By Chris Parker
There are many talented boys soccer players across our coverage area. Below are some of the boys soccer players to watch this season.
NOTE: The athletes are listed in alphabetical order.
Colin Cash, Nixa Senior Midfielder
Cash is a four-year starter for the Eagles who earned Second-Team All-COC and first-team all-district honors last year. He brings great touch and vision to his spot in the midfield where he scored five goals and distributed five more assists last year.
Corbin Clay, Kickapoo Senior
Clay had a strong junior year that saw him score 15 goals on his way to postseason honors on the Class 4 All-Region team and First-Team All-Ozark Conference honors at forward. He has added a lot of strength in the off-season ahead of his senior year.
Miles Elliott, Kickapoo Senior
Elliott earned All-Class 4 Region 3 honors as a defender last year. He was Second-Team All-Ozark Conference, but should push for a first team spot this year. One of his strength’s is winning 50-50 balls. Elliott will be an anchor on Kickapoo’s back line according to coach Phil Hodge.
Ben Fisher, Rolla Senior
Rolla soccer is aiming for a big season this year with a strong backline. Fisher is a big piece of that optimism. The senior goalie was named Co-Ozark Conference Goalkeeper of the Year as a junior. Coach Mike Armstrong had this to say about his star keeper: “In my opinion there isn’t a better keeper than Fisher.”
Landon Keisker, Kickapoo Senior
Keisker is one of the area’s top returning players regardless of position. He was named Class 4 First-Team All-State, Class 4 Region 3 Player of the Year and Ozark Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Year last year. The senior scored 26 goals and assisted on 12 others last year.
Caleb Kuchta, Willard Senior
Kuchta is one of the area’s best pure scorers. The senior earned Class 3 Honorable Mention All-State honors to go with All-Region and First-Team All-COC honors on the strength of his 43 goals scored last year. The 43 goals set a new school record for Willard. His speed and touch set him apart.
Peter Littlefield, Cassville Senior
Littlefield is already a record-setting keeper for the Wildcats. The Class 2 Honorable Mention All-State Goalkeeper already holds the MSHSAA record for career saves with his senior season ahead of him. He is second all-time in saves per game at 11.89.
Stewart McDonald, Logan-Rogersville Junior
McDonald is a versatile weapon capable of playing all over the field for Logan-Rogersville. He earned his post-season honors in the midfield as a sophomore where he scored 14 goals and handed out 11 assists.
Elijah Merillat, Fair Grove Senior
Fair Grove graduated a host of players from last year’s final four team, but there will be stability on the backline with senior Elijah Merillat in the goal. The Class 1 Region 3 Goalkeeper of the Year will be Fair Grove’s biggest strength. He is a strong leader for the Eagles.
Mu Ku, Monett Senior
Ku was named All-Class 2 Region 3 and First-Team All-Big 8 as a defender in 2021. He will be one of the leaders on the back line for a Monett team that returns six lettermen this year.
Faheem Mujahid, Waynesville Senior
Mujahid is one of the Ozark Conference’s top returning scorers. The senior midfielder earned First-Team All-Ozark Conference honors with 22 goals and 12 assists last year. He brings speed and leadership to the field for Waynesville. Mujahid was a part of Waynesville’s all-state 3200-meter relay team.
Adrian Ortega, Ozark Senior
Ortega will look to put the Ozark offense on his back this year after earning First-Team All-COC honors as a junior. The midfielder scored 14 goals with nine assists last year. He is a dynamic attacker who can create for himself or his teammates.
Carson Palmer, Nixa Senior
Palmer is one of the area’s top returning midfielders after he was named Class 4 Second-Team All-State, Class 4 Region 3 All-Region and First-Team All-COC as a junior. He scored eight goals with nine assists last year. He is one of Nixa’s fastest players entering his third year as a starter.
Juan Perez, Neosho Senior
Neosho made a state quarterfinal appearance last year, and if the Wildcats are to get further in the state tournament this year, Perez will be a key. The Class 3 Second-Team All-State forward scored 17 goals and had four assists last year. He also was named First-Team All-COC and All-Class 3 Region 3.
Gage Vehr, Catholic Senior
Changes abound in the Catholic soccer program with hall of famer Tom Davidson taking over as head coach. Gage Vehr will be one of the constants this year. The Class 3 Second-Team All-State midfielder brings stability and leadership to the middle for Catholic. He was also named All-Class 3 Region 3 and First-Team All-Big 8.
Welle Welle, Carthage Junior
Welle is poised for a huge season for Carthage coming off a 15-goal sophomore campaign. Carthage head coach Jacob Osborne called Welle “one of the most talented kids to come through our program”. His versatility is what sets him apart. He was a striker last year, but was also Carthage’s best defender, so some games would see him playing center back.