BY DAN STICKRADT
WEB AND CONTENT EDITOR
Twitter: @MiSoccerNetwork and @LocalSportsFans
ALL OVER MICHIGAN – It doesn’t matter nowadays what community you reside in or what club or high school team you play for, if you’re good enough someone will find you.
That’s only a paraphrase, but it is a resounding viewpoint that soccer coaches all over Michigan share in today’s soccer world – at least within Michigan’s borders.
While several of the standout players are playing in-state for one of four MLS Next Academy programs or elsewhere out of state for an MLS youth club, there is still plenty of soccer talent to go around in the great lakes state and literally hundreds of players within Michigan’s borders who hope to end up on a college roster someday.
As the 2023 high school boys soccer rolls along in Michigan, the Michigan Soccer Network has spent months compiling a list of some of the state’s premier prep players who are suiting up for their respective schools – and many are being courted by colleges of various sizes whether that be NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA, NCCAA or elsewhere.
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Less than two months from now the Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association will compile their All-State lists, as well as the All-Region or All-District lists, and more than 70 conferences state-wide will compile their all-league lists as well. Additionally, many newspapers and media outlets will compile All-Area and All-County postseason teams to highlight some of this talent pool. And there’s plenty of talent to watch.
Who will be on all of those postseason lists?
Below is a detailed state-wide lists that high school and club coaches have submitted names to as well as players who are being talked about all over Michigan.
The River Rats put the rest of Division 1 on notice Thursday night with a resounding 3-0 victory over fellow state-ranked and previously unbeaten Saline in Southeastern Conference Red Division play.
TOP 45 FIELD PLAYERS
JP ASSENMACHER, Dexter sr. F: Another gifted player in the Dreadnaughts attack, Assenmacher has earned All-State Honorable Mention honors the last two seniors in Division 1 and this year with his school in D-2, should be near the top of those lists as well. He is an NCAA Division I and Division II prospect who deploys great speed and pace and attracts so much attention of opposing team’s defenses. Being a pure goal-scorer with that type of athletic make-up and skillset will do just that. Although his team is young and going through some rebuilding pains overall, Assenmacher is not to be dealt with lightly or he can make any
team pay the price with his scoring ability near the net.
EMANUEL ‘MANNY’ BEDOLLA-REYES, Grand Rapids Catholic Central F: One of several Michigan players on the All-America Watch List for prep players and candidates to play in the national All-Star game in December, Bedolla-Reyes is the sole returning All-State First Team player in Division 3 and one of the state’s top forwards overall. Honored with numerous postseason accolades last year for the district champion Cougars, expect Bedolla-Reyes to shine this fall as a gifted finisher and playmaker.
DREW BOUCHARD, Richland-Gull Lake sr. D: So much talk last season during the Blue Devils’ state championship run was the fact that their offense scored 93 goals and overpowered most opponents. Boucher along with his backfield mates and goalkeepers conceded only 19 goals over 25 games all while playing a tough schedule. As an underrated center back, Boucher helped his team record 15 clean sheets, including six in the state championship run where Gull Lake outscored its foes 12-0. That’s a 0.76 team goals-against average. The youngest of the Bouchard brothers, Drew Bouchard saw his older brother AJ Bouchard make the All-State Dream Team in 2021 and play on three Final Four teams before making the roster at Western Michigan University. Bouchard doesn’t have the stats playing in the backfield but should be worthy of a college roster spot in the future.
GAVIN BROOKS, Ann Arbor Huron sr. D: After earning All-League and All-District honors last season, Brooks’ stock rose in the club season where he played for the Michigan Wolves National League squad that won a state cup title and qualified for the national tournament. An injury has caused him to miss a part of this high school season, but Brooks is another college-worthy prospect who when healthy is one of the best center backs in the state regardless of division or conference. At under 6-foot, he is a pesky defender, plays at a high pace and is a wizard with the ball. His size might play a part of where he ends up on a college roster, but he has the skillset to still play at a high level.
JAXON BUCKLEY, Kingsford sr. M/F: Perhaps the top player coming out of the Upper Peninsula, Buckley is the state’s best kept secret overall. Now that the U.P. schools won their lawsuit and can compete in the downstate tournament for the first time since 2006, Buckley and others like him can also earn All-State honors and compete for state tournament championships. Buckley, who earned All-Upper Peninsula First Team accolades last season, resides close to the Wisconsin border playing for Kingsford in the south-central portion of the Upper Peninsula. He competes for the ODP Midwest Region II Team and travels south and plays club ball for Kimberly FC and FC Green Bay in the Green Bay, Wisc., area. Additionally, Buckley was picked up last summer for the Croation Eagles FC and competed in the United States Youth Soccer Championships. He is starting to draw some college interest, as he is lethal on restarts and can both score and set up others with the best of them.
JOHN CASSIDAY, Grand Rapids Christian jr. F/M: While his older brother and current University of Michigan player Nicholas Cassidy rang up the scoreboard a few dozen times as the Mr. Soccer runner-up and helped the Eagles claim a state championship in 2021, the younger Cassiday is starting to make a name for himself as a player in his own right. He is another playmaker and finisher who has kept Grand Rapids Christian as one of the top teams in Division 2 the last two years. The younger Cassiday earned multiple postseason honors last season and should be a high All-State player this season and next season.
CLAUDIO CAVALLO, Grosse Pointe Woods University-Liggett sr. M/F: Cavallo has a rare opportunity to become an All-State player all four years. He is a college prospect who can both score and set up others, and already owns or is closing in on several school records. More importantly he’s winner and leader, as his team has lost only once in nearly two seasons and only four times in nearly three seasons. He was All-State First Team the last two years and his Knights are unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in Division 4 right now. Cavallo is trying to lead his school to its first state title since 1999. Cavallo also excels in the attack for the Detroit City FC U-19 squad that has enjoyed some success the last couple of years.
BRODY CONLON, East Kentwood jr. M/F: As a freshman two years ago, Conlon became the first player as a freshman to make All-State First Team Division 1 (Class A prior to 1997) since the 1980s. Let’s just say that is really rare. Last season Conlon suited up for the Michigan Wolves MLS Next Academy before coming down with a rare illness that sidelined him for a few months. Now Conlon, the son of legendary coach John Conlon, is back on the high school circuit and still turning heads as both a crafty playmaker and finisher for a team that will make a push for a long postseason run. Conlon may be the state’s top junior and is already an All-State Dream Team candidate.
WILL COOK-DIAMOND, Ann Arbor Huron sr. D/M: Although not flashy, Cook-Diamond is simply a solid all-around player as a center back or holding midfielder. He plays for the Michigan Wolves National League squad that reached the national quarterfinals this past summer. A year ago he earned All-SEC Red Division and All-District honors and should be high All-State player this fall for a team that is enjoying one of its best campaigns to date as a top-10 team in Division 1. Cook-Diamond is a well-respected type player who simply gets the job done.
RYKER CORSTANGE, Richland-Gull Lake sr. F/M: Last season Corstange lit up scoreboards all over creation for an offense that scored 92 total goals. Corstange’s totals included 20 goals and 24 assists for a team that captured its second state title in three years and was making its fourth Final Four in five seasons. That doesn’t tell the whole story. Corstange as Division 2 All-State First Team and All-State Dream Team because he draws so much attention due to his speed, creativity, his ability to both finish from close-range or distance and be able to set up others with his craftiness, field vision and high soccer IQ. He is on the long list of candidates for Dream Team and Mr. Soccer this season.
JACKSON CRAFT, Rochester Adams sr. F/D: After starting at center back as a freshman, Craft missed all but two games as a sophomore due to injury. Last season he was moved up top and delivered 24 goals and 11 assists and was a key cog in the Highlanders’ Division 1 state championship run. He earned numerous postseason accolades, including All-State First Team and All-State Dream Team. This year with other key parts graduated, Craft has become a marked-man and his production is down from last year’s pace, but he is still quite dangerous on the pitch. Craft said he will entertain offers if there is a right fit on the collegiate level in terms of academics and athletics.
TARIK DIZDAREVIC, East Kentwood sr. D: One of a handful of standouts in Michigan enjoying their first season of prep soccer, Dizdarevic spent the last three years in the Midwest United MLS Next Academy system and wanted to compete for East Kentwood as a senior as a center back or outside marking back on defense. Dizdarevic has helped aid a resurgence at East Kentwood this season, as the Falcons have found their way into the top 10 on Division 1 coaches poll and is in contention for the OKC Red Division league title. The 5-foot-11, 160-pound Dizdarevic is like many on this talented list as he is trying to play his way onto a college roster.
DUGAN BLACK, Rockford jr. F/D: As one area coach puts it, Black has only scratched the surface as far as potential. After competing at various positions for Rockford last season and for a team whose only loss was in the Division 1 state finals, Black had a great season on the club circuit competing for the Michigan Futbol Academy-Revolution team in his age group. Black has more responsibility this season after the Rams graduated some key components from their stellar squad from a year ago. Black is always dangerous on the attack or swarming the penalty box and is both a dangerous finisher or great playmaker. He plays with an explosive style on the attack and earlier this year shined at the Academic ID 50 Camp. He has nearly two school years to go of prep and club soccer and it is far from decided what level of collegiate soccer he will compete in the future. Last season Black was one of several Rams to earn All-OKC Red Division and All-District. This year he should be much higher on the postseason lists after emerging as one of the most dangerous players on the west side of the state.
LINCOLN FLOYD, Grand Blanc jr. M: Floyd spent the last two school years playing and traveling with the Nationals showcase team, a non-Academy side. This year he is one of six players that shifted from club soccer in the fall to playing for the Bobcats, where the attacking midfielder is trying to help lead Grand Blanc to a Saginaw Valley League title and long postseason run. Floyd is a crafty and shifty playmaker who is equally deft at setting up teammates or creating scoring chances for himself. Floyd is also a smart student-athlete, carrying over a 3.9 GPA which college scouts will love.
JORDAN KLEIN, Utica Eisenhower sr. M: The fourth-year standout who has also excelled on the club circuit, Klein is one of three players on this list to recently commit to NCAA Division I Western Michigan University. At 6-foot-1 and 160 pounds, Klein is the consummate field general, always making sure the ball ends up with the right player at the right time all while creating chances for himself when the opportunity presents itself. The Nationals club product earned Division 1 All-State Honorable Mention honors a year ago.
BRADY LENDZION, Flint Powers Catholic sr. M/F: Ever since he was a freshman at Powers, the Michigan Wolves product has been a key player in the Chargers’ attack either as an attacking midfielder or forward. Lendzion earned Division 3 All-State Second Team honors last season and hopes to lead Powers Catholic deep into the D-3 postseason again this season. He was also All-League and All-District as a sophomore and is one of many players on this deep list who should wind up on a college roster at some level next year.
DIEGO MEDEL, Oxford sr. M: The past three years Oxford went young to build for the future. An attacking midfielder who can both set teammates up and score himself with great 1-v-1 skills, Medel is a fourth-year starter for one of the best teams in Division 1. He earned All-State Honorable Mention last season while this season has helped lead the Wildcats into OAA Red Division contention and into the D-1 top 10 for the first time in over a decade and into the top five for the first time since the 1990s. Medel has around a 3.90 GPA and is starting to generate some college interest.
FINNIAN MANKOWSKI, Suttons Bay North Bay Unified sr. M: One of the top players coming from the northern half of Michigan, Mankowski comes from a Division 4 program but has built up quite a resume in being a college prospect. Makowski plays to TSBA North Storm and has been an ODP Midwest Region II player all through high school in his age group, and competed with some of the nation’s top non-MLS Next players in a tournament in Orlando, Fla., last year. On the high school field, Makowski is quite unselfish, as his 16 goals and 18 assists last season show his versatility as well as an attacking midfielder. He was named Division 4 All-State First Team last season but is entertaining offers from various levels of NCAA schools.
ISIAH MEYER, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern sr. M: When Meyer entered high school, he earned All-OKC White Division and All-District honors for the Huskies. Meyer spent the last two seasons competing for the Midwest United MLS Next Academy squads gaining exposure and becoming an NCAA Division I and Division II prospect. This year he returned to play for Forest Hills Northern, which is now up in Division I, and hopes to lead the Huskies on a deep postseason run.
JACKSON MINDLING, Grand Rapids Christian sr. M: The third-year starter earned All-OKC White Division and All-District honors last season and greater things are in store for the attacking midfielder this season competing for a top five school in Division 2. The Midwest United club product has great field vision and is a ball-winner and playmaker in the final third of the field. Mindling is starting to generate some interest from colleges of various sizes.
ALEX MOELLER, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central sr. M: Moeller has competed in the MLS Next Academy (formerly U.S. Developmental Academy) since he was in middle school, making toe two-plus hour trek to Livonia from northern Grand Rapids are a couple of times a week. HE excelled in his age group with the Michigan Wolves and was recruited by numerous NCAA Division I schools over the past couple of years. He made an oral commitment to Western Michigan University recently and is enjoying his first and only high school season as one of the state’s top players. Moeller is an high All-State level player and a likely All-State Dream Team player who competes for a top five school in Division 2. Moeller hopes to lead his Rangers into the Final Four this season or more.
COLIN NIEUWENHUIS, Hudsonville Unity Christian M/F: A returning All-State Second Team player in Division 3, Nieuwenhuis plays for a team that has consistently been ranked in the top five this season after being ousted in the district semifinals this season. But boy is he producing – and in big numbers. After 10 games and competing in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Blue Division that features four state-ranked sides, Nieuwenhuis has scored over 20 goals while setting the table for others with regularity. Several colleges have taken notice, including NCAA Division I Wester Michigan University, and at the very least he’ll end up at a small college if not something greater. If Unity Christian makes a deep run or comes away with some season-ending championship hardware, expect Nieuwenhuis to be in the conversation for Dream Team.
DENIN OGLECEVAC, Riverview sr. F: Ever since Oglecevac entered high school, he has built the reputation as being a pure goal scorer. Each year the fast and furious 6-foot-3 standout draws more attention from opposing defenses and each year he keeps producing on the offensive end. A year ago, Oglecevac lit up the scoreboards with 45 goals and helped the Pirates capture Huron League, district and regional titles and advance to the Division 2 Final Four for the first time. He spent the summer competing in a high-level league in Serbia to gain some exposure and experience playing against adults. Oglecevac has the skillset to play in college and is uncertain if he will play collegiately or head overseas and seek a professional career. Oglecevac, who is also an ODP Midwest Region II player, earned All-State First Team honors last season and is one of several prospects on this list who are on the prep Al-America Watch List and to potentially play in the national high school all-star game in December. He has also helped rewrite several categories in the Riverview record charts.
AIDAN ORTH, Traverse City West jr. F/D: The Tians have always produced talent since opening its doors in 1996 and Orth is one of the latest to come through the pipeline. Competing for TSBA North Storm on the club circuit, Orth has also excelled on the prep stage as a dangerous offensive target. He is on the Midwest Region II circuit for ODP and in 2021 was invited to the USYS National Training Camp for his age group. Last year he racked up 17 goals and 15 assists enroute to All-State Third Team accolades for a team that won the Big North Conference and Division 1 district championships. This year he is underway of compiling similar numbers for a team that has the ability for additional championships and a deep run. Orth did pick up some MLS interest from out of state over the past year but has remained in Traverse City to keep building his resume.
AIDAN PHENICIE, Portage Central jr. M/F: Two years ago, Phenicie was called up to the varsity ranks to give the Mustangs some depth on the offensive end. The goal scorer and playmaker has kept building his reputation and resume ever since that 2021 campaign. Nowadays he is a huge part of the attack for a team again enjoying its stay in the Division 1 Top 15. Phenicie was a key cog in last season’s district championship and regionals finals appearance. He is a ODP Midwest Region II player and TKO Premier club player who hasn’t even scratched the surface. The 6-foot-2 Phenicie is developing into a fine player and hopes to lead the Mustangs to their first-ever D-1 state title.
GARRETT POUGET, New Baltimore Anchor Bay sr. F: Sometimes you can tell the worth of a player based on statistical information. Then there’s Garrett Pouget. Last season the Tars entered the 2022 campaign having lost eight starters and 16 total players for its 2021 season where they finished as the Division 1 state runner-up. Pouget was one of the holdovers who didn’t allow his team rebuild but reload. Anchor Bay defended its MAC Red Division and Division 1 district crowns and reached the regional finals. Named to the Division 1 All-State Third Team, Pouget is strong and fast and deploys a great technical and tactical skills along with a strong mentality. Even great he seams to be a clutch performer after scoring against top-level teams during his career. He has several NCAA schools of various levels and NAIA schools courting him for his services.
COLIN ROBERTSON, Brighton sr. F/M: After spending the least three years in the Michigan Wolves’ MLS Next Academy program, Robertson got a release to play one high school season. The gifted striker is just what the doctor ordered for the Bulldogs -- a pure goal scorer. Robertson has been on a tear during the first month of the 2023 season, vaulting Brighton into the KLAA West Division contention. He is scoring and assisting others and has created a lethal combination with junior teammate Delvin McGinnis. Robertson is being courted by some NCAA Division I Horizon League and MAC schools amongst others.
ZACH RODGER, Detroit Country Day sr. F: Rodger was named All-State Second Team in Division 3 after helping the Yellowjackets claim another district and regional titles last fall and advance to the state semifinals for the 21st time in school history. This year with a couple of his running-mates from last year gone, he is being counted on to produce a lot more in the attack. He is a gifted finisher within range and can also create chances for others. Rodger and DCD has been a top five team in Division 3 this season and Rodger should climb much higher on the All-State list after this campaign. Rodger, who also suits up for the DCD basketball team as a guard or small forward, is undecided if he wants to play soccer in college of just concentrate on academics.
SEBALIAN ‘SEBI’ ROY, Clarkston sr. F/M: The oldest son of 1991 Mr. Soccer Travis Roy, who led Livonia Stevenson to the Class A state title in ’91 and later was an All-American for the University of Wisconsin, Sebi Roy is making a name for himself out on the pitch. After spending his first two years competing for FC Cincinnati’s MLS Academy program and taking up residency with a host family down in that metropolitan area, Roy returned back to his hometown of Clarkston in 2022. He had a great season last fall, helping the Wolves to a top-15 ranking all season, a district championship berth and a spot in the Division 1 regional finals. He earned numerous postseason accolades, including All-State First Team honors along with former teammate Richie Ludwig (2022 Dream Team and Mr. Soccer runner-up now at Michigan State). This year Roy is on an offensive tear for one of the best teams in Division 1 and is one of the many Mr. Soccer hopefuls from across the state. If he is able to win the award, Roy would be the first offspring of a former Michigan Mr. Soccer to win the award. Sebi Roy is also a big-time NCAA Division I recruit with offers from around the country. He has a high GPA and test scores and may consider the Ivy League or a high-academics university for his college choice.
SIMON SAWYER, Novi Detroit Catholic Central sr. D: At 6-foot-3, 175-pounds, highly-skilled, and experienced at the both the club and high school levels, Sawyer has the type of pedigree that some college coaches search for in prospects. Sawyer, a fourth-year varsity veteran, is the sole returning starter from last season’s Final Four squad that has the departure of 19 total players. Still, Sawyer has provided leadership skills to go along with his talents as a great center back and helped mold a new team around him into a squad that should compete for the CHSL Central Division title. Sawyer was All-CHSL last season behind five All-State teammates and should earn much higher honors last season. Sawyer also plays club ball with Nationals and is being courted by some NCAA schools.
NICK SETTLE, Northville sr. D: Whether on his club team the Michigan Jaguars or on his Northville prep team, Settle is one of the state’s best center backs. The 6-foot-1 Settle is the sole starter back from the Mustangs’ Division 1 Final Four team in 2021 and is gaining interest from some NCAA and NAIA Schools. The third-year starter is a two-time All-KLAA And All-District center back and last year also garnered All-State Honorable Mention honors for a team ranked all season in Division 1. This year Settle is being counted on for a lot more than his skillset as one of the state’s best back line players, as the Mustangs graduated eight starters and 17 total players. He is a leader for a team that has reloaded its way back into the top 15 and has again been the anchor of Northville’s very talented back line.
NOAH SILKWORTH, Ann Arbor Skyline jr. D: In terms of athleticism, one will find few that can match up to Skyline’s two-sport star. On the basketball court the 6-foot-6, 180-pound Silkworth plays with his namesake, as he is silky-smooth with the ball in his hands driving to the basket. On the soccer pitch, Silkworth has very good touch, is great in the air, can help build out of the back and is even pushed up into the attack on restarts even though he is a center back by nature. Last year Silkworth was only Division 1 All-State Honorable Mention but with his athleticism and overall skillset expect him to be a high All-State player come November. Over on the club circuit, Silkworth has also excelled at ahigh level and was a part of the Michigan Tigers national championship in his age group back in July of 2022. The uber-talented athlete will find a way onto an NCAA roster in the future – it’s just a matter of which sport, basketball or soccer.
LIAM SMITH, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer sr. F: Not only is Smith perhaps the top overall player to ever don the R-P jersey, he’s one of the best in the state on the prep circuit and another bona fide All-State Dream Team and Mr. Soccer candidate. Smith has a chance of being a four-time All-State player and earned Division 2 All-State First Team honors in Division 2 after helping his team win a district title. Now his team with 16 players back is up in Division 1 and holding form inside the state rankings Division 1 top 15. Recently one of three in-state high school players to commit to NCAA Division I power Western Michigan University, Smith, who also shines for his Michigan Rangers club side, has been rewriting the school record books as a fourth-year starter and should graduate atop of the school charts in many offensive categories. As good as a pure goal-scorer you’ll find.
BEN SMITLEY, Grand Rapids Catholic Central sr. D: While many on this list are offensive gems, Smitley is a standout defensive player with high pedigree, soccer IQ and an impressive resume as a fourth-year starter. Smitley is a two-time All-State player, last year garnering All-State Second Team accolades for the Cougars, who captured a D-3 district crown. Numerous prep coaches on the west side of the state have pointed to Smitley being one of the top center backs in that region. Smitley also plays club ball with Midwest United and has added to his resume on the club side behind his sterling defensive play.
LUCAS STRICKLER, Ann Arbor Pioneer jr. M: The Pioneers finished second to Saline in the SEC Red Division standings a year ago and reached the district finals with Strickler emerging as a standout player on that group. The All-League and All-District pick has been a key cog for a thriving offense that is climbing the charts. Strickler also plays for a Michigan Wolves team that captured a state cup crown this year and qualified for the national tournament.
JACOB STONE, Fraser sr. M: Fraser has been slowly building the last three years and Stone has been a cornerstone in that process. Last year the gifted playmaker and finisher earned All-State Honorable Mention honors for the Ramblers, who captured a Division 1 district championship. This season Stone is one of 16 returnees and has helped lead this team to a top 15 ranking while his team competed in a battle for the MAC White Division crown. Stone recently broke Fraser’s career scoring leader for goals and is adding weekly to his goals and assists totals. His 1-v-1 skills are superb and he can create scoring chances for himself or others out of nothing. Stone has definitely become a marked man this season and he is still besting top outside and center backs on a regular occasion.
OWEN STONE, Berkley sr. F/M: Last season Stone tallied 16 goals and 10 assists for a high-powered offense on a team that spent the whole season ranked in the top 10 of the Division 1 top 15 polls and later reached the district finals. Stone saw six starters depart via graduation but he has taken the leadership reigns over and has kept his team well inside the top 10 again this season. Although his production is down slightly as he has also battled a calf injury, his worth is gagged by more than just stats. Stone is now the leader of the show and engine in the Bears’ attack and he has added being a quality set-up player this year as long as being able to score at clutch time. Stone is undecided on what level of college soccer will suit him best, but he is on the radar of a few schools.
TALEN SWINKEY, Monroe sr. M: After being a key contributor for his Michigan Wolves MLS Next Academy team during his freshman school year of 2000-2001, Swinkey made the switch to prep soccer to play with his friends and classmates. As a sophomore he was key part of a senior-laden squad that captured a Division 1 district championship and earned All-State Honorable Mention status, the same level he earned as a junior where he played with several new starters. This year Swinkey, who stars at his attacking midfielder position, is a leader of a team playing much better soccer and he has popped up on some radars of NCAA schools. The talented playmaker also competes for the Michigan Wolves National League team that qualified for the national tournament this past summer.
SALVATORE ‘SAL’ THOMSON, Dearborn Divine Child sr. M: Whenever Divine Child takes the field, The uber-talented and respected Thomson is shadowed by the opposing team’s best defensive players. And for good reason – the fourth-year varsity veteran has been torching teams and lighting up scoreboards since he was a youngster. Thomson was Division 2 All-State First Team as a junior, All-State Third Team as a sophomore and All-State Honorable Mention as a freshman. This year he is still producing numbers despite his team somewhat younger and is one of many players on this list who could earn All-State Dream Team status come November. Thomson is also being courted by some colleges and is well inside the Divine Child record books in the single-game, season and career categories for goals, assists, hattricks and points. He is also one of several Michigan players on the prep All-America Watch List and prospect for the annual national high school all-star game in December.
JOSH THURLOW, Midland sr. M/F/G: Thurlow is also one of Michigan’s most underrated prospects. The fourth-year varsity veteran does so much on the field for the Chemics it’s ridiculous. He plays goalkeeper in club soccer and can suit up there if needed for Midland. He also starts in the attack at center midfielder or up top at forward. Thurlow also produces and produces at high numbers throughout his career, even this season. Enrollment-wise Midland dropped to Division 2 so expect to find Thurlow high on those postseason lists this season. Last season he was All-League in the Saginaw Valley League and All-District. He is also a small forward on the Chemics basketball team and plays club soccer for the Midland Fusion.
LAKE VANDER PLOEG, Holland Christian sr. M: With the Maroons graduating eight starters from last seasons defensive-minded squad that conceded only seven goals and captured the Division 3 state championship, Vander Ploeg has had to take over the leadership reigns and has helped Holland Christian, now in Division 2, back well inside the top 10. Vander Ploeg has gained some NAIA And NCAA Division III interest but could gain some notice if he keeps producing for his the Maroons or during the club season. Last year the attacking midfielder earned numerous postseason accolades, including All-State Honorable Mention honors.
BROOKE WATTERSON, Parma Western soph. M: Ever since Watterson stepped onto the prep field, The Michigan Jaguars club product been effective as an attacking midfielder. One of the top sophomores in the state, Watterson racked p points galore last season for a team that won the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference title, reached the Division 2 district finals and finished 18-1-0. This year he’s drawing more attention as his team has battled injuries but still carries a high reputation. Over on the ODP system, he is still a Midwest Region II member in his age group and a top-50 pool player nationally. If Watterson continues to develop, he’ll leave quite a legacy on his high school program and will eventually play his way into the world of NCAA Division I soccer. But the crafty playmaker with a high soccer IQ still has 2.5 more seasons to prove his worth.
KYLE WEBB, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central sr. M/F: The shifty, crafty playmaker and goal-scorer was asked to do a ton last season as his team’s leading scorer. He earned Division 2 All-State Honorable Mention and should be higher this season. This year with a more complete roster Webb has been shining up top in the attack. The 6-foot, 150-pound Webb boats a 3.8 GPA and is being targeted by some NCAA Division I and Division II schools, including Western Michigan University.
ROBBIE WISSER, Clarkston sr. M: While his father, Rob Wisser Sr, starred for both Richland Gull Lake and Oakland University, Wisser is in his third year with the Wolves and part of a well-tuned offense and one of the best teams in the state. He’s earned All-conference honors the last two summers on the club circuit with his Nationals side and is collecting quality offensive numbers for Clarkston, which has been ranked in the top five in the state since the preseason.
BRETT WOJKOWSKI, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s sr. D/M: Since launching its soccer program two decades ago, the Eaglets have never won the AA Division of the CHSL, a district, or regional crown. Wojkowski, who played six youth seasons in Torino, Italy, and his teammates would love nothing more than to change all of that with an deep experienced squad climbing the Division 2 charts. Individually, Wojkowski is one of the state’s versatile players, as he is used as an attacking midfielder and as a center back as needed. At 6-foot-2 and 165 pounds, Wojkowski has the size to play in college as he is a prospect on the radar. Last season Wojkowski was Division 2 All-State Third Team amongst numerous postseason honors and has led his team into the D-2 top 10 so far this season.
TOP 5 GOALKEEPERS
SETH DAVIDSON, Berkley sr.: Last season with an experienced defense in front of him, Davidson was a part of 17 shutouts, a team ranked the whole season and a team that reached the district finals before falling to then-top-ranked Troy in a shootout. This year Davidson has not only made the saves he should even with three of four new defensemen playing in front of him, he has more than dazzled with a highlight reel of saves that has turned heads in Oakland County and beyond. Davidson was Division 1 All-State Third Team last year and should be much higher than that this season as one of the state’s best. NCAA Division I Niagara University is one of the many that have taken notice of this sure-handed keeper, who stands just 5-foot-11.
EVAN KAISER, Richland-Gull Lake sr.: In terms of athleticism, Kaiser is above-and-beyond many of his peers as a two-sport standout athlete rotating between soccer and baseball. The 6-foot-1, 160-pound Kaiser grew up as a baseball prospect as an outfielder and right-hand pitcher. HE is a converted goalkeeper about the time he entered high school and has been sterling between the pipes for a program that won Division 2 state titles in 2020 and 2022 and reached the state semifinals in 2021. Kaiser has excellent hand-eye coordination, instincts, strength, anticipation skills and leaping ability needed to excel as a goalkeeper and a power arm in baseball. He is a two-time All-State goalkeeper on the pitch, including All-State Third Team last season, all while helping the Blue Devils to 15 clean sheets last season and multiple championships along the way. Kaiser and his teammates are again one of the best teams in the state this season all four divisions combined and one of the favorites to win it again this season.
KEEGAN LUICK, Midland Dow sr.: Somewhat underrated in the past, perhaps playing against some tough keepers in older grades, Luick has gained a ton of credible reputation between the pipes not only from the Saginaw Valley League circles but around the state as well. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound athletic keeper has great range in goal and is both a great shot-stopper and active in corralling restarts into the box, crosses and long throw-ins and is simply hard to score upon. Luick was All-League and All-District last season and will be a huge factor if the Chargers can repeat in the SVL or make a run in the D-1 state tournament.
CHRISTIAN DERSHEM, Grand Rapid Christian sr.: The 6-1, 165-pound is a case of abiding his time. Last season he share duties with Division 2 All-State First Team honoree Cooper Hutt (Hope College). Now the man between the pipes, numerous coaches on the west side of the state have deemed Dershem the top keeper in the Grand Rapids before or in the early stages of the 2023 campaign. Dersham is an highly-skilled and athletic and is another netminder who become the caboose stoking his team’s engine in a lengthy-postseason run this fall. Dersham is a college prospect who should end up on someone’s roster a year from now.
TOMMY VERASH, Salem sr.: Lumped around a quality group of goalkeepers in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association last year, Verash helped himself step out as he was sterling between the woodwork last season. The Division 1 All-State Honorable Mention choice put together some noteworthy performances to help his team reach the Final Four. He was a key part of his team’s 19-5-3 record and 13 shutouts. This season Versh collected five more shutouts in the Rocks’ first 10 games despite the Rocks only bringing back three starters. The 6-foot-1 Versash, who also plays basketball and club ball with Detroit City FC’s U-19 squad, has still played well individually for a team in a slight rebuilding mode. He is one that could find himself on a college roster next autumn ig he continues to shine at the high school and club levels this school year.
(Editor’s Note: The Michigan Soccer Network player’s list is determined by several factors but mainly coaches input from across the state. Three rounds of emails were sent out to around 500 athletics directors and athletics secretaries along with emails to over 250 varsity boys soccer head coaches in Michigan for coaches the MSN staff had emails on file. Over 100 club coaches for high school-aged players and club directors were asked for input within their clubs regarding players who would be starting and being standouts for their respective high school sides. The MSN staff began combing through various postseason lists, including All-State, All-Region, All-District, All-Conference, All-Area and All-County as well as reading postings to athletics websites and individual team websites, newspaper and website stories, game-wraps, capsules, social media posts and both current 2023 rosters and rosters from 2022, 2021 and 2020. If there are any misspelled names please let us know. If your school is nowhere to be found, that generally means that your coaching staff and athletics department did not reply to emailed surveys, phone calls and texts, or that no opposing coach in your league, district, area, county, etc., mentioned a player or group of players for your school or other schools within your league and proximity. Coaches only can email to email@example.com. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and like and share our items on various social media platforms.)