The tradition-rich Hope men's soccer program will be building on its past successes with a lineup that includes a large contingent of returning letterwinners.
Coach Steven Smith's Flying Dutchmen will be playing their first complete season in the state-of-the-art Van Andel Soccer Stadium. The team played a portion of its 2009 season in the new facility. The 2010 campaign has nine home games, including seven under the lights.
The Flying Dutchmen had a banner campaign in 2009, posting an overall 13-4-3 record. The season was not for the faint-of-heart as nine matches ended in 1-0 decisions. The last of those, a 1-0 loss to rival Calvin, pushed the Flying Dutchmen into second place in the conference race. Through nine seasons of the new millennium the Flying Dutchmen have won nearly 80% of their matches (144-40-15) with four conference championships and four appearances in the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Coach Smith begins his 21st season at the helm of the men's soccer program. He ranks among the winningest NCAA Division III coaches with a career record of 278-90-31, .765. His mark against MIAA opponents is 190-50-19.
The pre-season roster includes 20 returning letterwinners. The co-captains of the team are senior John Turner of East Kentwood (East Kentwood HS) and junior Logan Neil of Holland (West Ottawa HS).
Five players who have received All-MIAA honors return for 2010. Junior Shaun Groetsema of Augusta (Galesburg-Augusta HS) was an All-MIAA first team honoree in 2009 while Logan Neil and freshman Jeffrey Ekdom of Holland (Holland Christian HS) received second team recognition. Senior Kevin Bartosek of Traverse City (Traverse City West HS) was an All-MIAA honoree in 2007 and 2008 while John Turner received all-conference honors in 2007. Groetsema and Bartosek have also been recipients of All-Region honors.
The Flying Dutchmen will try to build on its outstanding defense from a year ago. The Flying Dutchmen in 2009 were 13th among all NCAA Division III teams allowing just 12 goals over 20 games and were 16th nationally in shutouts with 12. Neil ranked fourth in Division III in defense, allowing just eight goals over 20 games, 17 as a starter. He was seventh nationally in save percentage (.889).
Other returning letterwinners include senior Ross Bailey of Ogden Dunes, Ind. (Portage HS), senior Riley Byrnes of Michigan City, Ind. (Michigan City HS), senior Ben Rosema of Spring Lake (Spring Lake HS), senior Andrew Nichols of Traverse City (Traverse City West HS), senior Aaron Van Andel of Ada (Grand Rapids Christian HS), junior David Whitaker of Vicksburg (Vicksburg HS), senior Ryan Cotter of Zeeland (Zeeland East HS), sophomore Luke Dishnow of Saline (Saline HS), junior Paul Austin of Grandville (Grandville HS), senior Jeffrey Stusick of Stevensville (Lakeshore HS), junior Andrew Abe of Naperville, Ill. (Naperville North HS), sophomore Conor Hughes of Plainfield, Ill. (Plainfield North HS), sophomore Maxwell DeBoef of Plainwell (Plainwell HS), sophomore Michael Ferguson of Whitehall (Whitehall HS), and junior Scott Howard of Grand Rapids (Forest Hills Eastern HS).