Each year heading into the fall season i like to try to crank out a preview for a local team. There is simply so many cool things going on with the Lehigh Men's program i had to make it about them. Please note this will totally have a local flair so zero disrespect to any of the great players i do not make mention of!
First off -- huge news that almost slipped through the Bethlehem Futbol Factory's cracks -- 2016 BFF Male of the Year Valentin Perevalov has returned from overseas and is enrolled at Lehigh and is a freshman on the team! I asked him to catch us up quick with the past year and this is what he said:
"Over the past year I trained intensively individually and with various local teams before embarking on a 3 month trip to Germany, where I was able to train with some highly respected clubs, such as 1860 Munich and Unterhaching FC. Germany was a great soccer experience, but I ultimately decided to come back local and play for Lehigh. It has turned out to be a great decision. The team and coaching staff have been great in quickly integrating me into the collective and I immediately felt like part of the group. With so many talented freshmen coming in and a great core of upperclassmen guiding us, it is an exciting time to be representing Lehigh soccer!"
So for those counting we now have the 1st 2 ever BFF Men of the Year playing on the same team ... pretty darn cool. Senior super stud Mark Forrest of course being the other. BTW Mark was named Pre-season Offensive Player of the Year if that puts in perspective what he is bring to the pitch each game. In one word Mark is "damage" (LL Cool J voice).
Next let's not forget about Val's former LHS teammate Trevor Koski. He is a sophomore now and wouldn't you know it ... earlier this week Trevor scored his first goal against Drexel. Super cool to see him getting more minutes this year and taking advantage of them when he does! His sophomore class/former Lehigh Valley United teammate Jonathon Blaine is back and looks to build on his 3 starts from last year too.
Anyone remember Jamie Luchini who led Lehigh to the Patriot League title in 2015? Well he has a younger brother Josh and he is now a freshman starting outside midfield for the Mountain Hawks. Jamie had a fun little stretch of a member of the Bethlehem Steel FC that i thought was beyond cool. We'll see what Josh picked up from big bro.
Want more local flavor? We got Dawson Burger of Parkland and Patrick Adams of Salisbury both part of the freshman class as well.
Just like Valentin said earlier: its such an exciting blend of experience and youth. The fact so many young, talented AND local players are getting to experience what its like to play with someone of Mark's caliber is really such a special thing. We as Bethlehem residents can witness is first hand on the other side of the mountain. The Lehigh men have lost a couple nail biters out of the gate. But i still greatly look forward to seeing them get it on in person throughout the fall. You should too by supporting Bethlehem Futbol!