Detroit Catholic Central and Grosse Ile won state titles last fall, and with plenty of talent returning both might be in a position to repeat. Of course, in Division I, Detroit Catholic Central will have to get past Anchor Bay, another Detroit-area program with three members of our Detroit preseason 11.
Here’s a glance at the players to watch this fall:
FORWARDS: Troy Athens seniorhad a 10-goal, 12-assist season in 2020, earning Division I all-state first-team honors. He will inherit more of the goal-scoring responsibility this year as T.J. Renaud has graduated. … Livonia Stevenson senior Nico Bunda was a Division I second-team all-state pick in 2020. … Coaches tout Clarkston junior Richie Ludwig as a rising star. Last season, he scored several important goals, including the lone scores in Clarkston’s ties with Stoney Creek and Troy, en route to Division I third-team all-state honors.
MIDFIELDERS: Anchor Bay twins Carson Hodgson andmake the list after stellar 2020 showings. Tanner had 15 goals and 11 assists in 12 matches to earn Division I first-team all-state honors. Carson was a second-team selection. This combo returning is why Anchor Bay started the 2021 season ranked among the top fall high school teams. … Grosse Ile senior played a major role in the team’s run to the Division III title last fall. Duke served up 12 assists and also held down a defensive role that helped the team to 17 shutouts. … Detroit Catholic Central features a pair of quality midfielders in junior and senior . Pierson is more of a defensive specialist and is the younger brother of former Ryan Pierson, the 2017-18 Michigan Gatorade Player of the Year and current Detroit Mercy player. Stockton had a key role in Detroit Catholic Central’s title win, earning a penalty kick that ultimately led to an overtime victory. Stockton and both are receiving NCAA Division I interest.
DEFENDERS: Finding underclass defenders who make postseason all-state honors is a difficult task in Michigan. However, a pair of Division I players did just that last season. South Lyons senior Josh Mason and Novi senior were both Division I all-state honorable mention picks. Mason helped South Lyons to an LVC title last fall.
GOALKEEPER: There are rumors that Evan Linsley may forego high school soccer this fall, but for the time being we believe he is returning and deserving of the preseason top GK nod in the Detroit area. He was a Division I second-team all-state selection last year.
|GK||Evan Linsley||Anchor Bay||Sr.|
|D||Josh Mason||South Lyons||Sr.|
|M||Jon Duke||Grosse Ile||Sr.|
|M||Carson Hodgson||Anchor Bay||Sr.|
|M||Tanner Hodgson||Anchor Bay||Sr.|
|M||Drew Pierson||Detroit Catholic Central||Jr.|
|M||Vincent Stockton||Detroit Catholic Central||Sr.|
|F||Nico Bunda||Livonia Stevenson||Sr.|
|F||Ryan Gruca||Troy Athens||Sr.|