The 2006 recruiting classes are beginning to take shape as the top high school players in the country and transfers from the junior college ranks seek to find a collegiate home that best suits their needs while coaches seek to land talented players who best fill their gaps and fit their system of play.
The usual number of recruits with resumes that include national team play, regional ODP action, and high profile club team experience are committing to the traditional powerhouses. However, there are enough exceptions to make things interesting and to reinforce the potential for subtle shifts in the balance of power on the national scene and within conferences. It is too early in the recruiting process to objectively rank the classes but enough information does exist to start analyzing the classes and to do a little speculating regarding the impact they may have. We have focused on schools that have announced recruits and tried to cover a cross-section of the country. Our initial comments are provided below in alphabetical order.
American University -- The Eagle's roster in 2005 included only two seniors so that means that Todd West doesn't need a large recruiting class to refill the talent coffers at American University. West stated, "As has become our tradition, we feel we've brought in another strong recruiting class to play American University soccer. We feel several of these players could step in and play right away. We weren't looking for a huge class, we were looking for a talented class; we feel we've accomplished that."
The four member 2006 AU recruiting class includes Cameron Petty from Manassas, Virginia out of Osbourne Park High School, Karsten Smith from Huntington Station, New York out of Walt Whitman High School, Jake Van Yahres from Charlottesville, Virginia out of Charlottesville High School and Dor Yasur from Boca Raton, Florida out of Donna Klein Jewish Academy. All four have the potential to make an impact and to help American University regain the Patriot League title in 2006.
University of California -- The Golden Bears lost three of the nation's best in forward Calen Carr, defender Tyson Wahl, and goalkeeper Eric Kronberg. They will be missed but don't expect a severe drop off in the talent level in Berkeley in 2006. There is a ton of talent in California and Kevin Grimes and company display a keen eye for identifying talented and team oriented players who get results. The 2006 seven member California recruiting class should help the Golden Bears continue their winning ways.
The class includes midfielder Anthony Avalos from Morgan Hill, out of Live Oaks High School and the Santa Clara Ruckus club program; forward Chris Cortez from Mission Viejo, out of Trabuco Hills High and the competitive Pateadores club team; midfielder Patrick Dolan from Concord, out of De La Salle High and the DVSC Black Pearl 88' club team; midfielder Hector Jimenez from Bell Gardens, an impact player, out of Bell Gardens High and the Arsenal Soccer Club; midfielder Imaan Kerghgani from San Jose, out of Leigh High School and the Santa Clara Rukus club program; defender Josh Leon from Calabasas, out of Calabasas High and West Valley Samba Premier club team; and center midfielder Evan Sassano from Orinda out of Miramonte High and the Santa Clara Ruckus club team.
University of Cincinnati -- The Bearcats have announced five recruits. Hylton Dayes stated, "We are pleased and excited to add these five student-athletes to our program. We feel that they address some of our immediate needs and will also add depth to the team." Forward Patrick Baxter from Lebanon, Ohio who was an NJCAA and NSCAA All-American as a sophomore at Cincinnati State, may be the key to the class. Baxter, who found the back of the net 53 times and tallied 42 assists during his two year tenure at Cincinnati State, has the potential to add another dimension to an already potent Bearcat attack. Cincinnati also signed athletic forward/defender Joevannie Peart who is a transfer from Western Nebraska junior college. Midfielder Scott Kunze from Lakewood, Ohio out of Lakewood High School, midfielder Alexander Marello from Barnaby, British Columbia, and midfielder Paul Hoste from Clinton Township, Michigan out of De La Salle High School round out a versatile class.
Clemson University -- The Tigers have announced two quality recruits in forward Nathan Thornton from Spring, Texas out of Klein High School and goalkeeper Joseph Bendix from Marietta, Georgia out of Edison Academic Center High School. Thornton helped perennial Texas powerhouse Klein High School under head coach Allen Baker capture the 2005 Texas State Championship. Thornton is a solid finisher and hard worker who should fit in well with Clemson's style of play. He played for the Houston Texans Club team, is a member of the Texas State ODP squad and the Region III ODP team. Bendix is a member of the U-17 national team and the ODP Region III squad. Both have what it takes to hold their own in the highly competitive Atlantic Coast Conference. Clemson mentor Trevor Adair stated, "Both of these players are headed for outstanding careers at Clemson."
Creighton University -- Bob Warming has unveiled two Bluejay recruits so far. Midfielder Jeff Thayer, out of Millard West High School, follows in the footsteps of several past Omaha area players, by electing to stay in town to play collegiate soccer. Thayer helped his club team, Arsenal Soccer, earn a state championship. Solid on both sides of the ball, Thayer should fit in well with Warming's style of play. The Bluejays have also signed athletic and battle tested netminder Nic Christou from Palmdale, California out of Paraclette High School who played for the PSG Soccer Club.
Davidson College -- While some recruiting classes attract attention because they are dominated by big-time prospects, Davidson made its biggest marks by attracting nine players from six different states who all have a history of winning. Davidson mentor Matt Spear stated, "A common thread (for this group) is playing for great teams in big-time environments -- and being a leader therein." Spears added, "It's a huge advantage when incoming players have a history and even expectation of winning."
Davidson's class includes defenders Liam Bracken from Alpharetta, Georgia, A.J. Grant from Mitchellville, Maryland, Christian Hambleton from Scotch Plains, New Jersey, and Petri Lindberg from Alpharetta, Georgia; forwards Robert O'Donnell from Chevy Chase, Maryland and Clinton Smith from New Orleans, Louisiana; midfielders Charlie Reiter from Westport, Connecticut and Tim Roark from Gainesville, Florida, and goalkeeper Robby Goldsberry from Tampa, Florida. The Wildcat recruiting class is full of players from high school, club and ODP programs that garnered state and regional championships. Spears stated, "It's a hungry group that wants to enhance Davidson Soccer."
University of Evansville -- New head coach Mike Jacobs, who was hired in November, has signed three transfers with the potential to make an immediate impact and four high school recruits. Jacobs stated, "Between the members of this 2006 incoming class and our three transfers who are already enrolled this semester, we feel like we were able to fill most of our needs and add the kind of personnel that will help make us competitive right away." Jacobs, a former assistant coach at Evansville and at Duke University, has to recreate a winning atmosphere at Evansville if he hopes to have any chance of righting the ship. The Purple Aces were a dismal 2-14-1 in 2005 and you have to go back to the 1996 season to find a year in which Evansville earned a berth in the NCAA Tourney.
The transfers include goalkeeper Alec Duffy from Appalachian State, midfielder David Fromayan from Connecticut, and defender Jarret Neff from IUPUI. This trio represents a solid start for Jacobs' plan to rebuild the Evansville program. The four recruits from the high school ranks should help the Purples Aces compete in Missouri Valley Conference play down the road. Midfielder Reggie Edu, from Fontana, California, defender Dan Gibson from Godfrey, Illinois, forward Tom Irvin from Collinsville, Illinois and forward Stephan Minyono from Austell, Georgia round out the Jacobs' first recruiting class. Edu, a potential impact player, participated in the Adidas Elite Soccer Program and played club soccer for the Pateadores Soccer Club. Gibson tallied 61 goals and 34 assists at Marquette Catholic High School. Irvin tallied 15 goals and 17 assists as a senior at St. Louis University High School. Minyono played club for Cobb FC and was a four-time MVP as a player at Cobb High School.
Furman University -- Doug Allison signed a well-rounded seven member recruiting class that should blend in well with the ten returning starters from the 2005 team that was 8-8-4 overall and 4-3-0 in Southern Conference play. The class does not contain the marquee players that Allison was attracting a few years back but it is a very soccer savvy class with a lot of competitive club and ODP play under their belts. The class includes defender Michael Erwood from Leewood, Kansas out of Blue Valley North High and the Kansas City Legends club team; midfielder Jordan Howard from Cary, N.C. out of Southeast Raleigh High School and the Greensboro Soccer Club; midfielder Brian Kerr from Plano, Texas out of the Jesuit School and the Solar Soccer Club; goalkeeper Connor McNeely from Apex, N.C. out of Apex High who is a Region III ODP team member; defender Nasarachi Onyeuku from Fayetteville, Georgia out of Fayette County High and the Atlanta Fire club team; defender Ben Stephens from Watkinsville, Georgia out of Oconee County High who played club soccer for The College Experience; and midfielder Rob Victor from Aiken, South Carolina who is a transfer from Kentucky.
University of Illinois-Chicago -- The Flames posted one of the best turnarounds in the nation last year, improving from a 5-12-2 mark in 2004 to a respectable 10-5-2 record in 2005. Coach John Trask has announced the signing of an athletic four member class that reinforces that things are heating up for the Flames. The signature recruit of the class is forward Matt Spiess from Florissant, Missouri out of highly regarded Chaminade Prep where he was named an NSCAA All-American and the Missouri Player of the Year. Spiess played club soccer for the Lou Fusz club in the talent-rich St. Louis area. Other recruits include brothers Alen and Adis Husidic from Libertyville, Illinois out of Libertyville High who played club soccer with the Chicago Sockers; and defender Eric Lee from Tampa, Florida out of Gaither High School who played club ball for Hillsborough County United.
Indiana University -- The Hoosiers have more than the average number of gaps to fill going into the 2006 season due to the graduation of several key players and early departures to join the professional ranks. As a result this is an absolutely vital recruiting class for Indiana. However, the help needed to plug the gaps appears to be on the way as Hoosier mentor Mike Freitag appears well on the way to attracting another talented group of diaper dandies to Bloomington. Early signings include prime timers Eric Alexander from Portage, Michigan, center back Ofori Sarkodie from Huber Heights, Ohio, and back Kevin Alston from Silver Springs, Maryland.
Alexander was named the National High School Player of the Year and was tabbed Mr. Soccer in the state of Michigan. Sarkodie, who was U-17 national team captain, was named the National Youth Player of the Year and was a Parade Magazine All-American. Alston, a starter on the U-17 National Team, was a 2005 Parade Magazine All-America selection. Alexander played club soccer for Vardar 8, Sarkodie played club with the Chicago Magic, and Alston played club soccer with the Potomac Cougars.
IUPUI -- The Jaguars were 5-11-1 overall in 2005 with a 1-5-0 mark in Mid-Continent Conference play. Midfielders Vangel Nacovski and Chris Wey are among returning players who look to have what it takes to help IUPUI get into the hunt in league play. Coach Steve Franklin has announced the signing of two recruits who have a record of putting the ball in the ball of the net. Forward Eric Weigman from Appleton, Wisconsin out of Xavier High School led the state of Wisconsin in scoring as a senior, tallying 65 goals and 22 assists. Weigman helped Xavier capture state titles in 2003 and 2004. Forward Justin Darvish is from Fort Wayne, Indiana out of Snider High School were he became the school's all-time leading scored, producing 107 goals and 43 assists during his high school tenure. Darvish was named the MVP of the Summit Athletic Conference and was a third team all-state selection. He played club soccer for the Fort Wayne Fever. The unanswered question is the degree to which Weigman and Darvish can duplicate their success in finding the back of the net in high school at the collegiate level.
Liberty University -- The decision of senior forward Darryl Roberts, midfielder Osei Telesford and goalkeeper Kevin Mahan to return to play for the Flames in 2006 is good news for head coach Jeff Alder and is a sign that the Flames are well positioned to improve on their 6-8-2 overall mark in 2005 and 4-2-1 record in Big South action. The recent signing of forward Juan Guzman should add a little extra kick to the Flames attack in 2006. Guzman is from Charlotte, North Carolina out of Charlotte Latin School where he helped his team go 21-1-2 in 2004 and 17-1-2 in 2005. Guzman is a first team All-South selection and an NSCAA All-Region team member. He also has experience playing with the U.S. U-15 national team. Alder stated, "The poise and clarity he (Guzman) displays in the final third of the field with the ball at his feet will allow us to improve our scoring opportunities next season." Last year the Flames found the back of the net 30 times while allowing opponents to score a total of 25 times. If those numbers improve in 2006, Liberty could have a very good year.
University of Memphis -- Richie Grant has announced the signing of three players who will join the Tigers in 2006. After winning the CUSA regular season and tourney titles in 2004, the Tigers had an 8-8-2 overall record in 2005 that included a disappointing 3-4-2 mark in league play. Grant stated, "We've graduated the bulk of the players who helped capture the conference championship two years ago. We had a strong class last year and we are complimenting it with another one this season." The new recruits include defender Rick Alleman from Spring, Texas out of Klein High School; midfielder Ben Nabers from San Antonio, Texas out of San Antonio Christian School, and midfielder Jonahan Romero from Lorton, Virginia out of Hayfield High School. Alleman played club soccer for the Houston Texans, Nabers played club for the Austin Capitals, and Romero played club for the Reston Futball Club.
University of Maryland -- Another very highly regarded recruiting class for Maryland and Sasho Cirovski. With four consecutive appearances in the Final Four and the 2005 National Championship under their belts, it is an understatement to say that the Maryland program has momentum on their side. The Terps pretty much loaded up everywhere adding eight freshmen and transfer Richard Costanzo from Penn State who was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2004. Cirovski stated, "From top to bottom this is one of the strongest classes that we have brought in to Maryland." Contanzo, who missed the 2005 season due to injury, will be a big plus for the Maryland offense and should fit in nicely with the Terp's style of play.
Forward Omar Gonzalez from Dallas, Texas out of the Bradenton Academy has an impressive resume that includes U.S. national team play and club soccer action with the highly competitive Dallas Texans club program. A strong and competent finisher, Gonzalez is among those who Cirovski will likely look to help fill the shoes of All-American forward Jason Garey. Midfielder Jeremy Hall from Tampa, Florida out of the Bradenton Academy is another prime time recruit. Hall has been a member of the U.S. Soccer Residency program since 2003, and has earned 22 caps with the U-17 U.S. national team. A two-time NSCAA All-American, Hall will push for playing time immediately. Midfielder Drew Yates from Severna Park, Maryland out of DeMatha High is a three-time NSCAA All-American selection with the tools needed to make an immediate impact.
The class also includes forward Jason Herrick from Elmhurst, Illinois out of York High and the highly competitive Soccers FC Chicago club team; midfielder Justin Kendro from Irving, Texas out of Nimitz High School who has been a member of the Region III ODP team since 2002; defender Jon Ports from Perry Hall, Maryland out of the McDonogh School where he was an All-America selection; goalkeeper Josh Mikulewicz from Frisco, Texas out of Frisco High; and midfielder Tyler Mishalow from Fairfax, Virginia out of James W. Robinson High.
New Hampshire -- Rob Thompson's early signings have included forward Joseph Annese from Attlebor, Massachusetts, forward Chris Banks from Westborough, Massachusetts, and midfielder Robert Cooley from Northboro, Massachusetts. All three players presently play club soccer together with the Juventus club team. Regarding the signing of Annese and Banks, Thompson stated, "We have addressed our biggest need: scoring goals. Both players bring size, strength, power, and scoring to our team." After signing Cooley, Thompson stated, "Cooley is a winner. He's a feisty midfielder that plays bigger than his size."
Annese played high school soccer at Attleboro High School where he finished as the school's all-time leading scorer with 45 career goals. Banks played high school soccer at Westborough High School where is the school's all-time leader in points with 116. Cooley was a four-year starter at Algonquin Regional High School. Last year New Hampshire held opponents to a total of only 10 goals. However, they were only able to find the back of the net 16 times themselves. With eight starters returning from the 2005 squad, including goalkeeper Brian Levey and defender John Bergqvist, the Wildcats should again be solid defensively. The key to their success in 2006 will likely be their ability to generate a more balanced attack. This class could help fill that gap.
Northwestern University -- Tim Lenahan has announced the signing of four recruits who should give the Wildcats additional power on both sides of the ball. The four recruits include defenders Mark Blades and Pat Coleman and forwards Eamon O'Neill and Kevin Valenta. Blades is from Lakewood, Ohio out of St. Ignatius High School. He led his high school squad to two state championships in route to being named the Ohio Player of the Year and an NSCAA High School All-American. He played club soccer for Cleveland Soccer Academy. Coleman is from Chagrin Falls, Ohio out of Chagrin Falls High School where he was an NSCAA Regional All-American and an Ohio All-State selection. He led his club team, the Cleveland Internationals, to four-consecutive Ohio North State Cup Championships.
O'Neill is from Wilmington, Delaware out of Salesianum High School where he was a two-time Delaware Player of the Year. O'Neill was an NSCAA Youth All-American and helped take his club team, FC Delco, to four-consecutive state championships. Valenta is from St. Louis, Missouri out of St. John Vianney High School where he had 28 career goals and 35 assists. He plays club soccer for the highly competitive Scott Gallagher program. Northwestern head coach Tim Lenahan stated, "This class really helps us to reload after the loss of ten seniors last year and should keep us in the hunt for success in the Big Ten and national levels."
Notre Dame -- Under Bobby Clark, Notre Dame has become one of the superpowers on the recruiting trail. Drawing heavily upon talent Clark has gotten to know from Notre Dame's Elite Camp, the Irish have announced a six member recruiting class highlighted by NSCAA All-American midfielders Justin Morrow from Cleveland, Ohio and Michael Thomas from Olathe, Kansas. Clark calls it "one of the best recruiting classes that we've ever taken at Notre Dame." Midfielder Dave Donohue from Reading, Massachusetts, high scoring forward Tamba Samba from Indianapolis, Indiana, defender John Schaefer from Detroit, Michigan, and goalkeeper Philip Tuttle from Hooksett, New Hampshire round out a recruiting class that will seek to help the Irish earn their sixth straight appearance in the NCAA Tourney.
Old Dominion -- The Monarchs were 15-4-2 in 2005 and made their fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tourney. However, Alan Dawson's squad takes some pretty key hits going into the 2006 season due to the graduation of forward Brian Cvilikas who was the 2005 CAA Player of the Year, defender Trevor McEachron who was a three time All-CAA First Team selection, and goalkeeper John Connelly, an All-CAA First Team selection, who anchored a Monarch defense that allowed only 10 goals in 2005.
The signing of goalkeeper Evan Newton and defender Dylan Montambo should help shore up the Old Dominion defense in 2006. Newton, who is from Virginia Beach, is a multi-year NSCAA All-American selection with a resume that includes experience between the pipes with the U.S. U-17 and U-15 national teams. Montambo, who is out of Naples American High School in Naples Italy and Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake, Virginia, was a member of the Virginia State ODP team from 2000-2005, and served as team captain for two years. The foundation is in place for a solid class at ODU that will address the most pressing needs.
Oregon State -- Dana Taylor knows what it takes to compete at the highest level. He did a good job of attracting a recruiting class with the speed and technical ability needed to compete in the Pac-10. Taylor stated, "Because we didn't lose many seniors, we went after certain players to help fill the needs that we had for the team." He added, "We were able to get the exact players that we felt we needed at each position."
Midfielder Ryan Fitzgerald from Beaverton, Oregon, who tallied a school-record 22 goals his senior year at Westview High School and was named the Oregon 4A Player of the Year, looks to have all the tools needed to be an impact player. Forward David Gates, from Bountiful Utah out of Woodscross High Schoolis, is an athletic finisher who should add depth up-top. Gates was an the Utah ODP squad and on the Region IV team. Defender Jordan Harris from Eagle, Idaho, who was a three year starter at Eagle High School, and forward Justin Woodward from Corvallis, Oregon out of Corvallis High School are both solid players with the potential to challenge for playing time.
Sacramento State -- The Hornets are coming off their best season since the 1992 campaign. They finished the 2005 season with a 9-7-2 record and maintained a program-record eight match unbeaten steak when playing at home in the friendly confines of the Hornet Soccer Field. Head coach Michael Linenberger has announced the signing of two recruits who will join Sacramento State in 2006. Forward Shelby Johnson is from Sacramento out of Natomas High School where he was named to the Sacramento Bee's all-Metro First Team after leading the Sierra Foothill Conference in scoring with 25 goals and seven assists. Johnson plays club soccer for River City United. Linenberger has indicated that Johnson will provide depth up-top or in the back. Midfielder Emmanuel Ochoa, who is from Sanger, California out of Sanger High School, is described by Linenberger as "a great all-around athlete." Ochoa, who played for the California Odyssey, will challenge for playing time immediately.
Saint Louis -- This is a pivotal recruiting year for the Billikens. They need an infusion of talent that will help the program to return to the level of excellence it enjoyed in the past. The Billikens are a good side but the fact that the Billikens have not received an invite to the NCAA Tourney for the past two years speaks for itself. St. Louis mentor Dan Donigan has announced the signing of three recruits who will join the program in 2006.
Midfielder Tim Ream, who is from St. Louis out of St. Dominic High School, should contribute immediately. Ream was a 2005 NSCAA All-Midwest selection who helped take St. Dominic to the 2004 Missouri Class 2 state title. Forward Jimmy Holmes, who is from Louisville, Kentucky out of Priory High School, has the potential to be an impact player. Holmes tallied 43 goals and contributed 8 assists during his senior season. He was an NSCAA All-America selection and was named the Missouri Class 2 Player of the Year. A goal scorer, Holmes finished his high school career with 85 goals and 22 assists. Goalkeeper Ross Kaufman is from Louisville, Kentucky out of Dupont Manual High where he was a three-time All-Kentucky selection and four year starter. Kaufman has ODP experience and has been solid in the goal for the Javanon Soccer Club.
San Diego State -- Lev Kirshner's Aztecs took a big step forward in 2005 when they earned the program's first NCAA Tourney berth since the 1989 season.The question is what will Kirshner and the lads from San Diego State do for an encore in 2006. For starters, Kirshner has attracted what appears to be a very solid six member recruiting class. Eight starters are slated to return but the Aztecs must replace defenders Matt Couch and Eric Santiago and forward Heath Creager. Kirshner stated, "Although we did not lose much from last season (only 4 seniors), we significantly increased the talent level of our squad with our 2006 recruits."
The class is led by All-American midfielder Evan Toft out of Centennial High School in Aurora, Colorado. Toft played club soccer with the Colorado Rush and was a member of the U.S. U-18 national team and the Region IV ODP program. Center back Nick Cardenas, out of Horizon High in Thornton, Colorado, is an athletic and strong ball winner who also played club for the Colorado Rush. Cardenas could be the surprise player of the class. Midfielder Kyle Crain, from Pleasanton, California out of Foothill High School and the Mustang United soccer club, was a Region IV ODP and Cal-North ODP team member.
A solid competitor, Crain should add balance and depth to the Aztec midfield. Center back Santo Pernicano, from San Diego out of El Capitan High , played for the Cal-South ODP team and the Region IV ODP squad. Goalkeeper Bradford Byrnes, who played at Monte Vista High and for the Ballistic United club team, is a three year Cal-North ODP selection. Defender Philip Mota, from Tucson, Arizona out of Sabino High, is an Arizona and Region IV ODP team member.
Santa Clara -- Cameron Rast was looking for a well-rounded, quick, and athletic recruiting class to fill the void created by the departure of ten letterwinners, including All-American midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy and forward Hector Guzman. Rast accomplished that goal by signing a very good six member recruiting class, highlighted by U.S. U-17 member Amaechi Igwe who attended the IMG Soccer Acamedy in Bradenton for the past year-and-a half. Rast stated, "Over the last year we traveled all over the county searching for the players that would be the right fit to make our program better." He added, "We have added a great blend of classy and talented soccer players who will bring style, flair and a bit of athletic grit to our team."
The class includes forwards Kellen Wantulok from Boise, Idaho, who Rast describes as "perhaps the most well-rounded athlete of the class, and Sean Danzeiser from Albuquerque, New Mexico; midfielders Ryan Brown from Montclair, New Jersey, Jeff Cosgriff from San Bruno, California, and Stephen McCarthy from Colleyville, Texas out of the talented Dallas Texans club program.
University of South Carolina -- When it comes to new faces, South Carolina will have a lot to offer in 2006. Mark Berson has added a very deep and athletic eleven member class that stacks up well with other programs and keeps the Gamecocks in the hunt for the Conference USA title. Berson stated, "We've addressed all of our needs positionally and many of these players have the versatility to play in a number of spots." The class is highlighted by four NSCAA All-America selections: midfielder Mario Burnstein from Marietta, Georgia out of George Walton High School who was a Region III ODP team member, midfielder Andrew Evans from Cayce, South Carolina out of Brookland-Cayce High School who was the 2006 Gatorade South Carolina Player of the Year, midfielder Jeff Scannella from Alpharetta, Georgia out of Northview High School who was a Region III ODP team member, and midfielder Mark Wiltse from Belle Mead, New Jersey out of Montgomery High School who was a member of the youth U.S. national team from 2002 to 2005.
The class also includes midfielder Zach Prince from Columbia, South Carolina out of Irmo High School who was an NSCAA All-South Region selection, midfielder Trey Foster from Fort Mill, South Carolina out of Fort Mill High School and the Charlotte Soccer Club, forward Jamal Geathers from Aiken, South Carolina out of Aiken High, a Region III ODP team member, who may prove to be the best finisher in the class. Others include midfielder Cory Lewis from Alpharetta, Georgia out of Chattahoochee High School and the Concorde Fire Elite club team, defender Brian Przybyla from Sumter, South Carolina out of Sumter High, a very versatile player , who tallied 76 goals and 42 assists during his high school tenure, forward Schuyler Reardon from Aiken, South Carolina out of Aiken High and the Aiken Fire club team, and defender Sam Roca from Wayne, New Jersey out of Wayne Valley High who was named the New Jersey High School Player of the Year.
Towson University -- With a solid core of returning players including forward Sebastian Haensel (11g, 4a) and midfielder Pat Healey (8g, 5a), the Towson Tigers will seek to build on their 10-6-3 overall record and 4-4-3 fifth place finish in Colonial Athletic Association play. Tiger head coach Frank Olszewski announced the signing of three high school recruits and one transfer student who will join the Towson program in 2006.
The new recruits include: Tommy Appel-Schumacher from Ramstein, Germany who led Ramstein American High School to its first European title since 1996; defender Maxx Hurkamp from Falls Church, Virginia out of Falls Church High School who is a member of the Virginia ODP team and the USYSA Regional team; forward Kevin Ruck from Greer, South Carolina out of Eastside High School where he was named an All-State first team selection. The class also includes goalkeeper Billy Chiles who is a transfer from Rutgers University. Chiles is from Silver Spring, Maryland out of Springbrook High School. He was a six-year member of the Maryland ODP program and a member of the USYSA regional team. Chiles is among those who will seek to fill the void created due to the graduation of goalkeeper Zak Thompson who had 17 career shutouts.
University of Tulsa -- The Golden Hurricane slipped a bit in 2005 after a banner season in 2004 in which they advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament and ended the season with a high national ranking. Although they advanced to the championship match of the CUSA Tourney in their first season in the league in 2005, their 7-7-7 overall record and 2-4-3 mark in CUSA regular season play fell below preseason expectations. Tulsa mentor Tom McIntosh will enter the 2006 campaign needing to find replacements for forward Kyle Brown, midfielders Lawson Vaughn and Daniel Wasson and defender James Dabney.
In that regard, McIntosh has announced the signing of a balanced seven member recruiting class that includes forward Steffen Canty from Coto de Caza, California who was a three year starter at Santa Margarita Catholic High and a member of the Pateadores club team; midfielder Hunter Christiansen from Denton, Texas who was a three-year letterwinner at Denton High School; defender Kyle Culhane from nearby Broken Arrow, Oklahoma out of Metro Christian Academy and the Tulsa Soccer Club; midfielder Jose Parada from Houston, Texas out of Bellaire High School where he tallied 41 goals and 14 assists; defender Daniel Dittus from Tulsa out of Jenks High School and the Tulsa Soccer Club; forward Kilian Poeschk who hails from Berlin, Germany but played high school soccer at Plano West High School in Texas; and midfielder Brian Wurst from Kansas City, Missouri out of Park Hill South High School who was a multi-year member of the Missouri State ODP team.
University of Virginia -- Virginia adds a three member recruiting class that will likely be among the best in the country when it is all said and done. Since almost everyone returns from the 2005 squad that was 12-5-3 overall, coach George Gelnovatch's new recruits are icing on what is already a very talented cake. Highly touted midfielder Jonathan Villanueva out of South Grand Prairie School in Dallas is a two-time NSCAA All-American. Gelnovatch stated, "It's been a while since we've had someone with Jonathan's playmaking ability. Forward Matthew Mitchell out of the Noble and Greenough School is a two-time NSCAA High School All-American. Forward Chase Neinken out of the Walker School in Marietta was named the Georgia High School Player of the Year in both 2004 and 2005. Walker was also an NSCAA High School All-American in 2005. All three of the Virginia recruits have the ingredients, with a little seasoning, to add significantly to the Cavalier attack. This class definitely keeps Virginia in the hunt for the ACC title and a shot at the national championship.
UCLA -- The Bruins have a ten member dream class that includes six players who are All-America team selections and five players with U.S. youth national team experience. Jorge Salcedo has some mighty big shoes to fill due to graduation and the decision of a defenders Marvell Wynne and Patrick Ianni to depart early for the professional ranks. However, this class goes a long way toward re-stocking the talent pool in Westwood.
Key recruits include: midfielder Kyle Nakazawa who is a starter on the U-17 national team, a Parade All-American, and a three time NSCAA Youth All-American; defender Patrick Rickards from Sacramento, California out of Jesuit High School who is an NSCAA Youth All-American; midfielder Michael Stephens from Naperville, Illinois out of Woodbridge High School who is a 2005 NSCAA Youth All-American selection and a 2004 Parade All-American; midfielder Chance Myers from Thousand Oaks, California who is an NSCAA Youth All-American selection; defender Ryan White from Eugene, Oregon who was a member of the U.S. U-16 National Team and a 2005 NSCAA Youth All-American; midfielder James Jaramillo from Orem, Utah out of Mountain View High School where he was named a 2005 NSCAA Youth All-American; midfielder Andrew Sinderhoff from Mission Viejo, California out of Santa Margarita High School; midfielder Danny Suits from Los Alamitos, California out of Los Alamitos High School; goalkeeper Trevor Hunter from Chino Hills, California out of Ayala High School; and forward Robert Georgiefski from Cedar Park, Texas out of Leander High School and the Pateadores soccer club.
Wake Forest University -- With everyone in the 2005 starting lineup but senior forward Justin Moose slated to return, Jay Vidovich has much to be excited about going into the 2006 campaign. Add to that the fact that Vidovich and assistant Bobby Muuss again attracted a stellar group of recruits to Winston-Salem. The 2006 eight member class includes three NSCAA All-Americans and two state Players of the Year. The All-Americans are: forward Cody Arnoux from Wilmington, N.C. who was the North Carolina Player of the Year out of New Hanover High School; goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald from Baltimore, Maryland out of Loyola Blakefield High School who was the Maryland Player of the Year; and forward Zachary Schilawski from Cary, North Carolina out of Cary High School who twice participated in the adidas/ESP Program. Other members include midfielder Austin da Luz from Winston-Salem who played for St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Austin, Texas and was a member of the Region III ODP team; forward Erk Hummel from Rancho Santa Fe, California out of Sage Hill High School who was a member of the Region IV ODP team; midfielder Mbizo Mzamane from Philadelphia, Pa. out of Germantown Friends School who may be the best attacking player in the class; defender David Murphy from Grapevine, Texas out of Carroll Senior and the Dallas Texans club team; and midfielder Dylan Sansone from Spring, Texas out of state champion Klein High School and the Houston Texans club team.
UNC-Wilmington -- The Seahawks lose six starters from the 2005 team that advanced to the semi-finals of the CAA Tourney for the first time in the history of the program. The graduation of forward Sam Ledger, who led the Seahawks in scoring for three years, is among the key losses that coach Aidan Heaney must contend with. During his five year tenure to date in Wilmington, Heaney has continually improved the competitiveness of the UNC-W program. An increasingly interesting side to watch, the Seahawks averaged 2.05 goals per game in 2005 which placed them in the top twenty programs in the nation in goals per game. The state of North Carolina has more than the average number of collegiate teams with top flight soccer programs so recruiting is an up-hill battle for Heaney. All things considered, Heaney has done an excellent job of attracting talented players to picturesque Wilmington. he 2006 recruiting class includes defender Jonathan Kearns, midfielders Anthony Allen and Pedro Pereira, and forward Devan Carroll. Allen, Carroll, and Kearns are all local products from Jacksonville, North Carolina who guided White Oak High School to a pair of State 3A Championships. All three have multiple years of Region III ODP experience and were All-State selections. Pereira is a member of the South Texas ODP team and is a member of the Region III ODP squad and an ESP camp participant.
University of Wisconsin -- The Badgers pretty much played everyone tough last year but finished with an 8-11-0 overall mark and a 2-4-0 record in Big Ten play. With the entire starting lineup from 2005 eligible to return, the 2006 season could be a breakthrough season for Jeff Rohrman's squad. In other words, don't expect this group of Badgers to back down from anyone in 2006. Rohrman has announced the signing of a seven member 2006 recruiting class that he hopes will add the depth needed to give the Badgers the additional edge they need to come out on top in the close contests. Rohrman stated, "I think this class will make us deeper and make us stronger." He added, "Obviously we did not lose much last year and what this will allow us to do is provide a little bit of internal competition within the team." The class includes forwards Matt Arcangeli from Kalamazoo, Michigan, Brian Bultman from Tucson, Arizona, and Brandon Miller from Vadnais Height, Minnesota who led the state of Minnesota in scoring his junior and senior years; midfielders Pablo Delgado from Madrid, Spain and Jon Rzepka from Kentwood, Michigan; defender Taylor Waspi from Deer Park, Illinois out of the Chicago Magic soccer club who could be the impact player of the class; and All-American goalkeeper Ryan Vint from Plymouth, Minnesota who was named the Minnesota adidas player of the year.
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay -- Coach Tom Poitras has signed a five member recruiting class that will join 18 letterwinners slated to return from the young 2005 team that had as many as six freshmen in the starting lineup. With senior forward Joshua Okoampa (10g, 2a) back to spearhead the attack in 2006, the Phoenix should be stronger in 2006 than in 2005 when they were 9-10-0 overall with a 3-6-0 mark in Horizon League play.
Poitras' new recruits include Chris Date from Elk Grove, Illinois out of Conant High School and the Sockers FC Chicago club program, Dan Baker from Eau Claire, Wisconsin out of North High School and the Eau Claire United club team, forward llya Ksenidi from West Allis, Wisconsin out of Nathan Hale High School, midfielder Rene Mendez from West Dundee, Illinois and the Chicago Fire Juniors club team, and defender Ryan Shandley from New Berlin, Wisconsin out of Eisenhower High School and the Brookfield United club team. Poitras stated, "We are extremely pleased with our 2006 recruiting class." He added, "We have addressed our needs well and feel we have five quality individuals joining our program. We look forward to these guys continuing the positive turnaround Green Bay soccer is having."