Ah, August. The time of the year when I can start making the argument that the Big East is the best football league in the country, depending on your definition of football, of course.
Today, Top Drawer Soccer, that wonderful resource of national college soccer coverage, announced their men's soccer preseason All-American teams. They use the name Best XI for their three squads, and Marquette's own central defender, Axel Sjöberg was named as one of the three defenders on the Second Team. That makes Sjöberg one of the six best defenders in the country in the eyes of TDS. Not too bad.
Sjöberg was named to the All-Big East First Team after the 2013 season. The 6'7" center back is one of the more dynamic players in college soccer, as his unique height also gives opposing teams fits on set pieces. The redshirt junior has scored 10 goals and six assists in his two seasons wearing the blue and gold.
Sjöberg is one of four Big East players on the three teams organized by the TDS staff. Georgetown defender Joshua Yaro is on the First Team, and his teammate, Brandon Allen, made the Second Team after leading the Big East in points last season. St. John's Tim Parker earned a spot in the defensive corps for the TDS Third Team.
There are two players amongst the 33 that will show up on the opposite side of the pitch from Marquette this season. Midfielder Laurie Bell from UWM is one of the four best mids in the country after a stellar junior campaign where he scored 13 goals, and Notre Dame's Nick Besler is amongst the midfielders for the second team. For the record, yes, it took a lot of mental effort to make sure I was typing the right Besler brother's name, as Nick's older brother Matt is a star for Sporting KC and the US Men's National Team.
The thing I found most interesting about the TDS list this season is that Charlie Lyon is nowhere near it. Last year, Lyon was the second best keeper in the country in the preseason according to TDS. All Lyon did in the season following was guide MU to their second Big East regular season title, their first Big East tournament championship, and the first NCAA tournament victory in program history. But this year, Lyon gets beat out by Zachary Steffen (Maryland), Spencer Richey (Washington), and Tyler Miller (Northwestern). No respect, I'm telling ya.