PHILADELPHIA--The James C. Gentle Head Coach of Men’s Soccer, Rudy Fuller, has announced six student-athletes that will join the Penn men’s soccer team for the 2009 season.
"I am very pleased with this class,” said Fuller. “We graduated a large, talented group this past spring, and we are confident that these six young men will step in will allow us to build on our program's recent success.”
The class has four local players while two more hail from further afield in sunny Florida and California.
“My assistant, Rob Irvine, worked tirelessly in identifying these young men and did an outstanding job,"said Fuller. "I believe all six will fit in very nicely with our returning group.They are all very accomplished student-athletes and I think they will be a tremendous addition to the Penn community.”
The Class of 2013 has every part of the field covered with three midfield/forwards, a midfielder, a defense/midfielder, and a goalkeeper.
The newcomers will join a Quaker team that graduated 12 integral team members, but returns two starters along with 12 other student-athletes.
“Collectively, this group has a lot of passion for Penn Soccer,” commented Fuller. “I know each of them is eager to step on to Rhodes Field and play in front of our fans for the first time. We are all looking forward to getting started this fall!”
A brief breakdown of each player along with comments from Coach Fuller is provided below in alphabetical order:
Downingtown, Pa. (Downingtown West)
High School: Six years of ODP participation ... Traveled for team competition in Europe (2006) ... Played for FC Delco ... Three-time Region I champion ... Two-time national bronze medalist ... 2006 national finalist ... At Downingtown: AAA State and District I champion as a senior ... Named All-Ches Mont, Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily Local first team all-area ... Three-time Ches Mont champion ... Two-time second-team All-Ches Mont ... Named second-team all-area as a junior ... State finalist as a junior ... Four-year varsity starter ... National Honor Society and German Club member ... Seniors for Seniors participant.
Personal: Son of Virginia Niebuhr VMD C’78 V’84 and Sam Cantrell ... Has one brother, Niko ... Third generation Penn student: mother Virginia played field hockey, lacrosse and squash for Penn, grandfather, Dr. Herman Niebuhr, Jr. GR’55 attended Penn ... Will enroll in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Why Penn? “At Penn I anticipate a great learning experience in the classroom coupled with a great playing experience on the field.”
Fuller on Cantrell
“Travis doesn't have to travel far to join us at Penn. He played for the local FC Delco Academy and was an integral part of their attack. He is an attacking player who can play wide in the midfield or up top as a forward. He has very good feet and deceptive pace. He reads the game well and combines nicely with the players around him. We have followed his progress for quite some time and were always impressed with his ability to create off the pass or the dribble. He will have an opportunity to make an immediate impact on the field for us. I think he has a bright future and I look forward to his continued development in our program.”
Hershey, Pa. (Hershey)
High School: Played on PA Classics club team, captain 2006-08 ... Two-time Keystone League first team all-star and Patriot News Big 11 ... Helped Hershey to District 3AA championship as a junior, runner-up as a sophomore ... Had 34 goals and 64 assists in career ... Named 2006 YPT Camp most outstanding player ... National Honor Society member ... TOPSoccer volunteer ... Harrisburg Boys and Girls Club volunteer.
Personal: Son of Page and Mark Kozak ... Has one sister, Annie, and one brother, David ... Will enroll in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Why Penn? “Penn will challenge me in all facets of life and ultimately prepare me for my future after college.”
Fuller on Kozak
“We identified Mike very early in the process and think he flew under the radar for most programs. He comes to us from the PA Classics Academy in Lancaster. He is a very technical attacking player who is good at finding dangerous spots on the field. He is an excellent passer of the ball and enjoys setting others up for scoring chances. At the same time, he also has the ability to score goals from the midfield or forward positions on his own. He is a multi-dimensional player and we are still unsure of what position on the field best fits his abilities, but we look forward to getting him into full-time training and seeing how he can help our team. Above all else, we are pleased to add another quality soccer player to our program.”
Litchfield, Conn. (Hotchkiss/Taft)
High School: Connecticut ODP team member ... Played for both West Hartford Premier and Connecticut Wolves ... Connecticut Wolves MVP (Premier Division 1) ... At Hotchkiss: 2008 New England champion ... 2008 All-Founders League ... 2008 season stats: 8 g, 11 a ... Coca-Cola New England MVP ... Also participated on junior varsity ice hockey team ... At Taft: Varsity soccer grades 10-12, captain as a senior ... Invited to 2007 Senior Bowl ... All-state large school selection, 2006-07 ... 2007 NEPSSA Large School First Team All-Star ... 2007 WNEPSSA Large School All-Star First Team ... 2007 Livingston Carroll Soccer Award recipient ... President’s Award for Academic Excellence ... Magna Cum Laude ... Dean’s List Award ... Effort’s List Award ... French Award for Academic Excellence ... Baton Winner (Citizenship Award).
Personal: Son of Florence deDampierre Mathis and Sean Mathis WG ’70 ... Has dual citizenship in U.S. and France ... Has two sisters, Jessie and Valentina, and three brothers, George, Aymar and Nick ... Brother Nick played football at Ole Miss ... Cousin Steve Read played soccer at Johns Hopkins ... Cousin Christian Read played hockey at Princeton and professionally in Germany ... Will enroll in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Why Penn? “I chose Penn to play for a competitive and distinguished soccer program and to receive an outstanding education.”
Fuller on Mathis
“Cam is a dynamic attacking player with a big upside. We first saw Cam at our Elite 300 camp last summer and were immediately impressed with his personality and creativity on the field. He is very passionate about the game and unafraid to take chances in the attacking half. He is comfortable with the ball at his feet and likes to create opportunities for himself and others off the dribble. As his decision-making ability improves in the attack, and he matures as a player defensively, I think he could become a standout player for our program in the years ahead. We are eager to see how quickly he is able to assimilate himself into our program. If all goes well, we anticipate that he will be able to contribute to our team's success this fall.”
Colts Neck, N.J. (Lawrenceville School)
High School: Member of New Jersey ODP state team, 2004-08 ... Super-Y ODP National Pool, 2004-08 ... Captained PDA Cruyff ... 2008 Disney Showcase cwhhampion ... 2007 Region I league champion and New Jersey state cup champion ... Allowed just five goals during 2008 season ... At Lawrenceville: NJISSA finalist senior season ... 2007 All-Mid-Atlantic Prep League first team.
Personal: Son of Susan and Bill Smith ... Has one sister, Alex ... Will enroll in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Why Penn? “I chose Penn because it had the perfect combination of challenging academics and demanding soccer program”
Fuller on Smith
“Garon joins our program from the PDA Academy in New Jersey. He is an athletic, technically sound goalkeeper who has experienced a great deal of success at the club and ODP level. Goalkeeping was a priority for us in the 2009 class and we felt Garon was one of the best we saw during the course of the year. He is a good shot stopper and commands his box well. He is mature, driven, and very focused. We believe he will be a great addition to our squad. We expect that Garon and rising junior Ben Berg will both push each other during this fall season and our team will reap the rewards from that experience.”
Tampa, Fla. (Tampa Preparatory)
High School: Played for Clearwater Chargers club team ... Member of Florida ODP state team ... U.S. National Team pool, 2008-09 ... Attended U.S. U-18 National Team camp ... Hillsborough County and West Coast Florida Senior All-Star teams ... U.S. Academy League Southeast Region starter ... Scored 42 goals and 58 assists in four years at Tampa Prep ... Two-time Class 2A state champion (2007, 2008) ... Class 2A regional finalist, 2009 ... Class 2A state final four participant, 2006 ... Student Council and National Honor Society member ... Received UF Award of Academic Excellence ... FHSAA Student-Athlete Award nominee.
Personal: Son of Ruth Gettes and Howard Tuch ... Has one brother, Josh ... Will enroll in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Why Penn? “I chose Penn because I know it is the best environment to continue my athletic and academic aspirations. With a great coaching staff and team as well as a prestigious school, located in the heart of a thriving city, I know Penn will help me most in the future.”
Fuller on Tuch
“Alex is a dynamic midfield player who keeps getting better and better. He comes to us from the Clearwater Academy in Florida and was coached by a Penn Soccer alum, Peter Manino. Like Cam Mathis, we identified Alex at our Elite 300 camp last summer. Even with him carrying an injury at the time, we could tell Alex had something a little different than the other players. He is very alert in the run of play and reads the game extremely well. His quickness and agility are outstanding and he is always looking to goal. He was invited in with the U-18 National Team this past winter for the first time and I think he has only gotten better since then. We are very excited to welcome him into the Penn Soccer family and look forward to helping him continue to develop in the years ahead.”
Newport Beach, Calif. (Corona del Mar)
High School: US Soccer Development Academy participant ... Played for Pateadores Soccer Club ... Vied for US Academy West Division title, losing to eventual national finalist LAFC in final showcase ... Won 2007 Pateadores Cup and Bayern Cup ... 2008 Surf Cup finalist ... As a sophomore at Corona del Mar HS: starting center midfielder ... Helped lead team to CIF Southern Section quarterfinals ... Finished in Cal South National Cup quarterfinals ... Captained Necaxa Sting, leading team to league cup quarterfinals ... Also played basketball and lettered in track ... Captained freshman basketball team, won league championship ... Valedictorian ... Received Scholar-Athlete Scholarship ... National Merit Commended Student ... Mathematics Department Outstanding Student .. CSF Gold Bearer ... Academic Lamp with Highest Honors ... National Honor Society member ... National AP Scholar ... Newport Beach Youth City Council member ... Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce Top 15 Scholar ... Human Relations Council ... American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) Region 57 board member.
Personal: Son of Colleen and David Yasukochi ... Father played basketball at Claremont McKenna College (1978-81) ... Has one sister, Cayla, and one brother, Jayson ... Will enroll in Wharton.
Why Penn? “I chose Penn because I’ve always wanted to go to Wharton and play at the highest possible level of college soccer.”
Fuller on Yasukochi
“Bryan is another player that we think other programs may have missed along the way. He has been a stalwart in the back and a quiet leader for a very good Pateadores Academy team in California, and I think he is going to become the same for our team at Penn. He is a quick, agile, intelligent defender who is comfortable playing wide or centrally. He is so steady defensively and equally adept at coming forward out of the back. We have had some great success with Pateadores kids in the past and fully expect that Bryan will continue that tradition over the next four years. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Bryan in the starting line-up at some point this fall.”