Men's Soccer Signs 10 to National Letter of Intent
CHICAGO - Reinforcements are on the way for a DePaul men's soccer program that has qualified for the BIG EAST Conference Championship tournament four years in a row.
Hoping to keep the team successful in Chicago and the BIG EAST, DePaul coach Craig Blazer has signed 10 recruits to a National Letter of Intent.
"This group coming in has a great opportunity to play in the BIG EAST," Blazer said. "The class of 2010 will help us re-focus and redefine our team identity.
"It's going to be defense---good individual and team defense---first and foremost."
Blazer will be on the lookout to establish a solid back four to support returning goalkeeper Joe Ferrari, who had a superb finish to his 2009 season.
"We graduated a lot of seniors, six who had been four-year starters," Blazer said. "Our recruiting class is composed of good players who can compete at this level and will do all they can to see the field."
The best example of the DePaul system working its magic is graduating senior Steffen Vroom, who now plays in Australia.
"I came in as a defender, Vroom said. "I went from an incoming freshman who wasn't recruited to First-Team, All-BIG EAST as a senior.
"I experienced so much growth at DePaul. They (coaches) do a great job of recognizing potential and helping you fulfill your promise.
Here's a rundown on the class of 2010.
Jared Blincow, Midfielder/Defender: Started for the Dallas Texans, one of the top club programs in the country. Blazer said: "He is a hard-nosed, intense player with the capability to fill spots in the midfield or on defense. He is aware of his opportunity after our large graduating class."
Ray DeLeon, Midfielder: This attacking midfielder was a teammate of Blincow's on the Dallas Texans. "Ray has a lot of good qualities that make him a quality option," Blazer said. "He is very athletic, covers a lot of ground and has good technique on the ball.
Zach Forbes, Defender: Talented all-around 6-foot, 4-inch athlete was a basketball star at Quincy High School and scored 38 points in a game last season. He is expected to compete for a starting position in the back line. "He is a beast and a BIG EAST kind of athlete," Blazer said.
Thiago Ganancio, Midfielder/Forward: Fundamentally sound player with a good idea how to attack from the midfield. "He has a lot of creativity, and a real passion for the game," Blazer said.
Art Garza, Midfield: Among the top high school players in Illinois at Naperville Central and a standout with the Chicago Fire Academy program. "Art is a technically sound player with the ability to score goals from the midfield position." Blazer said.
Kyle Gustafson, Defender: Outstanding leader and communicator who could help solidify the back line. "Kyle is an organizer who is very defensive-oriented and could help us replace a major group of graduating defensive players," Blazer said.
Mark Haas, Defender: Another basketball standout like Forbes with plenty of athleticism. "Mark is a great competitor, and you can't teach that," Blazer said. "He has a brashness that we can use on our team."
Joe Hart, Goalkeeper: Intelligence and discipline are the hallmarks of this goalie who starred with the Louisiana Fire Red program. "He has a great work ethic and is successful through good communication and shot-blocking," Blazer said. "We have greatly improved our goalkeeping situation with the addition of Joe Hart."
Michael Stankiewicz, Midfielder: Another prospect from the Chicago Fire Academy who also was a top player at Prospect High School. "Michael is a very technical player who makes good decisions," Blazer said. "We look forward to seeing how quickly he can adjust to the BIG EAST level of play."
Mauricio Velasco, Midfielder: Another talented prospect from the Lone Star State, Velasco was an impact player at Plano East High School and with the Solar Academy club team. "He is a very versatile player from a good club program who shows promise at midfielder"