EDWARDSVILLE - The boys soccer team at Edwardsville high will be returning a great number of very experienced and talents players as the Tigers prepare to do battle in the 2022 season.

Edwardsville finished the 2021 season at 15-4-3, its campaign ending with a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to O'Fallon after extra time on a goal in the final second of the match. The players who are returning to the team for the new season have the talent and experience to return to the state finals in November, and have worked hard in offseason training.

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"We have had some excellent summer sessions, in which to really look at the development of our players," Tigers head coach Mark Heiderscheid said. "To the end, the returning varsity players from the back include Sam Reader, Blye Brickman, Ben Leardi and Gavin Gierich. They each were critical players to our varsity team last year. Some notable players that might be added include Mahler, Zach Lane, Matt Waple, Gavin Liebermann and Carter McMillian. Sam Reader, in particular, is everything that one would look for in a defender, but this group is so deep and talented and playing time will be shared by many."

The midfielders return experience and talent, which will be a key to the success of the Tigers in 2022.

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"The returning midfield of Tyler Dacus, Axtom Anom and Owen Logan have been nothing short of impressive," Heiderscheid said. "They were so dominant in Wednesday night's scrimmage that it was a joy to watch as their energy and technical abilities were overwhelming. That said, Liam McLean and Brian Salazar have been able to pull the strings in midfield all summer as well. I tried several young midfielders last night and they appear ready at this time."

The forward line is also very talented and will be able to put balls into the back of the opponent's nets this season as well.

"Up front, we have so much talent," Heiderscheid said. "Evan Moore, Berik Selberg and Nick Peterson are so big and fast and intelligent in their play. They can stretch the defense and they can create so many options for us. Abe Gianaris returns as well and he connects so well and can shred defenses as well. Colin McGinnis and a couple of others have shown promise as strikers this preseason."

In goal, the Tigers have a number of promising players, with Zeke Manning and Zach Chitwood the leading candidates to split time in goal for the varsity this season.

The Tigers' season gets underway the week of Aug. 22 in the Metro Cup showcase tournament at Belleville Althoff Catholic. The Tigers are set to play the Crusaders on Aug. 24.

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