PHILADELPHIA--The James C. Gentle Head Coach of Men’s Soccer, Rudy Fuller, has announced that six student-athletes have been admitted to Penn and will join the men’s soccer team beginning with the 2007 season. The Class of 2011 includes defender Zach Barnett (Ellicott City, Md.), goalkeeper Ben Berg (Whitefish Bay, Wis.), midfielders Jason Gorskie (Marlboro, N.J.) and Aaron Ross (Woodcliff Lake, N.J.), midfield/forward Loukas Tasigianis (Ridgefield, N.J.) and forward Fernando Duran (Annapolis, Md.).
“We are very excited about this class,” said Fuller. “These six young men will be an outstanding addition to our talented core of returning players. My assistant coaches Rob Irvine and Mike O’Connor, as well as my former assistant Bob Butehorn, did a fantastic job in identifying, evaluating and finalizing this group.”
Penn graduatedfour outstanding seniors following the 2006 season but return with a three-man senior class and a stacked junior class. But as always, recruiting was key.
“This was a very important recruiting cycle for us, and I think this group gives us another great foundation to build on for continued success in the future,” said Fuller. “These student-athletes are accustomed to winning and are well aware of the hard work, commitment and sacrifices necessary to achieve that level of success. They are eager to contribute in whatever way they can to continue moving our program forward and helping us build on the proud tradition of Penn Soccer.”
With five on board, Fuller could add more: “We will be announcing a few more additions to this class later this spring, and I feel that this year’s class as a whole will arguably be the best we’ve assembled in my 10 years at Penn.”
A brief breakdown of each player along with comments from Coach Fuller is provided below in alphabetical order:
Freshman 5-10 160 lbs.
Ellicott City, Md.
High School: Played for Baltimore Bays 89 ... 2004 Won the Maryland State Cup ... Played one year with Maryland ODP ... Played with Region I team (2006) ... 2005 Super Y National Team ... Career stats at Mount Hebron: 2 goals, 51 assists ... Two-year captain ... Two-time first team all-county and all-state ... First team all-metro as a senior, second team as a junior ... Named Washington Post Howard County Player of the Year senior year ... All-State Game starter ... Second team all-county as a sophomore ... Started every game as a freshman recording 13 assists ... Won the 2006 Maryland state championship with Mount Hebron ...Washington Post named Mount Hebron the state's top team... Also captained the basketball team ... National Honor Society member.
Personal: Born July 24, 1989 in Howard County, Md. ... Son of Judy and Michael Barnett ... Brother, Kyle, currently plays football at Gettysburg ... Will enroll in the College of Arts and Sciences intending to major in economics.
Why Penn? “I chose Penn because of the high level of competition on and off the field.”
Fuller on Barnett “We identified Zach very early in the process and followed his development closely over the past year, watching him with the Region I ODP team and his Baltimore Bays club team. He has a tremendous upside, and we think his best days are ahead of him. He is a tenacious defender with exceptional athletic ability. His leadership and character stood out to us during the recruiting process, and I think he’ll be an outstanding addition to our program on and off the field.”
Freshman 6-4 210 lbs.
Whitefish Bay, Wis.
High School: Played two years with the 1988 Wisconsin state team ... Eight-year member (captain for two) of FC Milwaukee ... Penn Elite 300 Academy all-star ... Captained his team to the North Shore Conference championship as a senior ... Named to the all-conference first team ... Honorable mention all-state selection and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel all-area honorable mention ... Won the Scholar Athlete and Duke Pride awards ... Selected as an all-conference honorable mention selection as a junior ... His team won the conference title three years and was the Wisconsin Division II state runners-up ... National Honor Society member ... Wisconsin Boys State participant.
Personal: Born Oct. 6, 1988 in Milwaukee, Wis. ... Son of Deborah and William Berg ... Sister, Emily, rowed at Middlebury College from 2002-05 ... Father played men’s basketball at Boston University (1966-67) ... Will enroll in the College of Arts and Sciences intending to major in biology.
Why Penn? “My goal has always been to play Division I soccer at a top academic university in a big city. The University of Pennsylvania fits those criteria.”
Fuller on Berg “We identified Ben at our Elite 300 Soccer Academy last summer and were immediately impressed with him as a player, and most importantly, as a person. His physical size and limitless potential remind me quite a bit of former goalkeeper Matt Haefner, who was also identified through our camp and went on to become Ivy League Player of the Year and was drafted by the Columbus Crew. While there is much work to be done, I look forward to watching Ben develop and seeing what he can achieve between the pipes in the years ahead.”
Freshman 6-2 195 lbs.
High School: Played with Bethesda United club team ... With Bethesda United: two-time Region I champion (2004, 2006) ... Two-time Maryland State Cup champion (2004, 2006) ... 2005 Region I Tournament semifinalist ... 2005 Region I Premier League champion ... Four-year starter with Maryland State ODP team ... 2005 Region I champion with ODP team ... Went an amazing 67 games undefeated at DeMatha ... All-Metro honorable mention ... As team captain in 2006: was selected to All-WCAC first team and won the WCAC championship while ranked No. 1 nationally ... In 2005, DeMatha won the WCAC championship ... First-team all-county selection as a freshman ... Member of principal’s honor roll ... Participated in the Big Brothers Club program ... Played at DeMatha with Penn senior Keith Vereb.
Personal: Born Feb. 8, 1989 in Washington, D.C. ... Son of Donna and Fernando Duran ... Will enroll in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Why Penn? “I chose Penn because of its great academics, athletics and sense of community. I also love Philly.”
Fuller on Duran “Fernando stood out to us last summer at the Region I ODP Tournament with his Maryland squad. He was strong on the ball, very intelligent with his runs in the box and seemed to have a knack for getting in dangerous spots around the goal. Our returning group lacks a true target forward who can play with his back to goal and we think Fernando can fill that hole for our team.”
Freshman 6-3 165 lbs.
High School: Played for Ironbound Warriors (Newark, N.J.) club team ... With the Warriors: Two-time MVP ... 2005 U.S. Club National Cup champion ... 2004 New Jersey State Cup champion and Region I champion ... 2003 U.S. Club Region I champion ... 2003 Super Y League Metro Division finalist ... Four-year varsity player at Marlboro ... Scored 23 points (6g, 11a) senior year ... Team captain as a senior ... N.J. All-Shore first team and N.J. all-state second team as a senior ... Named to the All-Shore second team as a junior ... As a sophomore, NJSIAA High School Tournament finalist ... Also lettered in basketball ... All-American Scholar Award winner (2006, 2007).
Personal: Born Sept. 29, 1989 in New York, N.Y. ... Son of Arlene and Gene Gorskie ... Will enroll in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Why Penn? “I feel that Penn can challenge me both academically and athletically. I can balance the demands that a student-athlete faces and am genuinely excited by the prospect of being part of a prestigious university. My goal is to make the next four years the best four years in my pursuit of a fulfilling life.”
Fuller on Gorskie “Jason stood out to us right from the start, but has continued to get better and better each time we have seen him. He is a big, tall kid who has a silky touch and excellent passing ability. One of his biggest assets is his versatility, as he is comfortable in the central midfield or in the center of the back. It will be interesting to see where he fits in to our team next year and in the years ahead.”
Freshman 6-0 160 lbs.
Woodcliff Lake, N.J.
High School: Participated in the New Jersey ODP (2005-06) ... Played in Region I team tournament in Gradisca, Italy (2006) ... Scored 24 points (7g, 10a) as a senior ... Named to the All-Bergen County first team ... Two-time All-League BCSL Olympic first team selection ... Team was two-time BCSL Olympic League champion (2005, 2006) ... 2006 state sectional finalist ... Second-team All-League BCSL Olympic selection as a sophomore ... Dwight-Englewood Cum Laude Society and Eastwood Memorial Award recipient ... Member of the varsity debate team ... AP Scholar ... Commended National Merit Scholar ... Played with fellow freshman Loukas Tasigianis at Dwight-Englewood.
Personal: Born March 28, 1989 in Ridgewood, N.J. ... Son of Leslie and Bruce Ross ... Sister, Alyssa, was a cross country and track and field student athlete at Brandeis (2003-07) ... Will enroll in the College of Arts and Sciences intending to major in history and international relations.
Why Penn? “I am excited by the range of opportunities that I will have access to at Penn, both from the standpoint of receiving a world-class education in a diverse and exciting community and being able to pursue my passion for soccer at a highly competitive level.”
Fuller on Ross “Aaron is a soft-spoken kid who quietly gets his job done on the field without many people noticing. He is very fluid on the ball and exceptional at linking the back to the front with his passes going forward. Aaron and another incoming recruit, Loukas Tasigianis, played in the center midfield together for both their club and high school teams. Their familiarity with each other will hopefully be a bonus for us on the field.”
Freshman 5-10 160 lbs.
High School: Trained at the Juan Ramon Rocha Futbol Academy in Greece ... Traveled to Barcelona with Rocha Futbol Academy and played as a guest player against youth teams of Barcelona and Deportivo La Coruna ... Invited to play as a guest player in Guadalajara, Mexico and played against San Luis and Pumas with a select team from New Jersey ... Traveled to Greece as a guest player with Greek Americans select team from New York to Thessaloniki to play against youth teams of PAO, Hraklis, and Aris ... Selected in the Olympic Development Program of New Jersey every year and regional once ... Currently plays with Arsenal/World Class ... At Dwight-Englewood: Scored 72 goals and 50 assists (194 points) ... Selected to the 2007 All-New Jersey State first team ... Chosen for 2006 All-New Jersey second team ... Two-time first-team All-North Jersey, All-Bergen County and All-BCSL League ... Two-time MVP of North Jersey and the BCSL League ... Regional All-American ... Named one of the top 5 players of New Jersey ... MVP of North 1 New Jersey ... Two-time All-League BCSL Olympic first team selection ... Team was two-time BCSL Olympic League Champion (2005, 2006) ... 2006 state sectional finalist ... First-team All-League BCSL Olympic selection as a sophomore ... Earned a black belt in karate ... Valedictorian of Greek School ... Played with fellow freshman Aaron Ross at Dwight-Englewood.
Personal: Born June 18, 1989 in Englewood, N.J. ... Son of Eleni and George Tasigianis ... Will enroll in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Why Penn? “Not only will Penn help me form a basis for my future academics, but it will also help me socially and athletically.”
Fuller on Tasigianis “Loukas is a dynamic attacking player who could play anywhere in midfield or on the frontline. His technical skill is outstanding, and his vision and creativity in the attacking third always presents problems for his opponents. He is a high school and club teammate of fellow incoming Quaker recruit Aaron Ross, and both young men were integral to the success those teams experienced. We expect that success will continue at Penn.”