The Wildcats are coming off of a season in which they posted an 8-5-5 overall mark and 5-2 HAAC record, good for a second-place finish in the conference.
Baker missed a spot in the 2012 NAIA National tournament for the first time since 2009. But to return to the national tournament, the Wildcats know they will need a strong performance in the HAAC regular season and potentially a HAAC tournament title.
"The level of play in the HAAC is second to none," said Houser. "We have had Final Four teams the last few years and we had a national champion come out of the HAAC in the last seven or eight years. If you look at the teams, there are some with a lot of foreign players who are a little more sophisticated that you have to prepare for and there are teams that put in a ton of work that are organized and are really good.
"And that is a credit to the coaches in the league. I think the coaches in our league are top-notch problem solvers and they keep their teams prepared and ready. And that is the challenge we face. Can we match that? Can we challenge that? We are excited to test ourselves again."
Baker opens up the season on Saturday, Aug. 24 at Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa at 2:30 p.m.
2013 HAAC Preseason Men's Soccer Rankings:
1. MidAmerica Nazarene University
2. Benedictine College
3. Missouri Valley College
4. Baker University
5. Central Methodist University
6. Graceland University
7. Avila University
8. Culver Stockton College