After the Chris Gbandi era got off to an inauspicious 7-7-3 start in 2022, UConn men’s soccer is looking for some momentum in year two. They’ll have plenty of bulletin board material.
The Huskies were picked to finish 5th (out of six) in the East division of the Big East Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll and the individual honorees did not contain a single Husky.
Only DePaul was picked lower than UConn, while Villanova was ‘tied.’
The Big East welcomes soccer powerhouse Akron as its 12th member this year. Including the Zips, the league has four teams that made the NCAA tournament last year. Creighton stormed its way to the Final Four and lost to eventual champion Syracuse.
Perhaps because of the rigors of the Big East, the Huskies’ non-conference schedule is gettable, featuring the likes of Siena, Manhattan, LIU, Yale, Holy Cross, and Assumption. They also head down to Charlotte on Aug. 24 to take on the 49ers in the season opener, and later in October host Vermont, fresh off a Sweet 16 appearance.
Speaking of the Orange, UConn’s best player last year and All-Big East First Teamer Mateo Leveque transferred up north to Ian McIntyre's squad. With their midfield maestro gone, look for sophomore Eli Conway, junior Scott Testori, and senior Okiem Chime to pick up the production in the attacking third.
The Huskies also welcome back metronome Moussa Wade, who tore his ACL last year two games in. He’ll be bolstered by nine freshmen and two graduate transfers, with six of the former coming from out of state.