Class of 2012 Features Athleticism, Speed
March 30, 2012
CHICAGO - Coach Craig Blazer is hoping the recruiting class of 2012 will initiate the next great run in DePaul men's soccer.
The eight talented incoming freshmen are reminiscent of the senior class of 2009 when Steffen Vroom, Patrick Hopkins and current assistant coach Mark Plotkin helped lead the Blue Demons to the program's greatest four-year run.
That included an NCAA tournament appearance and successive seasons in the BIG EAST Conference Championship semifinals.
"I'm excited about our recruits---they have quickness, athleticism and good soccer sense," Blazer said. "A number of them will step in and contribute right away as freshmen.
"At the core, these are guys who are excited about getting DePaul back to its winning ways. They want to be at DePaul, just like Vroom, Hopkins and Plotkin all wanted to come to DePaul."
Three dangerous attacking players will enhance DePaul's aggressive high-press system.
Forward Drew Dempsey had 51 goals and 30 assists in his three-year career at Liberty High School in Kansas City. He was All-State second team as a senior after notching 15 goals and eight assists.
Dempsey teamed up with fellow Blue Demon recruit Joe Brinckwirth on the St. Louis-based Lou Fusz club soccer team. With Brinckwirth controlling the midfield, Lou Fusz won three state championships and was a regional finalist in 2011.
At Parkway North High School in St. Louis, Brinckwirth had 16 career goals and 38 career assists. He was a first-team, all-conference selection as a junior and senior.
Michael Kozielek was a standout forward at South Elgin High School who was named to the Daily Herald All-Area Team in 2010. He helped lead the Chicago Fire Academy club team to the finals of the Illinois State Cup in 2011 and to the US Club Cup semifinals in 2010.
"After playing together in club soccer, Brinckwirth and Dempsey came to DePaul at the same time with the intent of being successful together and teaming up to restore our winning tradition," Blazer said. "Their ability to press and to combine matches up well with our high-pressing game. They are very quick, athletic players who will enhance our attack and the way we want to defend.
"Kozielek is a left-sided player who stood out in our camp. Actually, five of the eight recruits we brought in were identified as Division I prospects at our soccer camp."
Brian Hindle from Fremd High School will strengthen the midfield after scoring 10 goals and handing out 19 assists as a senior while leading the Vikings to third in the state. He was named to the Daily Herald All-Area Team and also chosen all-sectional.
"Hindle was an important part of a Fremd team that almost won the state title last fall," Blazer said. "He has all the intangibles of a successful player---a hard-nosed midfielder who can tackle, get to the ball and distribute."
The Blue Demon back line will be bolstered by an emerging "South Kent Connection."
After current DePaul freshman soccer players Anthony Hunter and Curtis Weir made immediate impacts last season, another pair of recruits from the South Kent prep school in Connecticut could duplicate that feat.
Ben Lussier and the Bermuda-born Jalen Harvey helped lead South Kent to its first undefeated season, and both were named to the ESPN Rise All-New England Team. After taking South Kent to its fourth-straight Class B Playoffs title, both were selected for the NEPSSA Senior All-Star Team.
Joining them in the back line is 6-foot, 5-inch Alex Wallace who led Algonquin High School in Northborough, Mass. to a pair of state titles. In Wallace's senior year, Algonquin was ranked No. 7 in the country.
Wallace was born in Huddersfield, England and moved to the USA with his family in 2001. He was named a Central Massachusetts All-Star in 2011 and currently plays on the Premiere Soccer Bulldogs club team that is ranked No. 12 in the nation.
"Jalen is a left-sided defender who is very athletic and works well with Ben," Blazer said. "Ben is a capable center back, and Alex can be used as a center back or holding midfielder."
Rounding out the class of 2012 is goalkeeper Jack Rubin who played two seasons at Stevenson High School before having an impressive 2010-11 season with the U.S. Developmental Academy Team. In 2011, he received ESPNHS All-State recognition and was rated one of the top three goalkeepers in the state.
"In Jack Rubin, we are pleased to be bringing in another goalkeeping option," Blazer said. "He is determined to be successful and is a great student of the game.
"We're bringing in a balanced group of athletes with attackers, midfielders, defenders and a goalkeeper that will help fill in some missing pieces.
"I want to applaud our coaching staff (Plotkin, assistant coach Craig Reynolds) for all the time and energy they put in selecting all of these quality student-athletes. These incoming recruits are going to become great ambassadors for our program, on and off the field."