RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University Head Men's Soccer Coach Dave Giffard has announced his first recruiting class since joining the Rams in January. Giffard and his staff will welcome 15 newcomers to the field for the 2010 season.
The class is highlighted by a crop of talented international standouts including Romena Bowie (Saint Mary, Jamaica), Jose Carlos Castillo (Guatemala City, Guatemala) and Jason Johnson (Saint Anne, Jamaica). Hailing from Manchester High School in Jamaica, Bowie and Johnson were each selected to the Jamaican Senior National Team Camp, while also leading their squad to a runner-up finish in 2010 DaCosta Cup competition. Meanwhile, Castillo, who joined the Guatemala Senior National Team Camp in 2009, boasts 45 caps for the Guatemala Youth National Teams.
Along with international talent, VCU will welcome a pair of Division I transfers, three Division II standouts and a host of local products.
"I'm very excited about our 2010 recruiting class," Giffard said. "To be able to put together a class like this, with as much talent and depth as we have after arriving in January, is exciting. It's a testament to the hard work of our staff and everyone involved with recruiting student-athletes here at VCU. These players, as well as a few others we hope to add in the next few weeks, will be a great first class for us as we begin the rebuilding of our program. The mix of new players and returners should make for an exciting group this fall."
2010 VCU MEN'S SOCCER RECRUITING CLASS
ROMENA BOWIE (MF, Saint Mary, Jamaica)
Selected to the Jamaican Senior National Team Camp in January 2010 after leading Manchester High School to runner-up finish in the DaCosta Cup… Current member of the Jamaican Olympic Team Pool… Named to the Jamaican All-Schools Team
Coach Giffard on Romena:
"Romena is a defensive midfielder who joins us from Jamaica. He is strong and athletic with very good feet. He is a ball winner but also a good distributor in the back of the midfield. I will expect him to have an immediate impact with our team."
JOSE CARLOS CASTILLO (MF, Guatemala City, Guatemala)
Member of the Guatemala Youth National Team as a U-17, U-20 and U-21… Joined the Guatemala Senior National Team Camp for two months in 2009… Boasts 45 caps for the Guatemala Youth National Teams
Coach Giffard on Jose:
"Jose is a player who has represented Guatemala at every age group. He's a very talented player who can play anywhere in the center of the midfield. He's a very, very good passer, has clean feet and makes the game simple. He's intelligent and moves well off the ball. I expect Jose to make an impression in his first year with us."
JACOB DOYLE (F, Stafford, Va.)
First Team All-State performer… Member of the Super Y National Team from 2006-2008… Member of the Richmond Kickers Academy where he was coached by Jesse Meyers… Selected to the Market Training Center for South Atlantic Region… USSF Development Academy East Division Atlantic Conference camp selection… Mountain View High School's all-time leading scorer
Coach Giffard on Jacob:
"Jacob is a shifty, wide, attacking player, which allowed him to score a lot of goals in high school. We're excited about adding him to the mix because he's somebody who can give our group a spark. I'm looking forward to seeing what Jacob does here at VCU."
CHASE FARNSWORTH (F, Richmond, Va.)
Member of the U-18 Richmond Strikers Development Academy Team under former VCU standout Erwan LeCrom… First Team All-District and First Team All-Central Region
Coach Giffard on Chase:
"Chase is another local product of the Richmond Strikers. He's a guy who has the ability to play a lot of places on the field. He is a good athlete, a big strong left-footed kid who can play up top and also out wide. He has a lot of the personal characteristics that we look for and he's somebody who will thrive in our environment."
JASON JOHNSON (F, Saint Anne, Jamaica)
Member of the Jamaican Olympic Team Pool… Runner-up in Jamaica's DaCosta Cup… Participated in the Jamaican Senior National Camp, where he earned a spot on the Jamaican squad… Made his international debut for Jamaica on Feb. 10, 2010 after coming on as a sub in the second half against Argentina ... Scored 20 goals for Manchester High School, which was the second highest mark in DaCosta Cup competition
Coach Giffard on Jason:
"Jason is one of the top strikers that I've seen come out of high school. He's a big, strong, powerful, athletic forward who has the ability to score goals. He is fast enough to stretch the defense and strong enough to battle with anybody. I expect Jason to have a significant impact on our team immediately."
ASSANE KEITA (D, Dakar, Senegal)
Played prep ball at Northfield Mount Hermon in Massachusetts under coaches Jim Burstein and Charlie Malcolm
Coach Giffard on Assane:
"Assane is a big, athletic, strong, technical center back who I think has the potential to be one of the top center backs in our league. He has the potential to come in and contribute for us immediately."
PETER LEE (MF/D, Midlothian, Va.)
Local product and member of the U-18 Richmond Strikers Academy, where he played for former VCU standout Erwan LeCrom… First Team All-Dominion District at Midlothian High School… 2008 Super Y National Camp participant… Named Top Drawer Soccer Player to Watch on Jan. 5, 2009
Coach Giffard on Peter:
"Peter is a freshman from Richmond. He joined us this winter and had a very strong spring season. He got ahead of the curve with some of the other new players coming in. He's a guy who can play on the left side as a left midfielder or left back and could compete for a starting role with us this fall."
SVEN MEYER (D, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Transferred from NCAA Division II power Tusculum College… Daktronics NCAA Division II All-American and All-Region First Team… All-South Atlantic Conference First Team
Coach Giffard on Sven:
"Sven is a left back who has played every minute of every game and was an All-American under [VCU Assistant Coach Brett Teach] at Tusculum. He's a good left side player and has the ability to get forward. He will add experience to our back line and gives us a different dimension coming out of the back."
YORAM MWILA (F, Lusaka, Zambia)
Transferred from 2009 NCAA Division I runner-up University of Akron… Captain of the U-17 Zambian national team and was also a member of the U-20 squad… Appeared in 20 matches for the Zips in 2009, contributing three goals and two assists
Coach Giffard on Yoram:
"Yoram is a very intelligent forward who has great international experience. He can play with his back to goal; he moves well off the ball. He's a leader and a winner, and has spent the last year and a half playing for one of the top programs in the country."
JOSH PANTAZELOS (GK, Birmingham, Ala.)
Transferred from 2009 NCAA Division I runner-up University of Akron… Member of the Region III ODP squad in 2006, which traveled to Argentina… Member of the Mississippi Brilla, where he led the PDL in shutouts, goals against, goals against average and captured a Southeast Conference title in 2009
Coach Giffard on Josh:
"Josh is a hard working shot stopper who has the ability to make plays to keep his team in the game. He has played the last two and a half years at one of the top programs in the country and I've been able to see him train everyday. We're excited to add Josh to our group because he gives us another goalkeeper who is capable of competing for the starting role."
LUCAS PAULINI (MF, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Transferred from NCAA Division II power Tusculum College… Three-time NSCAA All-Region performer… Three-time Daktronics NCAA Division II All-Region honoree… 2007 South Atlantic Conference Freshman of the Year… All-South Atlantic Conference First Team performer… Member of the Mississippi Brilla in the PDL
Coach Giffard on Lucas:
"Lucas is a very strong central midfielder who has played for [VCU Assistant Coach Brett Teach] for the last three years. I watched him play last summer and was very impressed. He can play defensive midfield, in between midfield as well as attacking midfield. Lucas has been one of the better players in Division II the last several years and will bring experience to this year's team."
NICK RICH (F/D, Kent, England)
Transferred from NCAA Division II power Tusculum College… 2008 South Atlantic Conference Freshman of the Year… Played for Chelsea's Academy team from U-7 to U-14… Member of the English Schools Football Association National Team… Played for the Mississippi Brilla in the PDL
Coach Giffard on Nick:
"Nick is a quick, dynamic winger who brings the ability to play out wide or as a forward. He's an English player who played for Chelsea until age 14. Nick also played for [VCU Assistant Coach Brett Teach] at Tusculum and will have two years of eligibility with us."
CHIRAG SHAH (D, Morrisville, N.C.)
Three-year letterwinner and captain at Enloe High School in Raleigh, N.C… Received all-conference honors as a defender… Played for CASL Elite under Head Coach Bruce Murray
Coach Giffard on Chriag:
"Chirag is good sized, athletic outside back. He has the potential to play right back for us. Everywhere Chirag has been he has continued to develop and has raised his game and we're looking forward to seeing him develop with us over the next few years."
NATHAN SHIFFMAN (MF, Midlothian, Va.)
Captain of the Richmond Strikers Development Academy Team under former VCU standout Erwan LeCrom… Dominion District Player of the Year and First Team All-State honoree… Member of the 2006 Region I ODP squad, which competed in France… USSF Development Academy East Division Atlantic Conference camp selection… USSF Development Academy Market Training Center selection… Super Y National Camp selection… Top Drawer Soccer Player to Watch
Coach Giffard on Nathan:
"Nathan is another local player from the Richmond Strikers. He has very good feet with great potential. He'll play somewhere in the center midfield. Technically as a passer he will be a welcomed addition to our group and will be able to push the guys in midfield."
BARRON WATSON, JR. (MF, Mandeville, Jamaica)
Team captain of Manchester High School, which finished runner-up in DaCosta Cup competition… Member of Jamaica U-15 National Team Pool and Jamaica All-Schools Team… Was the leading scorer for Mile Gully FC… Coached by his father Barron Watson, Jamaican National Staff Coach
Coach Giffard on Barron:
"BJ was the captain of Manchester High School in Jamaica. He's a very intelligent player who can play wide in the midfield and as an attacking midfielder. He's quick and dynamic, and has good feet. He's a great kid that brings not only talent, but an element of leadership to the group."