Tani Oluwaseyi is the reigning Big East offensive player of the year. (Photo courtesy of St. John’s SID)

QUEENS, N.Y. – The St. John University won’t be playing this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yet, the Red Storm earned its first preseason ranking of the year Thursday, checking in at No. 17 in the College Soccer News preseason poll.

With the Big East and several other prominent conferences suspending fall athletic competition with the intention of playing in the spring, the College Soccer News poll took a look at the country’s 200-plus men’s soccer teams regardless of their competition status.

The Red Storm earned its preseason ranking after a banner 2019 campaign that featured 14 wins, the team’s highest total since 2011, and an appearance in the NCAA Division I Round of 16, the 12th time in program history. During the 2019 regular season, the Red Storm rose as high as fourth in the United Soccer Coaches poll and occupied the top spot in the RPI for one week before falling to eventual national champion and preseason No. 1 Georgetown University. The Johnnies secured a national seed in the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in program history.

The Red Storm has three of its top five scorers and 74 percent of its overall goal production from a season ago, led by reigning Big East offensive player of the year Tani Oluwaseyi. As a sophomore, Oluwaseyi became the first Johnnie in more than two decades to be named the conference’s top offensive talent after recording 11 goals, the highest single-season total by a St. John’s player since the 2003 College Cup campaign. St. John’s returns three other All-Big East honorees from last season in Big East co-goalkeeper of the Year Jan Hoffelner, Brandon Knapp and Einar Lye. Dr. David Masur also led the Big East coaching staff of the Yyear in 2019.

On the defensive side, St. John’s also has five players who saw significant time on the back line in Johan Aquilon, Rafael Bustamante, Matt Chandler, Luke Hansen and Jared Juleau. Luka Gavran, who split time in the cage with Hoffelner, will also suit up for the Johnnies this spring.