Over the next week, we’ll be taking a position-by-position look at some of the top players across the Minnesota high school soccer scene this season. This list will cover the state’s premiere defenders.
There are hundreds of standout soccer players in Minnesota and these lists are not intended to be comprehensive.
Riley Hanson, senior, Robbinsdale Armstrong
Through 13 conference games played, Hanson conceded just seven goals. He registered eight clean sheets with and saved all three penalty kicks attempted on him this year. He tallied 129 saves and was named an all-conference and all-state performer.
“Riley was very crucial to our season this year, he came out very strong against Andover. He had a large number of saves keeping us at No. 2 in the NWSC,” coach Marcus Anthony said.
Hanson also conceded the fewest amount of goals in the NWSC.
Max Uribe, junior, Winona
An all-state nominee, Uribe had a strong case this year as the best goalie in his conference. At 6-foot-2, 182-pounds, Uribe made his varsity goalkeeping debut this season, though he was a varsity center defender and junior varsity goalkeeper during the 2021 season. He made 133 saves and, in addition to his work in goal, frequently came out of the net to take free kicks since he has a long kick that he can place accurately, coach Oscar Uribe said. Uribe is also a kicker on the school’s football team.
Blake Melsa, junior, Crookston
While Crookston finished just 4-9, Melsa was a key piece on coach Lon Boike’s squad. Mela had four shutouts this season and was named an all-conference goalie. Melsa improved as the year went on, putting some rougher performances behind him en route to a solid end of season push where he allowed just seven goals in the last five games.
Jason Ryan, senior, Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa
Ryan was a brick wall in 2022, allowing just eight goals in 19 games for PIZM. His performance earned him an all-state first team nod. The Wildcats went 18-1-2 and took home third place in Class 1A with a 3-0 win over Rochester Lourdes, a big reason was their defensive effort and premiere play at the keeper spot.
Jordan Burris, senior, Zimmerman
Burris’ numbers are impressive. In 15 games played, the Zimmerman keeper collected 287 saves—a state best—with a .860 save percentage.
"Jordan is the best example of a captain, team mate, mentor and friend to everyone,” coach Paul Roth said. “He does lead by example but will also speak up when something needs to be said. Jordan always delivers his message in a way that brings us together as a team. He is a very intelligent young man who does possess many great personal qualities and is continuously pushing himself to be better and has an extremely bright future.”
Nolan Meyer, senior, Andover
Coach Andy Lynch’s goalkeeper kept Andover in several games this season. The senior tallied 10 shutouts with an .830 save percentage. “He was amazing for us this year and had numerous jaw dropping saves,” Lynch said. “He was absolutely detrimental to our team's success and low goals against this year.”
Meyer was named all-state first team for his efforts.
Benji Koeckeritz, senior, Minnehaha
Koeckeritz allowed an average of just a single goal per game in a season that included seven clean sheets for coach Sean Jensen’s squad. He was vital towards Minnehaha’s success in a season in which they won their first conference title in 20 seasons. He earned an honorable mention all-conference nod.
Lucas Rauner, senior, Cloquet-Esko-Carlton
Rauner split time for CEC this season in goal, but still pitched six shutouts. He was awarded team MVP and earned a nod for both all-conference and all-state. The four year starter played some of his best soccer late in his career.
Parker Nolte, sophomore, East Grand Forks
Despite his youth, Nolte has proven he’s not just one of the best up-and-coming goalies in the state, but a top tier keeper already. He was second in the state in saves with 286 through 13 games despite a leaky defense giving way to a slew of shots attempted. He had a save percentage of .810.
Riley Roberts, senior, St. Michael-Albertville
Through 18 games played, Roberts notched a top 10 state-wide saves total with 161. He allowed 1.94 goals per game and boasted a .820 save percentage. St. Michael-Albertville finished the season 9-10-1, but made it to the quarterfinals in the Class 3A playoffs, in part due to the play of its keeper. Roberts recorded eight games with double-digit saves.