ST. LOUIS – The Saint Louis University men’s soccer program will feature 13 new Billikens when preseason kicks off this upcoming August. Included in the group of new players are two college transfers and 11 incoming freshmen. 

“We are thrilled to announce the addition of these 13 new players,” SLU head coach Kevin Kalish said. “It’s a large class, but we feel each one of these players will add tremendous value to our team both in the short and long-term. It is an extremely talented group with four players having National Team experience and nine players captaining their respective teams. We expect each student-athlete to have outstanding careers as Billikens and represent the city of St. Louis and Saint Louis University with integrity, pride and class.”

“As with each potential prospect, we are looking for talented student-athletes with specific personalities that fits with our culture, and also individuals who will embrace what it means to play for Saint Louis,” Kalish said. “Each player in this year’s class will continue to assist in our mission of serving others in the community, excelling in the classroom and ultimately winning championships.

“I personally would like to acknowledge the work of assistant coaches Kris Bertsch and Kevin Stoll, who worked tirelessly putting this unique class together,” Kalish said. “We are extremely fortunate to have them part of our staff. They are the best in the country at what they do and we look forward too many exciting years ahead for Saint Louis men’s soccer.”

The new players are:

Aron Kari Adalsteinsson • D • Reykjavik, Iceland (Kopavogur HS/Breidablik FC)
Simon Becher • F • Brooklyn, Conn. (Woodstock Academy/Oakwood SC/Holy Cross)
Christian Buendia • MF • Grove City, Ohio (St. Charles Prep/Ohio Premier SC)
Jacob Goyen • D • Frisco, Texas (Lone Star HS/FC Dallas/Ohio State University)
Oliver Gravett • F • Chelmsford, England (AFC Sudbury)
Kipp Keller • MF • St. Louis, Mo. (Principia School/Saint Louis FC)
Jack Mika • MF • St. Louis, Mo. (Chaminade/St. Louis Scott Gallagher)
Mujeeb Murana • D • Fresno, Texas (Hightower HS/Houston Dynamo Academy)
Sam Rowan • MF • St. Louis, Mo. (Holt HS/St. Louis Scott Gallagher)
Patrick Schulte • GK • St. Louis, Mo. (Francis Howell HS/Saint Louis FC)
Evan Southern • F • Glastonbury, Conn. (North Forsyth HS/Oakwood SC)
Stefan Stojanovic • F • Chicago, Ill. (Maine West HS/Sockers FC)
Mason Taylor • GK • Marysville, Ohio (Marysville HS/Ohio Premier SC)

Aron Kari Adalsteinsson • D • Reykjavik, Iceland (Kopavogur HS/Breidablik FC)
• Central defender for FC Breidablik, which plays in the Icelandic Premier League, the country’s top division

• Helped team to an Icelandic Cup championship
• Member of Iceland's U19 National Team
• Earned a bronze medal with Iceland at the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics in China 

Kalish on Adalsteinsson: 

“Aron has many qualities that we believe will allow for him to excel at Saint Louis. He has a wealth of international experience competing with the Iceland U19 National team and also in the Icelandic Premier League. Aron is a smooth, intelligent central defender who dominates in aerial challenges. He is an excellent leader, is passionate about improving, and is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. His professional mentality, range of passing and ability to control games from the center back position will be a tremendous asset to the team.” 

Adalsteinsson on why he chose Saint Louis:

“I choose Saint Louis because I have the desire to get a great degree and play at a high level in soccer. The culture is great and the program is quickly becoming one of the best in the nation. I feel I have a great opportunity to improve my game and develop as a person. I'm excited to be able to play for and attend a great university like Saint Louis."

Other Schools considered:
Indiana, NC State 

Simon Becher • F • Brooklyn, Conn. (Woodstock Academy/Oakwood SC/Holy Cross)
• Third-team All-Patriot League selection last season at Holy Cross

• Led Crusaders in goals (seven) and points (17)
• Scored more than 70 goals for Oakwood SC in the US Development Academy
• Oakwood SC Northeast Division Champions in 2016
• U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy Eastern Conference Best XI in 2016
• Called to U.S. National Team camps on three occasions, most recently to the U20 camp held at the beginning of 2019

Kalish on Becher: 

“We are excited to bring a proven goal scorer of Simon’s caliber to Saint Louis. Simon will fit in extremely well with our style of play as he is an intelligent striker with tremendous versatility. His vision, work-rate and ability to create chances will be valuable to the team for many years to come. In addition to his recent call-ups with the U.S. U20 National team, Simon excelled in leading Oakwood SC from Connecticut in the U.S. Developmental Academy, scoring more than 70 goals with the club.”

Becher on why he chose Saint Louis:

“Saint Louis has a top Soccer program in the country and is a very soccer oriented town. I felt as though the coaching staff have created an environment at SLU that facilitates development on and off the field. The team is extremely talented and we have an exciting group of players for the upcoming years.”

Other Schools considered:
Duke, Georgetown, Providence, Boston College

Christian Buendia • MF • Grove City, Ohio (Saint Charles Prep/Ohio Premier SC)
• Helped Saint Charles Preparatory School to a state championship in 2016

• Scored 14 goals and added 15 assists in 2018 for the Cardinals
• As a senior, earned All-American and first-team All-State honors
• Nominee for the Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year
• Captained his Ohio Premier SC team that captured the state championship in 2018
• Scored seven goals and tallied 20 assists for Ohio Premier in 2018
• Member of the National Honor Society at Saint Charles Prep

Kalish on Buendia:  

“Christian is a player we have had on our radar for some time because of his tremendous physical profile, game intelligence and overall passing and receiving ability. He really impressed and separated himself at our Billikens College Elite Camp last summer, and also had an excellent performance in the All-American game in Orlando. Christian is a player who will continue to grow and blossom into a top player for our program.”

Buendia on why he chose Saint Louis:

“I knew as soon as I stepped on campus that I wanted to go to SLU. I really liked the opportunity to get a great education and I loved the professional culture the players and coaches bring to the team. The coaches do not just make better soccer players, but better people. I am excited to join a program and play in a city with an incredible soccer history and to be part of a team that is quickly becoming one of the best in the nation.”

Other Schools considered:
Colgate, Elon, Ohio Wesleyan

Jacob Goyen • D • Frisco, Texas (Lone Star HS/FC Dallas/Ohio State University)
• Transferred from Ohio State and participated in the Billikens spring season in 2019
• Appeared in 27 matches (15 starts) in two seasons with the Buckeyes
• Registered his first collegiate point with an assist against Bowling Green in 2018
• Member of FC Dallas and won the 2017 Dallas Cup super group, becoming only the second American team to win it
• Played on two national championship teams with FC Dallas
• Played internationally at the Copa Chivas in Mexico and the Copa Tahuichi in Bolivia

Kalish on Goyen:  

“Jacob was able to transfer into the program for the spring semester, so it has been extremely valuable to be able to get to know him and work with him on field this spring. Jacob is a solid, honest wide back who can play on the left or right side. He has the ability to provide brilliant service from wide areas and will immediately compete for playing time. Jacob’s experiences playing in the Big 10 over the last two years will only help his transition.”

Goyen on why he chose Saint Louis:

“I chose SLU because of the culture and history of the soccer program and well as the core values of the university. I fell in love with the campus and felt like the overall environment of the university would push me to become a better player and person.”

Other Schools considered:
Syracuse, Penn State, Tulsa, Yale, Georgia Southern

Oliver Gravett • F • Chelmsford, England (AFC Sudbury)
• Scored 23 goals and added 15 assists in 32 games in 2017-18 with AFC Sudbury

• Helped team to three-straight League Cup titles
• Selected as the Outstanding Achievement Award winner for the 2017-18 season

Kalish on Gravett: 

“Oliver is an exciting attacking player who can score goals and unlock defenses with his 1v1 ability, movement off the ball and service. He has the ability to be a top winger in college soccer, which will help us break down opponent’s low blocks. We are excited to work with Oliver on a daily basis and feel his best soccer is yet to come.”

Gravett on why he chose Saint Louis:

“I chose Saint Louis because it is a highly reputable university that has a brilliant academic and sporting history. Furthermore, I chose SLU because the coaching staff came across as very approachable and friendly whilst still being professional and appropriate when needed and this professional behavior attracts me to become part of a family much bigger than myself.”

Kipp Keller • MF • St. Louis, Mo. (Principia School/Saint Louis FC)
• Captain of Saint Louis FC’s U19 Academy team, which advanced to the USSDA playoffs in 2018

• Signed an Academy contract with Saint Louis FC first team in 2019
• Was invited to preseason with Saint Louis FC’s first team, where played in four matches
• First-team All-State selection at Principia School, leading them to a state championship his freshman year

Kalish on Keller: 

"Kipp is a tremendous competitor and leader. He is the type of player who makes everyone around him better. Kipp is a versatile player who can compete in a number of different positions in the midfield or as a central defender. His range of passing, ball-striking ability and composure on the ball make him an ideal fit for our identity as a team. As a captain of Saint Louis FC’s U19 Academy team, he has had the opportunity to also earn a lot of valuable minutes playing and training with Saint Louis FC’s first team on a regular basis. Kipp is a winner and he will be an instrumental part of our success over the next four seasons.”

Keller on why he chose Saint Louis:

“Choosing SLU was a very easy decision for me. Playing for Saint Louis University and being local has so many different rewards. Playing with the support of my family and friends and to continue a relationship with my former club coaches was something I couldn’t pass up. I also knew that choosing SLU was the best option for me to become a professional player. With the incoming recruiting class and the help of the coaching staff to get me to the next level I just knew it was the perfect fit. I am very excited about this opportunity to play in front of my hometown and can’t wait to get started.”

Other Schools considered:
Indiana, Michigan State, Akron, Wisconsin

Jack Mika • MF • St. Louis, Mo. (Chaminade/St. Louis Scott Gallagher)
• Captain of his Chaminade team

• First-team All-Conference selection at Chaminade as a senior after scoring six goals and eight assists
• Played for Saint Louis FC U19 Academy team, which advanced to the USSDA playoffs in 2019
• Earned first honors in the classroom all four years at Chaminade
• His father, Jeff, played for the Billikens from 1988-92

Kalish on Mika: 

“Jack embodies what we believe a Billiken stands for: tremendous character, honest, hardworking, intelligent and talented. He’s a selfless teammate with infectious energy who will do whatever it takes to help his team be successful. Jack plays for former Billiken great Tim Sartori at Chaminade, so we know Jack will compete each and every day to make himself and his teammates better. He also continues the Mika family legacy at Saint Louis following in his father Jeff’s footsteps.”

Mika on why he chose Saint Louis:

“I chose SLU because I had a very good relationship with the coaches and they made me feel right at home when I visited. It’s a great university that will challenge me both academically and athletically. Also, being from St. Louis, I’ve been around the program my entire life and I want to help get it back to the top of college soccer.”

Other Schools considered:
Yale, Missouri State

Mujeeb Murana • D • Fresno, Texas (Hightower HS/Houston Dynamo Academy)
• Captain of Houston Dynamo U19 Academy Team

• Invited to train with the first team of the Houston Dynamo (MLS) and Rio Grande Valley (USL)
• Two-time Student of the Year of the Houston Dynamo Academy
• Brother, Quayyum, is a rising senior for the Billikens
• Native of Ibadan, Nigeria 

Kalish on Murana: 

“Mujeeb is a special player who can dominate opponents physically both as a wide back and center back. He currently captains the Houston Dynamo U19 Academy team and has been training with both Rio Grande Valley FC in the USL and the Houston Dynamo first team. He is improving at a rapid rate with Houston and we fully anticipate that he will have a special career at SLU.”

Murana on why he chose Saint Louis:

“I chose Saint Louis University because of the city's great soccer culture. SLU is a place where I see myself developing into the player and person I want to be. The coaching staff and players immediately made me feel at home along with the other student-athletes. The campus is very beautiful and the facilities are amazing. I can’t wait to be a Billiken!”

Other Schools considered:
Virginia, Kentucky, James Madison, Florida International, Central Arkansas

Sam Rowan • MF • St. Louis, Mo. (Holt HS/St. Louis Scott Gallagher)
• Totaled 50 goals and 43 assists in his prep career and helped Holt High School to two district titles and a sectional title

• Two-time state champion with St. Louis Scott Gallagher
• Was the top scorer at the Region II Championships
• Named to the USYS First XI
• Captain of his Saint Louis Scott Gallagher Elite team and his Holt High School team
• Earned All-Conference honors all four years of high school and was the conference’s Player of the Year as a senior
• Was an Academic All-Conference selection in soccer and basketball at Holt

Kalish on Rowan: 

“Sam is one of the top players coming out of St. Louis, and we’re thrilled he decided to become a Billiken. He is a dangerous two-way player who is able to create goals and win tackles in the midfield. His work rate, ability to cover ground and competitive mentality separates himself from his peers. We believe Sam’s best years are ahead of him.”

Rowan on why he chose Saint Louis:

“I choose Saint Louis University because I felt right at home with the coaching staff and the players. I was quite impressed with how close the players were with one another and felt I would fit in right away in the culture the coaches have created there. SLU soccer also has a rich history as does the city of St. Louis so to be able to play for my hometown meant a lot for me. The future is bright for Saint Louis soccer.”

Other Schools considered:
Indiana, SIUe

Patrick Schulte • GK • St. Louis, Mo. (Francis Howell HS/Saint Louis FC)
• Starting keeper for Saint Louis FC U19 Academy team that advanced to the USSDA playoffs in 2019

• Recently called to a U.S. U18 Men's National Team camp
• Signed an Academy contract with Saint Louis FC first team in 2019
• Trained with the Feyenoord Academy in the Netherlands
• Three-year varsity starter on the basketball team and helped the Vikings to a fourth-place finish in the Missouri Class 5A state championship
• Was among the area leaders in assists and steals on the hardwood
• Three-time All-Academic selection at Francis Howell

Kalish on Schulte: 

“Patrick is one of the top goalkeepers in the nation and we are excited he’s going to be a Billiken. He’s been the starting goalkeeper for the Saint Louis FC U19 Academy team and was recently called into the U18 U.S. National team camp this past winter. Patrick is a tireless worker in both soccer and basketball and we believe he has the mindset and tools to be a top goalkeeper in college soccer.”

Schulte on why he chose Saint Louis:

“The reason I chose SLU was because of the bond that I built with the coaches, the relationships I had with the incoming recruiting class, and wanting to win in my hometown of St. Louis. The detailed plan the coaching staff has for me to reach my dream goals of playing professional soccer is something that made SLU stand out to me. I just felt right at home the minute I stepped foot on campus.”

Other Schools considered:
Kentucky, Akron, Creighton, Loyola-Chicago

Evan Southern • F • Glastonbury, Conn. (North Forsyth HS/Oakwood SC)
• Captain of Oakwood SC U19 team

• Played for Oakwood SC U17 Academy team, which advanced to the USSDA playoffs in 2019
• Among top five in US Development Academy in goals per game and is in the running to finish ranked in the top 10 in goals in the Academy

Kalish on Southern: 

“We’re thrilled to have Evan join our program. Evan is a quick, explosive attacking player who is a constant threat due to his tireless work-rate and movement off the ball. He is another attacking weapon that will allow us to hurt our opponents in a multitude of ways. We are excited to work with a striker like Evan and to have another product of the Oakwood Academy in Connecticut join us.”

Southern on why he chose Saint Louis:

“After hearing everything the coaching staff and players had to say about the program and the university, I didn’t want to have any regrets on not picking SLU. I knew I wanted to be a Billiken. I didn’t care how long it would take, I knew that was the program I wanted to be a part of. I look forward to being a Billiken!"

Other Schools considered:
Rhode Island, Providence, Villanova, Hartford, Stony Brook

Stefan Stojanovic • F • Chicago, Ill. (Maine West HS/Sockers FC)
• Captain of the U19 Sockers FC Academy team

• Scored 62 goals in his five-year Academy career
• Member of the U.S. U18 Men’s National Team
• Top 30 prospect by Top Drawer Soccer
• U17 Central Conference Best XI

 Kalish on Stojanovic: 

"Stefan is a player with splendid technique, insight and finishing ability. He is a proven goal scorer and one of the top prospects across the country.  A product of the Sockers FC program out of Chicago, Stefan has been one of the top strikers in the U.S. Developmental Academy for many years. He’s also another member of our recruiting class with national team experience. We think Stefan will make an immediate impact on our team next season.”

Stojanovic on why he chose Saint Louis:

“The main reasons I choose SLU is because of the academics and it was the best option for me to become a professional player. The coaching staff wants to see me succeed and are willing to do anything they can to help me make the next step in my career. Additionally, the incoming players also have the same mentality of playing at the next level as I do. With the staff and the players pushing each other to become better, on and off the field, I believe SLU is the perfect environment for me.”

Other Schools considered:
Duke, Indiana, UNC, Georgetown, Maryland, Portland, San Diego State, Cleveland State

Mason Taylor • GK • Marysville, Ohio (Marysville HS/Ohio Premier SC)
• Won a State Cup championship with Ohio Premier SC

• Prepped at Marysville High School and owns 30 career shutouts
• Three-year captain at Marysville and was the team’s MVP as a senior
• Three-time Defensive Player of the Year for the Monarchs
• First-team All-Ohio Capital Conference his senior year
• Four-year scholar-athlete at Marysville High School

Kalish on Taylor: 

“Mason is another player from the Ohio Premier program out of Columbus, Ohio, along with Christian Buendia. Mason recently attended our Billikens ID camp and played extremely well. He has an exciting athletic profile and we believe his best days are ahead of him. We look forward to seeing Mason’s growth as a goalkeeper over the next four years.

Taylor on why he chose Saint Louis:

“I chose Saint Louis University because when I visited campus, I got the feeling that it would be my home for years to come. Feeling at home and seeing myself living on campus was important when I was on my visit. Once I saw SLU as being my future home, I focused on the culture. The culture at SLU is indescribable. It’s truly amazing and there is no better feeling than being in a culture that feels more like a family. I’m very excited to be joining the rapidly growing SLU men’s soccer program. I know the future is bright and it’s something that I am definitely blessed to become a part of.”

Other Schools considered:
Ohio State