CHICAGO - Coming off of a banner season in 2016, the Loyola University Chicago men's soccer team's incoming recruiting class has been recognized by College Soccer News, the website announced on Wednesday.
Fifth-year head coach Neil Jones, who led the Ramblers to a program-record 14 victories last season, will welcome another highly touted class that seeks to contribute from the onset for the Ramblers. The nine-member class consists of three defenders, three goalkeepers, two forwards and a midfielder.
The duo of Tyler Biggs and Lucas Imrie will look to add depth to a Loyola offensive attack that returns 79 percent of its scoring from last season. Imrie, a forward, is coming off of a busy summer with the New Zealand National Team. The Auckalnd, New Zealand native saw action in a pair of contests at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup as the All-Whites advanced to the knockout stage of the competition. Biggs, a midfielder, arrives in Rogers Park from Sylvania, Ohio where he racked up 20 goals and 14 assists during his senior season as he helped lead Sylvania Northview High School to a district title.
In the defensive third, Aidan Aylward and Mike Riley hope to bolster the Ramblers' backline. Aylward, who is one of three goalkeepers in the in the 2017 class, has spent the past three seasons with Vancouver Whitecaps FC's U-18 side. The Ottawa, Ontario, Canada native has racked up 22 shutouts en route to posting a 36-8-12 record with the team. Riley, a hard-nosed defender by way of Plymouth, Minn., was rated as one of the Midwest's top 30 players by TopDrawerSoccer.com following a standout career with the Minnesota Thunder Academy.
More information on the class, along with a look at the upcoming season, can be found here. The nine newcomers will join an already strong nucleus of returning letterwinners as the Ramblers hope to build off of a historic 2016 campaign. Loyola captured the Missouri Valley Conference's regular-season crown and closed the year ranked No. 21 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's (NSCAA) Top 25 Poll after picking up the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament victory, a 2-0 triumph over city-rival UIC.