College Soccer News examined the 2007 incoming recruiting classes throughout the country to arrive at its top 20 rankings.
The criteria College Soccer News used to rank the classes applied a lot of weight to the extent to which a recruiting class filled the perceived gaps a team needed to fill as well as the overall potential of the recruits to increase the competitiveness of the team. Individual players were evaluated based on a combination of their high school, club, ODP, and regional and national experience. Playing experience against top level competition was a key factor. Transfers were also taken into consideration in rating classes. The rankings factored in extra credit to a recruiting class if the class signaled a step upward for the program. Programs that overachieved, as several did in 2007, are recognized in the rankings.
Some classes may still not be finalized so the rankings were issued based on the best information available to us at the time. The 2007 season will feature a lot of freshmen throughout the USA who will make an immediate impact as well as more than the normal amount of transfers who look to play key roles. With that in mind, let's look at the nation's top recruiting classes for 2007.
1. Duke -- A dandy of a class. The Blue Devils add six recruits who will strengthen an already loaded 2007 team and help ensure continued success in years to come. The class includes no less than four All-Americans. NSCAA Youth All-American Doug Ferner from Bloomfield Hill, Michigan, is among the top defenders coming out of the class of 2007. Defender Christian Ibeagha is a two-time NSCAA Youth All-American from Edmond, Oklahoma, out of Deer Creek High School, who is also a member of the U.S. U-17 national team. Midfielder Cole Grossman from St. Louis, Missouri, out of St. Louis University High School is an NSCAA Youth All-American who played club for Scott Gallagher. Forward Nick Sih from Horsham, Pa., is an NSCAA High School All-American out of Germantown Academy who played club with FC Delco Crunch. Goalkeeper Nick Tsipis is from Perry, Ohio, out of St. Ignatius High School where he was an NSCAA All-Central Region selection. Graduate student forward Joshua Medcalf who played three years at Vanderbilt rounds out the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.
2. Indiana -- The Hoosiers again had plenty of success on the recruiting trail. This group is as highly touted as any in the country with four All-American forwards. Forward Andy Adlard is a two-time NSCAA Youth All-American who played club for the Chicago Magic. Forward Mike Roach is an NSCAA High School All-American who played club for Scott Gallagher. Forward Alec Purdie is an NSCAA High School All-Amerian who played for the Carmel United Soccer Club Cosmos. Forward Max Weston is an NSCAA High School All-American and the Ohio State Player of the Year. Midfielders Tyler McCarroll, Rich Balchan and goalkeeper Michael Munroe round out the class.
3. Virginia -- The Cavaliers added only five recruits, but four members of the class have experience on the U.S. U-18 national team. Virginia coach George Gelnovatch stated that this class "could be one of our top classes in a while." The class includes defenders T.J. Cyrus who was named the NSCAA Virginia State Player of the Year and is an NSCAA All-American, and Colin Given who is an NSCAA Youth All-American and has been a member of the U.S. U-18 team. Goalkeeper Danny Louisignau who hails from Wilmington, Delaware and has been the netminder for the Baltimore Bays Club team, midfielder Jimmy Simpson who is a member of the Virginia and Region I ODP teams and has experience with the U.S. U-18 national team, and midfielder Jason Kim from Irvine, California who is a very talented member of the Region IV ODP team.
4. SMU -- The Mustangs signed an eight-member recruiting class that successfully addresses gaps on both sides of the ball. The marquee player of the class is forward Chad Bauman from Spring, Texas, who is an NSCAA High School All-American and the Texas State Player of the Year. Defender Patrick Clendenny is the Missouri State Defensive Player of the Year. Midfielder Keoki Haole is a member of the Region IV ODP team. Goalkeeper Jonathan Lester is a member of the Region III ODP team. Midfielder Ariel Osorio is a member of the Region IV ODP team. Goalkeeper Brock Tomlinson played club for the Chicago Magic. Forward Walberto Vasquez is a member of the Region II ODP team. Midfielder Tyler Williams played club for Scott Gallagher and is a member of the Missouri ODP team.
5. Akron -- To land a recruiting class like this was quite an accomplishment for Akron coach Caleb Porter. NSCAA Youth All-American midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong is from Carrollton, Texas, out of the IMG Academy. He adds immediate zip to the Akron attack. Midfielder Blair Gavin from Franklin, Tennessee, out of the IMG Academy, will add defensive toughness and another dimension to the attack out of the back. Midfielder Michael Nanchoff from North Royalton, Ohio, out of Walsh Jesuit is an NSCAA High School All-American who had a school record 31 assists last year. Forward Steve Zakuani from London, England, adds quickness to the attack up-top. Midfielder Aaron Henkle from Carmel, Indiana, out of Carmel High School is a very sound all around athlete with solid soccer skills and a great work ethic.
6. Wake Forest -- The Demon Deacons signed a gifted group of players. Midfielder Corben Bone from Dallas, Texas out of Plano High School is the jewel of the class. One of the most sought after recruits in the country, Bone was named the 2006 NSCAA Player of the Year and was a 2006 High School All-American. Midfielder Jeff Leach is among other high profile members of the class. Leach is a member of the U-18 U.S. national team and was named an NSCAA Youth All-American in 2005 and 2006. Midfielder Russ Coleman from Norman, Oklahoma who was a Region III ODP team member and defender Ike Opara from Durham, North Carolina round out a stellar class.
7. Clemson -- Trevor Adair needed impact players and he got them. The class includes NSCAA High School and Youth All-American midfielder Eric Cava from Annapolis, Maryland, NSCAA High School All-American midfielder Tommy Drake from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and NSCAA Youth All-American defender John Tardy from Staten Island, New York. Forward Sam Petrone from Glen Rock, New Jersey is another member of this talented class who should help the Tigers fill the goal-scoring void that exists due to the departure of forwards Dane Richards and Frederico Moojen.
8. Maryland -- The Terps again landed an impressive class that includes a forward, two midfielders, a defender, and a goalkeeper. Forward Billy Cortes is from Mission Viejo, California, where he was a two year ESP participant and played club for the Pateadores. Midfielders Rodney Wallace from Rockville, Maryland, and Yannick Salmon from Westbury, New York, are highly-touted recruits with great touch on the ball and vision. Defender Sean Flatley from Virginia Beach is an athletic and determined left-footed player who should blossom at Maryland. Goalkeeper Will Swaim is from Ellicott City, Maryland, out of Howard High School where he was a First Team All-County and Second Team All-State selection.
9. Stanford -- This nine-member class should prove to be the catalyst for many wins during their tenure at The Farm. Seven of the recruits are from California. Stanford mentor Bert Simon indicates it may be Stanford's deepest and most talented recruiting class in the past decade. Defender Cameron Lamming from San Juan Capistrano is a member of the Region IV ODP team and U-18 national team. Midfielder Ryan Thomas from Claremont is a member of the Region IV ODP team, the U-18 national team, and was an ESP participant. Midfielder Bobby Warshaw from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania is an NSCAA Youth All-American, a member of the Region I ODP team, and has played with the U-18 national team. Defender Kevin Huang from Potomac, Maryland, is an NSCAA Youth All-American and ESP participant. Forward Daniel Leon from Mill Valley, defender Shuan Culver from Escondido, midfielder Garrett Gunther from Long Beach, Taylor Amman from Santa Rosa, and defender Dominique Yahyavi from Santa Barbara round out a very talented and experienced group that should put the Cardinal back in the hunt for the Pac-10 title and national standing.
10. South Carolina -- This class has skill, speed and is athletic from top to bottom. Mark Berson needed an infusion of talent due to the loss of seven starters. He has added a 12-member class that meets that need. The class has a lot of state and regional ODP experience. The class includes NSCAA Youth All-American Sam Arthur who is a forward out of Greater Atlanta Christian School and goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer out of Saint Pius X Catholic High School who was the Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year. Forward Bryan Lowder, an NSCAA High School All-American and former Gatorade Tennessee Player of the Year, transfers in from Louisville.
11. North Carolina -- The Tar Heels lost seven starters from the 2006 team so opportunity abounds for Elmar Bolowich's eight-man 2007 recruiting class to challenge for playing time. The stock of this class jumped upward when highly regarded midfielder Cameron Brown decided to sign. Brown is a member of the U.S. U-20 national team player pool and was a two-time NSCAA Youth All-American. The class also includes NSCAA High School All-American defender Brett King from Wilmington, North Carolina, midfielder Drew McKinney from Cary, North Carolina, forward Daniel Choi out of the IMG Soccer Academy, forward Ryley Leech from Manakin Sabot, Virginia, and goalkeepers Tyler Deric from Spring, Texas and Stephen Twilley from Greensboro, North Carolina. Junior Ryan Adeleye who is a transfer from Davidson College will strengthen the back line.
12. Connecticut -- The Huskies got a little bit of everything with this nine-man class. The Huskies look to be among the big winners in the 2007 recruiting class race. The class includes goalkeeper Martin Nieuwoudt who has been a member of the U-20 South African national team, midfielder Jared Adamo from Riverview, Florida, who is a member of the Region III ODP team and forward Joe Brantmeyer who was named the Suffolk County Player of the Year. Goalkeeper Tim Gebhardt from Center Moriches, New York, defender Jordan Hale who was an NSCAA High School All-American and the Maine Gatorade Player of the Year, defender Greg King who is a member of the Australian U-20 national team and midfielders Shawn Nicklaw from San Diego and midfielder Ryan Stinnett from Woodbridge, Virginia round out the class.
13. UC Santa Barbara -- All but five players return from last year's national championship team. This class is all about quality not quantity. The addition of sophomore midfielder Ciaran O'Brien who transfers in from the University of San Diego is a big plus. New recruits defender Michael Boxal and forward Sam Jenkins continue UCSB's tradition of attracting top-notch talent from New Zealand. Both are members of the U-20 New Zealand national team. Goalkeeper Kristopher Minton was an All-CIF selection. Forward Joseph Eubanks is from Denver, Colorado where he was a First Team All-State selection. Sophomore midfielder Chad Williams from Hiram College rounds out the class.
14. Santa Clara -- Cameron Rast was on target when he indicated his four-man 2007 recruiting class "fits our needs well." The key catch and impact player in the class is midfielder Jalil Anibaba from Davis, California. Anibaba is a prime timer who will make an immediate impact. He was named the Gatorade California Player of the Year and has been a member of both the U.S. U-18 and U-20 national teams. The class also includes forward Jeffrey Strong from Boise, Idaho and goalkeepers Jeremy Del Re from San Jose and Kevin Klasila from Santa Monica.
15. Notre Dame -- A very solid class that will help with immediate needs while building toward the future. The six-man class includes three midfielders, two forwards, and a defender. The impact player of the class is midfielder Matt Armstrong who is a member of the IMG Soccer Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Armstrong is a 2006 NSCAA Youth All-American who played with the Soreno Soccer Club. Forward Josh Thiermann from Stoughton, Wisconsin, is a member of the Region II ODP team. Midfielder Jeb Brovsky is from Lakewood, Colorado, and played club with the Colorado Rush. Defender Bilal Duckett is from Peachtree, Georgia where he was a multi-year member of the Georgia ODP team. . Midfielder Greg Klazura is from Rockford, Illinois, out of Boylan Catholic where he was an All-State selection. Forward Steven Perry is from Edmond, Oklahoma, out of Bishop McGuinness where he was an NSCAA High School Scholar All-American.
16. California -- Kevin Grimes always does a good job of attracting his fair share of the top talent in the State of California. The defending Pac-10 Conference champions added a nine-man class made up entirely of Californians. NSCAA Youth All-American Davis Paul out of the Arsenal FC should make an immediate contribution. Other members include defensive midfielder Servando Carrasco who played with the San Diego Surf Soccer Club, goalkeeper Jordan Bethke who played club for the Pateadores, midfielder A.J. Soares out of the San Diego Surf Soccer Club, and forward Andrew Wiedeman who has played with the Cal North and Region IV ODP teams.
17. Washington -- An up-tempo class that Huskie mentor Dean Wurzberger states "will surely make a positive impact on our soccer program." The stock of this class soared upward when forward Ellis McLoughlin from Seattle, Washington came on board. McLoughlin, who is the big dog of the class, is an NSCAA Youth All-American and a member of the U.S. U-17 national team. McLoughlin will not however join the Huskies until January 2008. Other talented members who will hit the pitch in 2007 include defender Brad Keller from Scottsdale, Arizona, out of the Sereno Soccer Club and forward Beau Macaluso from Tacoma, Washington, who played club for FC United '87 and is a member of the Region IV pool. Defender Taylor Mueller who played club for the Washington Crossfire U-18 team and is a member of the Washington ODP squad, and midfielder Matt Van Houten who played club for FC Portland and is a member of the Oregon ODP team fill out the class.
18. Seton Hall -- A class that should have the Seton Hall faithful buzzing. Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year midfielder Brayan Martinez from West Orange, New Jersey, out of West Orange High School headlines Manfred Schellscheidt's very strong eight-man recruiting class. Martinez tallied 85 goals and contributed 90 assists during his tenure at West Orange and helped the Mountaineers capture a state title his senior season. The class also includes NSCAA High School All-American midfielder Hayden Morris from Armork, New York out of Byram Hills High School. Morris was a member of the New York and Region I ODP teams.
19. San Diego State -- Lev Kirshner reached out to four states to secure a very competitive recruiting class. The class features defender Gemechu Abraham from Beaverton, Oregon and defender Kellen Frye from Littleton, Colorado who are U.S. national team pool players and Region IV ODP team members. Midfielder Pedro Adan from San Diego was an All-CIF First Team selection out of Preuss High School and the leading scorer in San Diego County. Forward Khadim Diouf from Suffield, Connecticut was an ESP participant. Goalkeeper Morgan Maestas from Littleton, Colorado, was a three-time All-State selection who played club for the Colorado Rush. Midfielder Raymundo Reza from Denver, Colorado was a Colorado and Region IV ODP team member and played for the Colorado Rush.
20. St. John's -- The Red Storm secured a six-man class that should blend in very well with returning players. Midfielder Anthony Han is a member of the Virginia and Region I ODP teams and was an ESP participant. Defender Anthony Vazquez is a member of the New Jersey and Region I ODP teams and played club soccer for the New York Red Bulls. Goalkeeper Matt Walker is a member of the Michigan and Region II ODP teams and played club for Vardar. Midfielder Ale Ivo and defender Mackenzie Ward played club for the highly regarded Dallas Texans. Midfielder Sverre Gundhus is from Oslo, Norway and played for the FC Lyn Oslo junior team.
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