|Posted May 7, 2008|
Pack soccer adds four for 2008
The CSU-Pueblo men's soccer team announced their 2008 recruiting class Wednesday, which includes four players, one at each of position.
The ThunderWolves got letters of intent from two Arizona products, forward Erik Andersen and goalkeeper Jacob Blum, as well as Las Vegas, Nev. native, defender Michael Farbridge-Currie, and Oahu, Hawaii product, Ricky Itagaki.
Andersen, who had played JuCo ball at Phoenix College and his high school soccer at Moon Valley High School in Phoenix, was a big-time goal scorer at each level in which he has played. The team captain at Phoenix College, Andersen was a first-team all-Arizona selection at Moon Valley, tallying 56 goals and 21 assists.
"I'm excited to have another forward who will help our team be more dangerous in front of goal," Pack coach Roy Stanley said. "Erik has good size and strikes the ball well with both feet. He can also hold the ball well under pressure and reads the game extremely well. We struggled scoring goals last year, and I look forward to having Erik help us improve in that area."
Blum, a standout on the Sereno Soccer Club and at Sunrise Mountain High School in Peoria, Ariz., will come in with the shot of being a four-year starter in goal for the Pack. Blum will be battling for the starting keeper job after the team lost one of the best keepers in school history, Arturo Moranchel, to graduation in 2007.
"Jacob will give us depth in our goalkeeping position," Stanley said. "After losing Arturo to graduation, we feel that Jacob will come in and work hard at keeping our goalkeeping strong. Jacob possesses solid distribution skills, good instincts, and good athleticism. He has a great attitude and is team oriented. I enjoyed getting to know Jacob and look forward to seeing him grow on our team."
Farbridge-Currie, who excelled at Centennial High School in Las Vegas and on the Heat Football Club, as well, brings immediate size and physicality to the defender position. The Pack lost a trio of solid defender to graduation, which include Was Warmack, Mike Maksimowicz and Noah Leners, and Farbridge-Currie will get an immediate chance to contribute. At Centennial, Farbridge-Currie was selected as the Northwest Division Player of the Year, leading Centennial to the Nevada state quarterfinals.
"After losing three of our four starting defenders, Michael will be able to step in and challenge for playing time," Stanley said. "He defends well but can also distribute well and go forward into the attack. He is strong in the air and a hard working player."
Rounding out the Pack's recruits is a Hawaii product, Itagaki. Short in stature, only 5-foot-5 and 145 pounds, Itagaki gives the Pack tremendous speed at the midfield position, and the opportunity to use his low center of gravity to create matchup problems.
"Ricky will provide us some creativity and quickness in the midfield position," Stanley said. "He could see some playing time this year, but we will be losing 3 midfielders this year and Ricky will be ready to step in and help in the future."
The Pack's 2008 recruiting class will be regarded as an important one, as the ThunderWolves suffered a drop off in success 2007. The strengths of that team, though, the defenders and goalkeeping positions, are now question marks with the departure of graduating seniors at those positions. Stanley said he had his work cut out for him, and he feels that this class will help bridge the gap and make for a strong 2008.
"We needed to fill certain areas with this year's recruiting class, and I feel we have done this," Stanley said. "Although not a big recruiting class, this group is a quality group of young men who will make us stronger. Our spring nontraditional segment proved to be very helpful in getting us prepared for the fall. We had a disappointing 2007 in terms of results, and our 2008 team is highly motivated to turn things around."
The ThunderWolves have two preseason exhibitions in August before opening their season at home on Aug. 30 against Palm Beach Atlantic.