Temple men’s soccer is welcoming new faces from all over the globe this season.
Since the end of the 2018 season, 17 new players have joined the Owls. Six of the incoming players are from overseas.
Redshirt-freshman midfielder/defender Mathieu Gadet and sophomore defender Mickael Borger are from France. Freshmen midfielders Lior Nesher and Amir Cohen are from Israel. Sophomore forward Tyrese Edwards is from Canada, and sophomore defender Esteban Suarez is from Mexico.
Coach Brian Rowland said he started recruiting international players after he was hired by Temple in late 2017.
The international players fit the Owls’ style of play on the field, he added.
“Part of it is us trying to get the players in we feel like can play the style we want to play, and some of it has just been the way the roster has shaped up since I got here,” he said.
International players typically have experience playing for semi-professional teams, giving them an advantage compared to domestic recruits, Rowland said.
Borger believes his experience is part of the reason why Temple recruited him. He played for clubs in the third and fourth levels of the French Soccer Leagues before coming to Temple.
“I bring to the team a lot of experience and played at a good level in France, third division,” Borger said.
While playing in France’s third division for US Boulogne, the sophomore defender tallied five assists and one goal. From 2018-2019, Borger played in France’s fourth division for CSO Amneville and contributed two assists.
He joins two other French players on the team: junior defender Pierre Cayet and senior goalkeeper Simon Lefebvre, who both joined the team last season.
The team’s international presence made the newer players feel welcome, Nesher said.
Cohen joined the Owls before Nesher did in August. This made Nesher’s decision to come to Temple easier, he said.
“I just felt like this is the right place to be,” Nesher said. “We have some good goals to achieve this year, so this is just the right decision for me to be here.”
Borger, Cohen and Suarez started in Temple’s first game against Rutgers on Aug 29. The Owls lost in a 1-0 game decided by a penalty kick in the second half.
Borger, Cohen and Suarez made their second consecutive starts on Monday during the Owls’ 0-3 loss to Georgetown University. Gadet started the second half for his first appearance as an Owl.
The returning players have been receptive and open to the new recruits, Rowland said.
“It has been a great locker roon and credit to the guys that have been so accommodating and receptive to the guys coming in,” Rowland said.