Just days from the onset of the 2022 DI men’s soccer championship, I took a look back at the season that was and picked the best XI across the country.
As I did with my women’s XI, I operated with just two rules: no more than one player per school and two per conference. That way, this team is able to reflect as many great performers as possible. However, it does mean some very deserving players were left out. Quite a few honorable mentions can be found at the bottom of this article.
Here’s my best XI for DI men’s soccer in 2022:
G Hunter Morse (Western Michigan)
This may be a bit of a spoiler, but I really wanted to include Duke’s Eliot Hamill here. The reason I didn’t was that there’s another Blue Devil I did include later on, so Morse is my guy in goal. Western Michigan and Duke have each allowed just seven goals this season, but the Broncos have done so in one more game. Morse makes my team — by a hair.
D Noah Gulden (Lipscomb)
Outside back has become a popular position to play across the world of soccer in recent years. It is so much fun to watch an outside back sprint up and down the pitch contributing to every part of their team’s play — at least everyone minus the opposition. Gulden has spent this season causing all kinds of problems for defenses when he joins the attack or swings a corner kick into the area and leads the team in assists as a result.
D Luis Grassow (Kentucky)
Anytime Grassow is on the field for the Wildcats, he makes their already stingy defense even harder to break through. Though he has just three goal contributions, scoring against Tulsa and West Virginia while assisting versus Dayton, they all came in draws — meaning that without Grassow, Kentucky would likely not be unbeaten this season.
D Moise Bombito (New Hampshire)
Bombito was named America East Defender of the Year in part for his defensive presence, leading the Wildcats to an 11-2 record in games he starts (with eight clean sheets), but also for his additional offensive output. The Montreal, Quebec native has scored two game-winning goals and four in total.
D Nick Richardson (Maryland)
Richardson’s point total of 13 is second-best on the team, behind Malcolm Johnston and just ahead of Joshua Bolma. Richardson joins Terrapin attacks almost as much as anyone else in the forward line, and still has the stamina and defensive prowess to contribute to five clean sheets this season.
M Peter Stroud (Duke)
Stroud is the dictionary definition of the eye-test player. Advanced stats are only just making their way into college soccer, and I’m sure those numbers would shower Stroud with the praise he deserves, but unfortunately, the traditional goals and assists don’t. Stroud is integral to this undefeated Duke team regardless.
M Knut Ahlander (SMU)
Ahlander’s 12 goals through 16 games — good for sixth in the country — have come in bunches. He’s scored four braces this season, twice in non-conference play and twice against AAC foes. That includes the Mustangs’ 3-2 win over Tulsa on Nov. 2 that shook up the conference standings and tournament seeding.
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M Ryan Becher (UMBC)
Here’s someone who is involved in just about everything his team does in and around the penalty box. Becher is capable of slipping in a teammate for a chance or finishing it off himself, with the occasional bit of skill to boot. He has tallied 36 points this season thanks to 13 goals and 10 assists — the only player to hit double-digits in both categories.
F Levonte Johnson (Syracuse)
Johnson would certainly be a contender for best transfer based on the impact he’s made in his first season in Syracuse. His five game-winning goals have been crucial to the Orange’s ascent into the national title picture this season. He and Nathan Opoku were both in contention for this XI.
F Duncan McGuire (Creighton)
This inclusion is very simple. When you average a goal per game over the course of an entire season and lead the country in scoring, your spot in this XI is practically guaranteed. McGuire has put on a finishing clinic this season, 18 goals on just 46 shots — a conversion percentage of .630, fifth-best in the country.
F Lucas Meek (Washington)
It would have felt wrong not to acknowledge the Huskies in this XI. Truth is, there were probably three players just in their attack that could have slotted in here when you consider Ilijah Paul and Nick Scardina. But the honor goes to Meek, who leads the team and the Pac-12 in points.
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G Eliot Hamill (Duke)
G Sam Fowler (Washington)
D Andreas Ueland (Virginia)
D Garrison Tubbs (Wake Forest)
D Daniel Munie (Indiana)
M Imanol Rosales (Washington)
M Nick Gutmann (Kentucky)
M Filip Mirkovic (Pittsburgh)
F Shakur Mohammed (Duke)
F Stephen Afrifa (FIU)
F MD Myers (Rutgers)
F Milo Yosef (Marshall)
F Matthew Bell (Marshall)