South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Affton High School boys soccer breaks 1985 school win record, finish 22-5

The 2023 Affton High School boys soccer team.

It was a record-breaking year for the Affton High School boys soccer team.

Brian Mesplay’s squad not only had a successful season, but the team broke the school record for wins that has stood since 1985. That record was 20-5-2 – this year’s team finished 22-5.

While the team didn’t accomplish everything it set out to do, Mesplay spoke about the strong season that his squad turned in.

“Our goal was to win our district and advance in the state tournament,” he said in an interview with The Call. “We had solid teams the last two seasons. In 2021, we finished with a record of 19-6. In 2022, we were 15-7-2. Both teams lost in the district final on penalty kicks. We had a solid core coming back from those two teams and they were hungry to get over the hump in districts.”

The Cougars were led on the season by sophomore Ahmed Suljagic. Suljagic finished with 41 goals and nine assists in his second high school season.

“He led us in goals and points last year, so we were hoping for the same production or a little bit more since he had a year of varsity soccer under his belt,” Mesplay said.

Mesplay is hoping that Suljagic sticks around for two more years at Affton, but like a lot of young athletes, he could be heading for an academy team that faces stiffer competition at times.

“It is nice knowing that he could have two more years at Affton,” Mesplay said. “I have heard some rumblings that he may go the academy route like so many other high school players. We will definitely be better with him, but I also understand that he needs to make a decision that is best for him and his talent.”

Suljagic wasn’t the only weapon that Affton had this season.

“This year we had more offensive weapons than we had in the past,” Mesplay said. “Emir Husic joined the team this year. He played on an academy team last year. He was a great addition to our midfield. He had 22 goals and nine assists. Jackson Wilbers had 14 goals and 19 assists along with Kevin Morales, who had 11 goals and 11 assists. This made us more dangerous offensively.”

Affton was also strong defensively, as defenders Kaleb Lamons, Jackson Mandernach, Ben Meyers and Trey White held things down, while goalie Drew Stephens also had a strong season.

Looking to the future, things could be bright for Affton, depending on if some players stick around.

“Time will tell,” Mesplay said. “We lost eight seniors and could lose more to academy teams. We will look different than we have in the past but have a good group returning. They will have to put in the work during the offseason. We may struggle early but I have confidence that we will be playing our best soccer at the end of the year.”

As far as post-season awards go, Suljagic took home First Team All-State honors, Suburban Conference Green Player of the Year honors and First Team All-Region honors.

Drew Stephens received an honorable mention for All-State, Suburban Conference Green Goalkeeper of the Year, and Class 2 Region Goalkeeper of the Year.

Jackson Wilbers was awarded Second Team All-State and First Team All-Region.

Trey White was named Second Team All-State and First Team All-Region.

For the successful season, Mesplay earned Suburban Conference Green Coach of the Year and Class 2 Region Public School Coach of the Year.