Saint Mary men’s soccer program going international – Leavenworth Times

By Derek Wiley

The University of Saint Mary men’s soccer team is going international.

Wanting to bring more experience into the program, the Spiers went to the transfer portal and added eight international players from seven different countries.

“We’re going to have much more of an international presence than we’ve ever had,” said Derek Mazeitis, who is entering his 18th season as the Saint Mary head coach.

“The biggest team we’ve ever had. I think those who have traditionally seen us over the years are going to see a different makeup of our program, what you see on the field, a totally revamped look, lineup, size.”

The Spiers return 17 players from last year’s squad along with 24 new athletes, including 14 freshmen and 10 transfers.

“One of our goals was to create a reserve team for development purposes,” Mazeitis said. “We made it our goal to go after a lot of transfers because we had a pretty young team last year and we’ve raised our average age quite a bit this year.”

Saint Mary has 10 players at least 23-years-old.

“A lot of things just fell for us pretty well this year with recruiting,” Mazeitis said. “Our goal was to really get more experience in the door of playing at the college level.”

Come Grieu is expected to start at goalkeeper for the Spiers. Originally from France, Grieu recorded 35 saves in 10 games for Iowa Central Community College last year.

“I’m really looking forward to the experience he brings on the field,” Mazeitis said.

Transfers Anthony Rangel (wing), Romario Harding (wing), Ramiro Vasquez (defensive mid), Joe Gartner (center back) and Boris Trejo (center back) are also expected to play big minutes this season.

“My philosophy is I think you can get a good mix of domestic and international players,” Mazeitis said. “I don’t want this to be an all-international or an all-domestic team. I think a good mix really helps the culture of the program and the guys being able to learn from each other.”

Senior midfielder Paul Trejo returns after scoring seven goals and adding five assists last season. Senior midfielders Jonathan Wilson and Shemari Hibbert are also back.

Sophomore midfielders Gustavo Freitas and Oscar Sandoval could also have big seasons for Saint Mary.

“I think our wing play is going to be exceptional,” Mazeitis said. “I certainly think that’s going to be a strength of ours. Depth is certainly going to be a nice thing that we haven’t had before. I think our maturity will be helpful.”

The Spiers open the 2022 season Saturday at home against Doane University.

Saint Mary was picked to finish 10th in the KCAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

“The non-conference games, I view those as practice for the ultimate test, which is all of conference play,” Mazeitis said. “We hope to develop through the non-conference and see what we have, what our strengths are, what our weaknesses are, what kind of personnel we have to fit into what formation, and then in conference, I really see us as a top half team. If we don’t finish in the top six or seven, it will be a disappointment.”

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