Three All-Americans Highlight Bowling Green Men’s Soccer 2023 Freshman Class

Lucas Kleimeyer, Sports Reporter, Falcon Media Sports Network

There will be plenty of new faces for the Falcons heading into the 2023 season

Bowling Green men’s soccer lost a total of 11 players this offseason, including seven seniors (Jensen Lukacsko, Sergi Martinez, Kale Nichols, Adbi Faqi, Carter Womack, Michael Montemurri, and Logan Kowalczyk).

Star-center back Joey Akpunonu was drafted by FC Cincinnati in the 2023 Major League Soccer SuperDraft. Akpunonu was someone who was one of the team’s most important defensive players and played every single minute last season. 

The Falcons also lost three players to the transfer portal. Defender Gaetano D’Argento transferred to the Louisville Cardinals, forward Marko Rimac transferred to Cleveland State, and goalkeeper Ethan Ogden, who didn’t see any playing time in his freshman year, transferred to Capital University.

While including the three new incoming transfer players the Falcons will have for the 2023 season, the Orange and Brown have seven high-level freshmen coming to town next season.

From the backline to the front three, there is a ton of quality players who can make a significant impact on this team in 2023.

Gus Peacock

Gus Peacock is a defender from Cincinnati, Ohio. He was a four-year varsity letterman at Wyoming High School and was the most decorated player in the program’s history. A four-year starter for the Cowboys, he played club soccer at Cincinnati United Premier as well.

A center-back who is comfortable playing in a backline of three or four, Peacock is bringing a very impressive resume to Bowling Green.

Peacock was nationally recognized by being named an All-American twice (2021, 2022). He was also a two-time first-team all-Ohio award winner in his junior and senior years.

Being a two-year captain at Wyoming his junior and senior years, Peacock led the Cowboys to a state championship in 2021, Wyoming defeated the Bay Village Rockets 1-0, and Peacock played all 80 minutes to give the Cowboys their first ever title.

Peacock also led the Cowboys to a conference title, helping Wyoming win the Cincinnati Hills League. In his senior season, he was also a two-time Southwest Ohio Division II player of the Year and was named the 2022 Division II Ohio Player of the Year.

Peacock will have some familiar faces alongside him at BG, as he played club soccer at Cincinnati United Premier with Falcon sophomore, Andrew Shaffer, and is also teammates with fellow Falcon freshman Bennett Painter and Will Schutte. 

A quality defender with leadership qualities. Peacock has massive upside and can make an impact with the team from the opening kick-off of next season.

Bennett Painter

A forward from Anderson High School in Cincinnati, Bennett Painter is a natural-born goal scorer. Painter can play on either side of the wing and can create scoring opportunities.

Painter was nationally recognized and was also named a 2022 All-American, the eighth player in Anderson program history to receive the honor. He was also named to the 2022 Division I All-State First Team. 

Painter led the Raptors to back-to-back Eastern Cincinnati Conference titles in 2021 and 2022. 

After both his junior and senior seasons, he was also named the 2022 ECC Offensive Player of the Year.

Painter also was named to the ECC all-first team in 2021 and 2022.

A three-year varsity letterman, Painter made a total of 49 appearances and scored a total of 55 goals and 49 assists. In his sophomore year, he scored five goals and had three assists, junior year he tallied up 16 goals and nine assists and in his senior year, Painter scored 28 goals and 13 assists in just 18 games played.

A BG team that struggled to score goals at times during last season, Painter brings quality offense and has a goal-scoring instinct.

Josh Collins

A 5’9 defender from Pennsylvania, Collins provides some much-needed depth to the Falcon backline, who are only returning three upperclassmen.

Collins is comfortable playing as an outside back, which could be of help to the Orange and Brown if they choose to switch up formations and tactics throughout the season or in-game.

Aidan Ptacke

A midfielder who can be very versatile in the middle of the field, but can also play as a striker, Aidan Ptacke played at University School High School for the Preppers, where he played under his father, John Ptacke. Ptacke also played club soccer for FC Evolution.

Ptacke was also the third Falcon to be nationally recognized and be named a 2022 All-American. 

He was also selected to play in the All-American High School game and competed with some of the other top players across the country.

Ptacke plays in an attacking-midfielder type-role, but can also play up top. His vision and aggression will serve the Orange and Brown well heading into the 2023 season.

Will Schutte

A four-year varsity letterman at Colerain High School in Cincinnati, Will Schutte is one of the most talented goalkeepers in the 2023 class.

Schutte was named to the Greater Miami Conference All-First team three years in a row (2020,2021, and 2022). He was also named to the All-Second team in his Freshman year in 2019.

The six foot tall keeper, Schutte made a total of 72 appearances for the Cardinals and racked up 543 saves in his four seasons. 

Schutte’s junior year was his career high in saves, making 171 and only allowing 22 goals in 18 games.

Schutte led the GMC in saves in every single season for the Cardinals from 2019-2022. He was also top five in shutouts every year in his four years at Colerain.

Jake Lane

A freshman out of Barca Residency Academy in Casa Grande, AZ, Jake Lane is an exciting young prospect that the Falcons are very excited to have.

Lane’s best moments with Barca have come from playing out-wide, being comfortable playing on the left and right wing. 

Versatility is arguably Lane’s best attribute. Besides winger, he can also play as a central attacking midfielder.

He also has experience playing as a False 9 before, and he has no problem dropping deeper in midfield and playing as a central midfielder and connecting passes.

Lane is someone that can also make an immediate impact on this Falcons team. His versatility and intelligence on and off the ball can help bring this already dynamic Bowling Green midfield to the next level.

Anthony Hernandez

Hernandez will join the Falcons for the 2023 season after spending multiple years with the Columbus Crew Academy at many different age levels.

Hernandez also spent time with the U.S. Youth National Team in the U-14 and U-16 age groups.

An attacking midfield, Hernandez specializes in his creativity and technical ability on the ball. His line-breaking passing and off-the-ball runs will break open the opposing team’s backlines.

Hernandez will add to the already very talented midfield group for the Falcons and will look to get some minutes under his belt in his first season for the Orange and Brown.

Jason Ball

The ninth and final freshman rounding out the Falcon’s freshman class is Jason Ball, a goalkeeper out of Miamisburg High School. 

Ball was a three-year varsity starter for the Vikings and a captain for his 2022 senior season. 

In his sophomore and junior year, Ball was third in the Greater Western Ohio Conference in saves, with 95 and 108 respectively. In his senior year, he led the league in saves with 168 total, along with five shutouts.

In 2022, Ball was named to the second team All-State Ohio team. He was also named twice to the Miami Valley First Team All-District. In his junior and senior years, Ball was named to the First-Team All-Conference in the GWOC.

The 6’2 keeper provides great competition and depth to the talented goalkeeper pool. In the fall, Ball joins a room with Brendan Graves, Grant Blacer, and fellow freshman Will Schutte. 

The Falcons will have to wait until the 2023 season to kick off to see the incoming freshman class in match action. BG will announce its schedule for the upcoming season in the coming months before the season kicks off in August.

For more information about the team, visit the athletics webpage.