For the first time in almost 11 years a Manchester Spartan made the 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division III Men's All-Great Lakes Region Third Team. The last individual to do this was Chris Rowe, making the 2005, 2006, and 2007 All-Region Team. Coach Brueggeman had started out by saying, "He deserved this, but I also believe we could have had a few other players on the All-Region team as well. Gonzo, [Josh Gonzalez], may be one of the mentally strongest players I have ever worked with."
Finishing the 2018 season strong, Josh Gonzalez (Portage, Ind.) made the Third Team All-Region. Josh had an outstanding 2018 season which is a major improvement from his last. In 2017 he had a tough transition from high school soccer to college soccer. Coach Brueggeman, the Manchester's head coach, stated, "We had big expectations for Gonzo coming in but like most freshman, you have to keep them in check. The transition to the college game is a big jump – physically and mentally." Josh had a total of 21 shots on goal and had 4 of those go in the net during his 2017 season. He finished his freshman year season with a total of 4 assists and 2 game winning goals. Coach Brueggeman explained, "[Josh] went most of his last year hitting the post almost every game, and scoring several goals for us, but he got to a point where he felt like he was not doing enough for us. We talked with him and just told him to concentrate on what he can control and try to make others better. After that, he came up with the winning goal against Transy obviously with some luck, but that game helped us roll into the conference tournament. In the spring and over the summer he put a lot of work in. He spent hours on hours this offseason getting better and he was playing on a new level during our non-conference run but like last year he came alive again during conference play." Josh came back stronger in 2018 finishing the season with a 34 shots on goal, 14 goals scored, 6 assists, 4 game winning goals.
Earning this position on the NCAA Division III Men's All-Great Lakes Region Third Team required effort from the whole team, not just Josh. The Manchester Spartans had a great 2018 season, making it to the conference tournament two years in a row. Coach Brueggeman explained the important role Josh's team had played in helping him achieve this honor. "Yes, Gonzo is an outstanding player; however the team helped him earn this." The support, encouragement, and teamwork on the Spartan's soccer team is something special. The players want to improve as an individual, but they also want to improve as a team. "[Josh] has guys like his roommate, Nick Surber (Hebron, Ind.), who push him every day to his limits trying to get him to be the best," stated Coach Brueggeman. He went on talking about Drake DeWitt (Columbia City, Ind.), "[Josh] and Drake had something special these last two years and it finally came to fruition this conference season as they both ended up being the top two point-getters in the HCAC." The Spartan's and Coach Brueggeman have put a tremendous amount of time, work, and effort to turn the soccer program around. This goes to show it is all paying off with making the regional and national spotlight.