Messiah College is a dynasty in Division III Men’s Soccer. The program has won ten National Championships in their history and are looking to three-peat after consecutive titles in 2012 and 2013. They have started their 2014 campaign in impressive fashion, earning wins over #50 Rowan and #27 The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in their two opening matches.
After exchanging early goals with TCNJ, Messiah College managed to not allow a shot following the halftime break. A free kick goal from Danny Brandt in the 69th minute was enough to give the Falcons a 2-1 win over TCNJ. The following day against Rowan, Messiah did not allow a single shot on target, but the Falcon attack buffeted the opposing keeper with ten shots on goal, finding the back of the net three times.
Sophomore Danny Brandt, has started the season in great form with two goals, including the game-winning free kick, coming from seven shots in this season’s first two matches. The former DC United Academy talent is already well on his way to matching the eight goals he scored last season. He has been buoyed by senior, Jeremy Payne. The two combined with Benji Kennell’s backheel assist for a spectacular goal against Rowan.
Top ranked Messiah has a difficult September out of conference schedule that includes top-30 opponents Dickinson, Montclair State, and York. A challenging Middle Atlantic Conference schedule awaits the Falcons in October. Messiah fell to Lycoming College on penalty kicks last season in the Commonwealth Conference playoffs. The two teams will meet again in an eagerly anticipated matchup on October 8.
Head Coach Brad McCarty has already utilized the squad’s considerable depth by playing nine different defenders in their shutout against Rowan. This depth will give Messiah an advantage over opponents by keeping fresh legs on the pitch. McCarty has led the Falcons to four National Championships in his five seasons as head coach, continuing the legacy for success set by his predecessor, David Brant.
NSCAA All-Americans Jeremy Payne, Brian Ramirez, and Carter Robbins give the Falcons an experienced senior influence. The trio combined for 32 goals and 17 assists last season. Senior striker Jack Thompson returns after All-Conference and Outstanding Offensive Player at the NCAA Tournament honors. Thompson contributed 17 assists and five goals last season. Senior goalkeeper Brandon West is consistent in net when tested. This continued contribution from the seniors will be relied on by the Falcons this season.
With an experienced coaching staff and a quartet of seniors leading the attack, the Messiah Falcons are poised to make another Division III National Championship run. A long season awaits the Falcons, but at the end of it expect them to be at the top of the Commonwealth Conference. The platform the Falcons lay out during the regular season should serve them well in their quest for the three-peat.