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    Roland Gray

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Listener of the Streets

Listener of the Streets (6/7)

  1. Nice Summer run for some incoming Billikens. U19 SLSG completed group play undefeated, with a 3-1 win over Dallas Solar. (Tanner Anderson with a goal.) Despite many chances and controlling the run of play, U19’s fall 2-1 to Miami Strikers in the USYS National Semifinals. (own goal after a Seth Anderson cross) Good efforts from Seth Anderson, Donny Ross, and, earlier from Brogan Townsend. SLU Men open their season Sunday August 15th with a home exhibition vs Wisconsin, 7pm.
  2. SLU commit Seth Anderson scores 1 of 2 goals (Johnny Gates) and SLSG gets the 2-1 over Tuzos Phoenix. Strokg game from SLU commit Donny Ross as well. They play Dallas Solar tomorrow in their last group play game. Also tomorrow, The ECNL Boys National Championships U14-U17 begin in St. Louis. All games are at WWT Park in Fenton. Brackets attached. (SLSG Elite is joining ECNL Boys beginning next season.)
  3. SLU commit Seth Anderson scored twice. (Thomas Redmond game winner) And, SLSG 02 defeated Arlington, VA 3-2 at the USYS National Championships at Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, FL, Sarasota, FL. 3 SLU commits playing along with a few other SLU targets. They get Tuzos Phoenix tomorrow. Tuzos won over Dallas Solar today.
  4. SLU received a 2023 commitment from MF/F Jordan Gary. Jordan plays club soccer with SLSG ECNL (IL, and MO) and she attends Collinsville High School. She was one of 18 players Nationally selected across the country to represent the United States in the Nike ID2 Olympic Development International friendlies last year vs English Academies in England. (Trip was postponed due to COVID-19) The year prior she played on a Midwest All Star Team selected to play in the International Cup Futures with and against some of the World’s best 15 year olds. Most recently she played with the SLSG MO U16’s at ECNL Nationals. She is front row, first from the left in the photo.
  5. Official release of 2021 incoming class: https://slubillikens.com/news/2021/7/16/mens-soccer-billikens-announce-2021-recruiting-class.aspx
  6. Sunmer run. Nice little Thursday for Billiken Emily Groark in Suburban Chicago. SLSG U23 gets the 2-0 UWS playoff win at previously undefeated Chicago Mustangs in suburban Chicago. Groark scored the game winner, and, she made a nice individual 1v1 effort on the left wing end line later, to assist the diving header insurance tally. Groark and Katie Houck were the 2 of the 7 Billiken team members that made the trip for SLSG.
  7. And Ashley has now tweeted it out this afternoon. Big get for SLU. She was also recruited by Power 5 teams in the Big East, BigTen, Big 12. Identifying good players, getting in early, building relationships, finding a strong mutual fit, getting a commitment.
  8. SLU received a commitment from Ashley Koch (2023). High level player and recruit. Can play up top, in the central attacking midfield, or, on the wing. Good finisher and can take on defenders 1v1. Strong technical ability, and on ball skills. Good work rate. She was the Kansas Class 6A Forward of the Year as a Sophomore. (Shawnee Mission East, state runner up) Plays club ball with KC Athletics. (formerly Sporting Blue Valley) Her U16 KC Athletics team finished 9th Nationally in the ECNL. Current SLU players from KC Athletics include Sophia Stram, Caroline Kelly, Lily Ellis.
  9. 2021 SLU commit Max Floriani, (Chicago Warren) was named both, Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year, and, a United Soccer Coaches All American. SLU has Fall 2021 home games vs Louisville, Creighton, Memphis, SIUE, Central Arkansas. Road games at UIC, SMU, UMKC.
  10. I’d say the same for basketball recruiting when it comes to age/year. If you have a star player at a position as a Senior, you need to have a Freshman or incoming Freshman ready to go, as well as transfers etc…to take over when that one leaves. It’s not a surprise as Puricelli will be either a Senior or will have graduated when the next 4 year type of Keeper starts at SLU. They are looking at many 2023 and 2024 Keepers. It isn’t unusual. Many are from out of town. Although there are a couple of very good local ones too. It comes down, to evaluating, mutual interest, building a relationship, and closing. You need all of those things at every position. For now SLU has Puricelli, Phelps, and, Ellis from KC, and that is a good mix for a while. With recruiting, SLU leaves no stone unturned. They work inside out. They have built relationships in key markets amongst various programs. They target specific players early, and they gauge mutual interest. It isn’t a super wide net. Some kids want a better conference, a bigger school, different atmosphere, or want to go away, all kinds of things. Many will continue want and do that forever. That’s okay. Some others have more of an initial interest in SLU, and/or an openness to SLU, locally, regionally, nationally. That allows SLU to better focus their time and resources on those players. There are no must have one player(s). You can find and get another, especially if you win, are good at evaluating and building relationships, etc…There are also some players where you have to wait and see if they develop enough to offer as well, it they aren’t quite at that level yet. One of top 2023 targets, was named a State Forward of the Year as a Sophomore. She scored the game winner for her U16 club team in Florida yesterday, in their playoffs. SLU has built a long term mutual relationship, identified and evaluated and all of those things mentioned above, getting in early. There’s competition, but, SLU is in very good position. We’ll see. She also has a few pretty good teammates with too, as their team is one of the better in their age group. These are Larson, Paloucek, etc type of players and recruits. There are some players considering SLU nowadays that would not have done so years ago. SLU doesn’t have to get all of the top local players or many or most. But they need to be competitive, get some, and they are doing that more and more. They will never get them all. And, that’s okay. Part of recruiting is taking a good but lesser recruited player for various reasons, and developing them to be as good and better than some of those more highly recruited players. That’s fun too. SLU has done that. Madelyn Smith, Emily Gaebe, etc…can play the game at a high level. And, some years have more top players than others or more depth or more this or that. The same can be said for club or high school teams. You mentioned some players. Many of them happen to play on the same U18/U19 club team. It’s a pretty stacked team. Their U15’s are also pretty stacked. SLU has a commit from one of their U17 players, perhaps not as good of a team, but still good, and, with recruiting, it’s about finding an individual player regardless of their team. Anyway, that U18/19 team has zero SLU commits. But SLU is getting a few other local players that can play from elsewhere in that recruiting class. SLU will do just fine. One local 2023 SLU recruiting target, perhaps an under recruited player, keeps scoring big goals in big games, including high school, and club ball this summer. We’ll see how that develops. For me, there is always value analyzing all of the commits, how did they come about, even if they weren’t to SLU. Some are high level recruits. Some are over recruited. And, some are under recruited. And how do they compare with others out there Nationally? So, using your example, The U18/19 SLSG ECNL team made the Quarterfinals in the ECNL National Championship. (They fell 3-2 to Charlotte.) They defeated the top seed SoCal Blues, one of the country’s top club teams. Here’s a list of some of the school’s involved in the game: SLSG: Oklahoma St., South Carolina, Wisconsin (2), Mississippi St. (2), Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Mizzou. SIUE, and several others. They were missing their North Carolina and Clemson commits. SoCal Blues: Santa Clara, Cal, Oregon, UCLA, Washington, TCU, Georgetown, Arkansas, Penn St. Colorado, USC, Washington St., BYU, Pepperdine, St. Mary’s, UCSB, USF, etc… The game was a hard fought, physical 1-1 draw. SLSG won in the 11th round of PK’s. This was one of their goals, an assist from the current Missouri State Gatorade Player of the Year, (Rylee Howard, Wisconsin) to the previous Missouri State Gatorade Player of the year. (Grace Bindbeutel, Oklahoma State) (It’s worth a look. It’s a really nice goal) https://twitter.com/theecnl/status/1410747401699160068?s=21 The point is these two are some of those in that elite level Power 5/Big East recruiting category. SLU is getting/mixing in more of these types of players. It requires getting in early, gauging mutual interest before some of those big schools get in there. Then it’s a battle. SLU has been putting in a lot of work for a lot of years to get to this point. Progress has been made and is still being made. But many will still go elsewhere. That’s okay. Good for them. Good luck to them. It still helps SLU when the local areas have high level recruits, high level teams annually. And, as SLU has shown, a few might return as well. SLU will continue to go into other geographies and get players from more and more places as well. I wish the A-10 could develop an East Coast version of the WCC in Women’s Soccer. There’s plenty of talent in the recruiting regions in the A-10. The league has not been helpful enough from a program standpoint, administrative standpoint etc…as previously mentioned, SLU has a profile that better fits the Big East in Women’s soccer. But they are where they are, and they can be a top 20 program regardless of league. It’s just another challenge. Recruiting is a mix. I often go back to the Hannah Friedrich example. She was named top 30 it so player nationally after this past year in a year end ranking. She played at a not so soccer power Hazelwood West, and while good, not the elite of elites at AFA Fillies. But she can play. And she has gotten better every year.
  11. Bry worked through SLU’s summer camp/ID camp. She’s been working with LFA Girls Academy League high school age teams. Now you have Girls Academy, ECNL, USYS as three paths for girls. (The USYS Midwest Regionals were recently completed in St. Louis) Former SLU assistant Ralph Richards has been SLSG Girls ECNL Director for most of the past decade, and, he coaches U15-U-19 teams.Their National Playoffs are going on right now in Florida, as well as later this month. So hundreds and hundreds of college coaches flew to California and from there, to Florida, including SLU. SLU recruits heavily from both club programs (as well as others locally and Nationally) The U14 and U13 LFA Academy teams made both the National Finals, and, the National Semifinals respectfully ,in Oceanside, (San Diego) CA this past week. 2022 SLU commit Ellie Paloucek plays for LFA Academy 03/04. With regards to recruiting a keeper, Puricelli graduates in 2024. It makes sense for SLU to be taking a look at 2023 and 2024 high school classes.
  12. The bad news is the SLSG 02 team lost for the first time in its last 37 games. The good news is they still qualified for the National Semifinals later in July in Florida after going undefeated in league play. After dominating pool play and winning in knock out play, the team fell 3-2 in OT to Chicago FC United. Both Seth (SLU commit) and Tanner (2023 SLU recruiting target playing up) Anderson scored for SLU. SLU commits Donny Ross and Brogan Townsend also on the team) Ross has been used as an i side left back, Townsend outside back, and Anderson(s) in the attacking midfield.
  13. Depth. Puricelli is the starter. But it is good to add an additional keeper who will play some of the time when needed. Previously, Kasey Hartmann (who graduated in the Spring) was going to be back next year, but she is not. Phelps played on the team one year behind Puricelli at SLSG. But many of the different players and teams in their club system practice and play with and against one another.
  14. SLU has added Goal Keeper Transfer Natalie Phelps. She spent her Freshman season st Illinois. (Lafayette, SLSG). She played club ball with Grafie English, Katie Houck, Anna Lawler’s sister, etc… SLU is also actively recruiting several 2023/2024 Keepers in the next cycle of recruiting. (Illinois has added former local standout Sydney Stephens, who transferred from Georgia. She’s been having a strong summer ball season playing with several current SLU players)
  15. Tuesday, 8am Creve Coeur Park Soccer Complex, Field 1, Regional Semifinals vs Chicago Galaxy. Multiple SLU soccer commits playing. They won their pool play bracket over Minneapolis United, Chicago Magic, Nebraska FC by a combined score of 14-2. The next one will likely be much closer. Good opportunity to see 2021 SLU commit Seth Anderson, a big time goal scorer, SLU commit defender Brogan Townsend, and SLU commit, defender Donny Ross.
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