2003 Top 25 Recruiting Classes

July 13, 2003

College Soccer News determined its 2003 recruiting class rankings with input from key soccer individuals throughout the country.

The goal was to use objective criteria to compare the classes to avoid the trap of ranking a class high based on the name of the school rather than the overall strength of the recruiting class.

The methods used by College Soccer News to rank the recruiting classes too into account 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.

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 is a big factor. The rankings factored in extra credit to a recruiting class if the class signaled a step upward for the program.

2003 Men's Top 25 Recruiting Classes
1. UCLA - Success breeds success. Tom Fitzgerald's first recruiting class includes seven highly touted players. Patrick Ianni, Chad Barrett, and Taylor Canel are U.S. U-18 National Team Players. Brandon Owens and Jose "Trini" Gomez are U.S. U-17 National Team members. High School All-American Kiel McClung and ODP Region IV team member Damon James round out the best recruiting class in the nation.
2. St. Louis - A seven member recruiting class that will take Billiken head coach Dan Donigan to the College Cup before their tenure at St. Louis is over. The class includes U-17 National Team Members John DiRaimondo and Bryan Grazier, William John who was named the Missouri Player of the Year, and David Peplinski who was the Wisconsin Player of the Year. Alex Matteson, "Mo" Benne and Vedad Ibisevic should also contribute immediately.
3. Notre Dame - Bobby Clark can recruit. Clark adds a seven member recruiting class that features a ton of talent. Clark is right on the money when he stated "These seven players comprise a fabulous recruiting class for us. All the individuals we identified early on in the recruiting process decided to come to Notre Dame." U.S. U-18 National Team members Nate Norman, Greg Dalby, and Ian Etherington are among the Irish recruits.
4. SMU - An outstanding and balanced 9 member recruiting class. Mustang head coach Schellas Hyndman says "This is the best class in my 19 years at SMU." Huge praise from a coach who has seen some of the best during his 19 year tenure. Class includes highly touted two-time NSCAA All-America midfielder Ramon Nunez who could help fill the shoes of All-American Luchi Gonzalez. Chase Wileman and Kenny Cooper among other prime timers.
5. North Carolina - Tar Heels lose top 3 scorers from 2002 squad. Elmar Bolowich brings in 13 member recruiting class that could provide instant help. Ten of the 13 hail from North Carolina accepting Bolowich's premise that nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina. Three U-17 National Team members include forward/midfielders Corey Ashe, Jamie Watson, and Michael Harrington. Nine played together as members of CASL Elite club team. .
6. Indiana University - Yeagley finishes strong with eight very talented recruits. The Hoosier head coach has indicated he will retire at conclusion of 2003 season. Yeagley says "We consider this a banner class with good balance." Hoosiers must replace forward Noonan, midfielder Mack and defender Swann among others. Yeagley recruits winners and this class is full of them. Defender Jed Zayner could be top recruit in the nation.
7. Wake Forest - Run (Wake) Forest Run. Deacons return 10 starters from 2002 team and Jay Vidovich adds one of the most balanced recruiting classes in the nation. Midfielder Bryan Carroll lone starter not returning. Parade All-Americans Ryan Solle and Steven Curfman are among outstanding midfielders in 2003 Wake Forest class. Defender David Worthen and forward Mark Ellington among others in this class who can take care of business.
8. Virginia - The Cavaliers must replace Herman Trophey winner Alecko Eskandarian up-top and veteran netminder David Comfort among others. Head coach George Gelnovatch signed four marquee players who may contribute immediately. Cavalier recruits include forward Adam Christman, goalkeeper Ryan Best, and midfielder Will Hall who are on the US. U-18 National Team. U-17 U.S. National Team midfielder Drew Harrison rounds out the class.
9. Penn State - Barry Gorman attracts a solid 12 member recruiting class. The Nittany Lions made it to the Elite Eight last year. This class gives them the depth and balance needed to go further in 2003 but for that to happen they must strengthen the team defensively. Forward recruit Simon Omekanda should compliment Chad Severs up-top. U-18 National Team midfielder Jeff Chambers is a big plus. Jason Wilkins is talented defender.
10. South Florida - UConn head coach Ray Reid said the following regarding former assistant George Kiefer, "Kiefer's eye for talent is part of the reason that he is such a great recruiter." Kiefer's 1st recruiting class at USF reinforces that. The Bulls 2003 class consists of 2 transfers and 7 very good high school players. J.C. All-American Erwin Suarez, Indiana Player of the Year Blake Sharpe, and U.S. U-18 defender Kareem Smith are among the eye catchers.
11. Clemson - Death, taxes, and Clemson head coach Trevor Adair bringing in a talented recruiting class. You can count on all three. Recruits include Adrian Chevannes a defender enrolled at Edison Academic Center in Bradenton, Hector Quintantar a center midfielder who has been a top performer for the Austin Longhorns 85 club team, and U.S. U-17 National Team Residency Program participants forward Olatomiwa Ogunsola and keeper Phillip Marfuggi.
12. Stanford - The Cardinal have a few gaps to fill due to the loss of forward Levesque, midfielder Maliza and backs Dunivant and Graham. Help is on the way via Bret Simon's most recent recruiting class that includes highly touted forward Marcus Ryan from Littleton, Colorado, U.S. U-18 netminder Andrew Kartunen, Region IV ODP team midfielder/defender Galen Thompson and midfielder Kyle Hency out Chaminade College Prep and the Scott Gallagher club.
13. Creighton - The Bluejays seek replacements for All-American forward Mike Tranchilla and record setting goalkeeper Mike Gabb. Creighton has announced the signing of three talented attacking players plus a goalkeeper. Forwards Marc Brunt and Jarod Tarver were All-American honorees. Forward Michael Kraus from Memphis, Tennessee is a multi-year Tennessee All-State selection. Keeper Ian Goodman was the Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year.
14. Duke University - Duke mentor John Rennie stated "We needed a group with skill, speed, strength and character. We got exactly what we wanted." The class includes defender Kyle Helton from the U.S. U-17 team, High School All-American midfielder Chris Loftus, defender Danny Miller who was the N.J. Player of the Year, Ryan Pascioni a Florida All-State selection, highly sought midfielder Chase Perfect, and national pool member Josh Swank.
15. Oregon State - Beaver coach Dana Taylor brings in a recruiting class of players with the physical ability, determination, experience and quickness that will enable Oregon State to successfully compete for the Pac. 10 title and a national ranking. Center Midfielder Nathan Quan who was the captain for the U-17 Canadian National Team is among the seven member recruiting class.
16. Furman - Doug Allison always attracts a talented and balanced recruiting class with a ton of competitive experience. The five member 2003 Paladin is no exception. The class includes goalkeeper Bryan Amos who has been the Region III keeper since 1999 and defender Eric Vogl who is a member of the US U-17 team. Midfielder Mark Futrell comes to Furman as a sophomore transfer after spending the 2002 season at St. John's.
17. Boston University - Goalkeeper Zach Riffert highlights a recruiting class that should take the Terriers to a higher level. Riffert was the 2002 NSCAA National Player of the Year and a four time All-American out of Brenham High in Texas. The class also includes National High School All-America forward Ryan Dreyer, forward Peter Doty who was a three-time Mississippi All State selection and midfielder Zach Kirby from Roswell, Georgia.
18. University of San Diego - Torero veteran mentor Seamus McFadden losses five starters including All-American forward Ryan Coiner from the 2002 squad that was 14-6-0. Twelve returning letterwinners and a recruiting class that includes highly recruited forward/midfielders Ryan Guy and Eric Pohl should help keep San Diego in the hunt for the West Coast Conference title and an NCAA tourney berth in 2003.
19. Boston College - The Eagles return 8 starters from the 2002 squad but must replace Casey Schmidt their all time leading goal scorer, midfielder Bobby Thompson, and Kyle Singer who was the Big East goalkeeper of the Year in 2002. Coach Ed Kelly has attracted a very competitive recruiting class that will not replace them but should help ease the loss. The class includes back Sam Brill, midfielders Jarryd Goldberg and Chris Hadfield and keeper Issey Maholo.
20. Rutgers - Bob Reasso brings in 16 member class. More not always better but in this case Reasso has attracted a group of recruits who are solid athletes and good leaders with a background of competitive soccer. Reasso stated "This is the deepest and one of the best recruiting classes we have had in our 22 years here at Rutgers." Class includes JC All-American Ricardo Arenas, NSCAA All-American Larry Mark and goalkeeper William Chiles.
21. UAB - Mike Getman signs 10 recruits. Getman stated "With these signees, we now have one of the biggest and best classes to ever come to UAB. I think of this class six or seven will battle for a starting position right away or have a significant impact." The class includes transfer Leandro de Oliveira from UConn and NSCAA All-American midfielder Derick Radcliffe.
22. Connecticut - Ray Reid reloading. Adds another balanced and highly competitive class. Look for new recruits to have the opportunity to make an immediate impact.
23. South Carolina - Goalkeeper Bradley Guzan who is member of U.S. U-18 Team considered to be among the top recruits in the country. Class also includes midfielders Grant Guthrie from Augusta, Georgia, Ryan Leeton from Midland, Texas, Nelson Moore from Cypress, Texas, and forward Michael Sambursky from Katy, Texas.
24. California - Kevin Grimes signs five solid athletes from within the State of California who have a winning track record. The recruiting class includes Eric Ebert, Andrew Jacobson, Justin Myers, Steven Purdy, and J.T. Searles. ."
25. Ohio State - Balanced and talented. John Bluem signs NSCAA High School All-American midfielder Taylor Korpieski, forward D.J. Catrow, and back Dustin Kirby. Class also includes midfielders Brent Rohrer and Robert Strachan and forward Mark McKeever.

For more information on college soccer recruiting and a complete list of the Top 40 classes, you can visit:

  • College Soccer News