Fresh off a third consecutive conference title and its seventh championship in the past nine years, Simon Fraser University enters the season as the unanimous favorite to defend its title in the 2019 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Preseason Men’s Soccer Coaches Poll.
Simon Fraser received all seven first-place votes for a total of 49 points. The Clan also enters its 2019 campaign ranked No. 13 in the 2019 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Div. 2 Men’s Preseason Poll.
The Western Washington Vikings, which placed second last season, was slotted for second in the preseason poll, with 38 points. They are followed by Saint Martin’s (32 pts.), which finished in third place last season, and Seattle Pacific (29 pts).
SFU posted an overall record of 17-2-0 and a near-perfect conference mark of 11-1-0. Its lone blemish during the regular season was a 2-1 loss against Western Washington that snapped a 16-game win streak. The Clan would later fall to Cal Poly Pomona in the second round of the NCAA West Regionals.
They will have to defend their title without the help of Mamadi Camara, the 2018 GNAC Player of the Year, and Michael North, the GNAC Defensive Player of the Year, both of whom wrapped up their university careers.
Head coach Clint Schneider does return 13 letter winners and seven starters from last year’s team that outscored its GNAC opponents 61-8.
Returning for the Clan are brothers Matteo and Marcello Polisi. Matteo was the leading scorer for the Clan in 2018 with 18 goals to go along with 11 assists and a team-leading 47 points. He received First Team All-GNAC, D2CCA West Region Player of the Year, and D2CCA First Team All-America honours. Marcello also received First Team All-GNAC and First Team All-West Region honours as a midfielder.
Also returning for the Clan is Burnaby native and junior goalkeeper Luciano Trasolini. The 2018 GNAC Newcomer of the Year recorded 16 wins, 34 saves, 11 shutouts and a 0.44 GAA as a sophomore. Connor Glennon will also return, fresh off a First Team D2CCA All-America season, to help anchor the Clan offense.
SFU’s main challenger, the Vikings return 18 letterwinners and eight starters to a team that went 11-6-1 (7-4-1 GNAC) in 2018. Western Washington finished second in the GNAC in goals, goals against average and shutouts
The Clan launch the new season on Sept. 5, hosting the SFU Showdown. The four-team tournament has Montana State squaring off against Cal State San Bernardino in the opener 11:30 a.m.), followed at 8:30 p.m. when SFU looks to exact some payback when they face Cal Poly Pomona. On Sept. 7, the tourney continues with Montana State facing Cal Poly Pomona at 11:30 a.m., with SFU playing Cal State Bernardino at 7 p.m. All games are at SFU’s Terry Fox Field.
From there, SFU heads out on the road for games against Cal State Dominguez, followed by a pair in Hawaii against Chaminade University and Hawaii Pacific University. Conference play begins on Oct. 3.