Men’s Soccer Team | Photo by Brett Hull | The Wright State Guardian
As the 2023 season approaches for the Wright State University men’s soccer team, the Raiders are relying on new head coach, Alex Van der Sluijs, to produce more results.
A new face
After the Raiders finished the 2022 campaign with an overall record of 4-7-6, the university parted ways with head coach Jake Slemker. Slemker spent five seasons as the Raider head coach, posting three winning seasons along with one Horizon League Championship in 2019.
Alex Van der Sluijs joined the WSU coaching staff in April of 2022 after coaching for four years at Wilmington College and seven years at Defiance College.
In his first season at the helm for the Raiders, Van der Sluijs is focused on building healthy relationships among the team both on and off the field.
“Our culture is uniquely positive; I want our guys to support and encourage each other,” coach Van der Sluijs mentioned. “We want to look at this big picture and play a bigger game, which is life, and soccer is a great vessel for that.”
Impact on the team
Senior forward Reece Allbaugh, who earned Horizon League Second Team honors, is excited for what coach Van der Sluijs brings to the table.
“He is really good at being positive with all the players, and it brings out the best in all of us,” Allbaugh stated. “We are able to play more freely and more creative soccer with him.”
Van der Sluijs also brings a more attacking scheme to the club with a three back set rather than four, allowing the team to get more looks at scoring goals.
“That is truly the goal of the game: score more than your opponent and get scored on less by your opponent,” junior Pierson Davis added.
Although the Raiders did not finish with a winning record last season, the club still managed to advance to the Horizon League semifinals, falling to IUPUI 3-0. The loss was unsettling for many returning players—players who are now ready to get their piece of the pie.
“We all came out of the game with a really bad taste in our mouth,” junior midfielder Brock Pickett mentioned. “I think we are going to be able to focus a lot more throughout this season getting to that point and completing the task at hand.”
The Raiders opened the 2023 campaign on Aug. 24 against Xavier, tying 1-1. The next Raider game is on Aug. 28 at Marshall, with the team’s home-opener on Sept. 2 at 3 p.m. against Saint Francis at Alumni Field.