isle, who had two goals in Husson’s season-opening 4-0 win over Maine Maritime Academy, is another threat up front along with Japanese freshmen Yutaka Matsui and Hiroki Ueda.
In the midfield, junior mid Pat St. Hilaire of Auburn (2 & 3) provides experience, while NAC Player of the Week Hiroshi Iwobuchi (goal, 2 assists vs. MMA) and fellow freshman Ross Salotto have shown promise. Sophomore Nattapong Kongsuriya of Hampden Academy (4 & 4) also returns.
“We want to play hard-nosed, all-over-the-field defense and just be after it,” Brown said. “Our thing is, if you defend and win the ball back as fast as you can, then you get to attack more.”
The back line in Husson’s 4-3-3 alignment is anchored by sophomores Tim Mousette, Josh Bartlett of Bowdoinham and Justin Gauvin of Woolwich. Classmates Jeffrey Truchon of Greene (4 & 0) and Tony Thompson have been moved from forward to backs.
Junior Jon Couie of Madawaska heads the goalkeeper contingent, which also includes Caribou frosh Bradley Ala and senior Dana Bellemare of Brewer.
Brown said the Eagles’ deep roster and hard-charging approach would make it necessary to utilize the skills of many.
“We’re really looking to use as many players as we can because we want to play very uptempo, we want to press, we want to make teams have to defend us,” Brown said.
Husson also welcomes back sophomore midfielders Scott Riendeau of Hermon, Josh Underhill of Stetson and Adam MacDonald of North Berwick, senior forward Igor Mitrovic of Portland, and soph defenders Chris Rozek and Fai Altonkaya.