Four Tigers names preseason All-GSC, UWA is league favorite

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Four West Alabama student-athletes were selected to the 2017 Gulf South Conference Men’s Soccer Preseason All-GSC Team as Jack Shiels, Jamie Cox, Harrison Roberts and Liam Ireland each received the honor on Wednesday. The Tigers were voted preseason favorites by league coaches.

Shiels, hailing from Manchester, England, and Cox, a native of Sallins, Ireland, both return to bolster one of the toughest defensive units in the GSC. The two defenders helped anchor a backline that held opponents to the league’s second-fewest goals allowed (23) and goals-against-average (1.21) in 2016.

Ireland and Roberts return to the midfield after helping the UWA attack post the GSC’s second-highest scoring margin (1.05) in 2016, outscoring opponents 43-23 through 19 matches. Ireland netted four goals (two of which were good for game-winners) while dishing out seven assists, and Roberts tallied five goals and four helpers from the middle of the pitch.

West Alabama, coming off of its third consecutive GSC Tournament Title in 2016, received six first-place votes and 93 overall points, edging out West Florida as the league favorites for 2017. The Argos grabbed four first-place votes and 90 points in the poll.

Mississippi College, the 2016 GSC Regular Season Champion, received one first-place vote and 86 total points, landing third in the preseason rankings. Montevallo (60 points), who returns to the conference after nine seasons in the Peach Belt Conference, and Lee (59 points) complete the preseason top five.

International transfers Kyle McLeod (Montrose, Scotland) and Ali Brador (Ronchin, France) were selected as two of the GSC’s Top Newcomers, filling in vacancies in the Tiger attack as two of UWA’s newest forwards.

West Alabama will officially kick-off the 2017 season at Union (Tenn.) in a non-conference road contest set for Aug. 31 at 7:15 p.m. The Tigers will open the home portion of the schedule against Mobile on Sept. 4. Kickoff at Tiger Stadium is slated for 7 p.m.