The UConn men’s soccer team released its 2022 schedule on Tuesday, as anticipation builds ahead of an exciting new chapter for the program. For the first time since 1997, Ray Reid is not walking through that door. After announcing his retirement in December, Reid has set up shop 10 miles down the road as technical director/interim head coach of Hartford Athletic, the Nutmeg State’s USL side.
In steps Chris Gbandi, a Husky legend in his own right, who led UConn to its 1999 title.
After a respectable yet injury-marred professional career, Gbandi entered the coaching ranks, serving as an assistant at UConn, Holy Cross, and Dartmouth, before taking the Northeastern gig in 2016.
Gbandi led the other Huskies to a 11-6-2 record in 2021, finishing second in the Colonial Athletic Conference. At UConn, the 42-year old Liberian national inherits a young but talented roster in addition to a 13-man incoming recruiting class as he attempts to build on a 7-7-1 season in 2021. UConn hasn’t made the NCAA tournament since 2019, a drought that feels like ages for a program of this stature.
The 2022 campaign gets underway in two short weeks with three exhibition tilts; Sunday, Aug. 14 vs. FDU; Wednesday, Aug. 17 vs. LIU; and Saturday, Aug. 20 at Northeastern.
The Huskies open their non-conference slate at Morrone Stadium vs. Charlotte on Thursday, Aug. 25 and vs. Holy Cross on Sunday, Aug. 28. UConn stays home to kick off September, hosting NJIT on Friday, Sept. 2.
The next Monday, former conference foe Syracuse trots in. The Huskies then get their first true road test at Rhode Island on Saturday, Sept. 10. Big East play kicks off a week later on Sept. 17, when UConn travels to Omaha, Nebraska to take on Creighton. View the full slate below:
‼️OUR 2022 SCHEDULE IS HERE‼️ pic.twitter.com/wjZVQ6zLp1— UConn Men's Soccer (@UConnMSOC) July 26, 2022
The Huskies face six teams that made the 2021 NCAA tournament. There’s Charlotte, then five Big East schools (Georgetown, Creighton, Villanova, St. John’s and Providence). Georgetown, the conference heavyweight, is fresh off two straight Final Fours and won the whole dang thing in 2019. Last year, Villanova, Creighton, and Providence all joined the Hoyas in the second round.
As far as non-conference foes, Charlotte may be daunting, but the season-opener hype should be be dialed up to the max, and the 49ers did lose their top two goal scorers from last year’s tourney team. Syracuse and Holy Cross both finished .500, but you can’t discount any team from the ACC, and the latter returns the Patriot League Rookie of the Year. NJIT, Stonehill, and Dartmouth turned in losing records in 2021, but Rhode Island is fresh off 10-5-2 campaign and finished second in the Atlantic 10.
Heading out to Creighton to kick off conference play is quite the task, but the Goal Patrol is certainly circling the conference home opener vs. Providence. A mid-week trip to Villanova in the October doldrums will also be a critical game, as well a short trek down to New York to face St. John’s for the second-to-last game of the regular season. If the Huskies can take care of business, Morrone could be a zoo for the regular season finale when Georgetown comes to Storrs, especially if postseason implications are at hand.