ATLANTA – Reigning Sun Belt Conference regular season and tournament champion Georgia State men’s soccer reported back to campus this week, ready to defend its title and begin preparations for the 2019 season. GSU returns to the pitch after a historic run last year, as the Panthers captured the program’s first ever Sun Belt championship and made its second appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Georgia State capped the 2018 season with an 11-6-3 overall record and an unbeaten 2-0-2 record in the Sun Belt – the first time since 1989 the Panthers finished undefeated in conference play. After an 0-2 start to begin the year, GSU bounced back to win six in a row for the first time since 1987. Then after three straight losses in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Finals, the Panthers broke through to win their first ever Sun Belt regular season and tournament titles by knocking off two-time defending champion Coastal Carolina in the semifinal round and rival Georgia Southern in the championship match.
GSU’s 26-man roster is loaded with 17 returners and nine newcomers, including eight returning starters. The defense is set up for another strong year, as two-time Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year Kyle Clinton anchors a back line that gave up only 25 goals in 20 matches last season. Also returning are Preseason All-Conference honorees Paul Tyson and George Proctor.
On the offensive side of the pitch, Georgia State returns its top-two leading goal scorers from last year in Aris Briggs and Frank Rosenwald. Briggs led the team with six goals and an assist for 13 total points while Rosenwald recorded four goals and dished two assists for 10 points.
“I’m excited to work with this group of players, first and foremost,” GSU head coach Brett Surrency said. “With 20 of the 26 here this past spring we got an excellent idea of what the team will look like this fall. They proved themselves to be a collection of guys that fight for each other and put forth a great deal of work to achieve their goals. I have no doubt they’ll instill that belief in the six newcomers as well. With 16 freshmen and sophomores, it will be a different make up than the past couple years, but we welcome the challenge and can’t wait to get rolling.
“I think the keys to this year will be some of our younger players stepping up into important roles and our ability to handle the inevitable adversities that come our way,” Surrency said. “I already know this is a great group of hard-working players and there is no doubt in my mind we will show significant improvement as the season progresses.”
NOTABLE HOME MATCHES
Sunday, Sept. 2 vs. Belmont (Poster Giveaway Night): The first 100 fans in attendance will receive a free 2019 Georgia State Men’s Soccer poster.
Saturday, Oct. 12 vs. Georgia Southern (Fan Appreciation Night): Panther fans are encouraged to come out and support the Panthers against rival Georgia Southern, where 2019 team posters will be given away during pregame and fans will have the opportunity to get player autographs after the conclusion of the match.
Tuesday, Oct. 29 vs. UAB (Play4TheCure Night): GSU men’s soccer is teaming up with Play4TheCure on Oct. 29 to “Play4” loved ones affected by cancer and encourages them to actively participate in fundraising and advocacy to make a difference. All proceeds from the fundraiser will be donated to cancer research.
Georgia State will live stream four of its home matches during the 2019 season on its official audio and video service PantherVision. Fans will be able to stream the following men’s soccer contests: Sept. 9 vs. North Florida, Oct. 12 vs. Georgia Southern, Oct. 29 vs. UAB and Nov. 2 vs. Central Arkansas. All home matches at the GSU Soccer Complex will be free admission and parking for fans.
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