On Tuesday, three University of Pittsburgh men’s soccer players were named to TopDrawerSoccer’s Preseason Best XI Team. Juniors Bertin Jacquesson and Filip Mirkovic were named to the First Team while Valentin Noel earned Second Team honors.
In addition, Noel and grad student Jackson Walti have been named to the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Midfield Watch List, as announced by the organization Friday. The Panther tandem was among a group of 26 midfielders selected for the preseason list.
Another preseason honor went to Walti, who was included on the ACC Preseason Watch List, as voted upon by the league coaches.
Walti, a Second Team All-ACC selection in 2021, has been a catalyst at the center midfield position and tallied a goal, two assists and 15 shots in a team-best 1,862 minutes played a year ago. The two-time all-region honoree has started 73 consecutive games for the Panthers and has 13 points (5G, 4A), while playing over 7,000 career minutes.
The TopDrawerSoccer list projects the top players in college soccer for the upcoming season.
Pitt was the only school to have two First Team honorees and led all programs with three representatives overall.
Jacquesson, a Second Team All-ACC performer a season ago, had a career year in 2021 as he led the team with 25 points on seven goals and a team-high 11 assists. The 11 assists are tied for the most in a single season in program history. His assist count was best in the ACC and fifth in the NCAA, while he finished 12th in the country and first in the league in assists per game (0.55). The junior capped last season being named No. 48 on TopDrawerSoccer Postseason Top-100 list.
A stalwart in the Panthers’ midfield, Mirkovic finished off his second season with three goals and five assists in 20 games played. He was pivotal during the NCAA Tournament run, tallying an assist verses Norther Illinois, and recording a goal and an assist versus Hofstra. The Manhattan, N.Y., product registered a brace at home versus Duke, giving Pitt the lead late in the second half of a 3-2 victory. He closed out last season earning a spot on the TopDrawerSoccer Best XI Third Team and was No. 31 on the Postseason Top-100 list.
Earning a spot on the preseason list for the second straight season, Noel capped his sophomore campaign with seven goals, five assists and 44 shots en route to earning First Team All-Region and Second Team All-ACC accolades. The Niort, France, native was a 2020 All-American and MAC Hermann Trophy finalist after delivering 14 goals, including three game-winning goals, during the Panthers’ College Cup run in 2020-21. He has started all 56 games in his career and has 58 points on 24 goals and 10 assists. He was also No. 52 on the TopDrawerSoccer Postseason Top-100 list at the end of 2021.
Pitt, picked to win its third straight Coastal Division title by ACC coaches, opens the regular season Thursday, Aug. 25 at home against No. 2 Georgetown. Start time is set for 8 p.m. with live coverage on the ACC Network Extra.
Look for more coverage previewing Pitt men’s soccer 2022 season to come and we will also have on-site coverage of Thursday’s match vs Georgetown exclusively here on Pittsburgh Soccer Now.
2022 NCAA Division I Watch List – Midfielders
Name – Yr. – School
Knut Ahlander – Sr. – SMU
Kemy Amiche – So. – Campbell
Edvin Askelsen – Gr. – Rhode Island
Yannick Bright – Jr. – New Hampshire
Noel Caliskan – Sr. – Loyola Marymount
Karim Diao – Sr. – Central Arkansas
Luis Garcia – Sr. – Providence
Joran Gerbet – So. – Oregon State
Hendrik Hebbeker – Gr. – Hofstra
Tucker Lepley – So. – UCLA
Alex Nagy – Gr. – Vermont
Valentin Noel – Sr. – Pitt
Rory O’Driscoll – Gr. – New Hampshire
Yazid Omri – Gr. – Pacific
Sebastian Schacht – Gr. – North Carolina
Jannis Schmidt – Gr. – Cleveland State
Peter Stroud – Jr. – Duke
Ousmane Sylla – Jr. – Clemson
Federico Tellez – Jr. – Northeastern
Marc Torrellas – Jr. – Loyola, Chicago
Inigo Villaldea – Jr. – San Diego State
Gino Vivi – Sr. – Central Florida
Jackson Walti – Gr. – Pitt
Laurence Wootton – Jr. – Ohio State
Kian Yari – Sr. – Missouri State
Tyler Young – Jr. – Campbell