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Feb. 14, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's soccer head coach Barry Gorman and his staff has announced the signing of eight recruits for the 2008 season. Joining the Nittany Lions is a talented and dynamic group composed of three midfielders, two defenders, two forwards, and one forward/midfielder. The class is primarily regionally based with six of the eight players hailing from Pennsylvania, New York, or Maryland.
"As a group, this recruiting class has all the ingredients to create a healthy competitive environment for starting roles within the squad and enable the 2008 Nittany Lions to become viable contenders for major honors," said Gorman, who is entering his 21st year at the helm of the Penn State program.
MacKenzie Arment, a native of Manheim, Pa., comes to Penn State after leading his Manheim Central H.S. team to the PIAA state finals in 2006 and the PIAA semi-finals in 2007. As a junior, he helped the Barons win a District III championship. His individual honors include All-State selections and Lancaster-Lebanon Section III Most Valuable Player accolades in 2006 and 2007.
"Kenzie is a talented outside midfielder who will add flair and speed to our attacking options," Gorman said. "He is the type of player that I expect to be challenging for a starting spot in 2008."
Matheus Braga, a forward/midfielder, took a circuitous route to Happy Valley but the junior eligible will finally make his long-awaited debut with the Nittany Lions in 2008. From Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he attended Colegio Militar de Fortaleza in Fortaleza, CE, winning a Militar championship there. Braga was selected to Rio de Janeiro's U-17 team in 2003, leading it to a fourth-place finish in the Brazilian Championship.
"Matheus Braga is an extremely talented ball player with an eye for goal. He has the capabilities to beat an opponent in a number of different ways. It has been a long process to finally get Matheus here, but the wait will be worth it when he displays his skills on Jeffrey Field," said Gorman.
Mark Fetrow brings size and strength to the Penn State defense, an element in demand after the graduation of long-time backline starters Geordie MacNeill and Stephen Reihner. A product of the same high school as Nittany Lion sophomore Drew Cost, a unanimous All-Big Ten Freshman Team honoree in 2007, Fetrow earned First Team All-Southeast Pennsylvania and First Team All-Ches-Mont League honors as a senior. Also in 2007, he led his club team, FC Delco, to USYSA Region I and EPYSA state championships.
"At 6 foot, 3 inches, Mark Fetrow is a commanding presence in the center of any defense. With key defenders graduating, we have openings in our backfield and I expect Mark to contend for one of those spots."
An outside midfielder from Pine Bush, N.Y., John Gallagher was named the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Player of the Year in 2006 while at Pine Brush H.S. The year prior, he was instrumental in the Bushmen's OCIAA Division I championship run. Gallagher also played on the Super Y National Select Team in 2006 and 2007 and on the USYSA Region I Team and Eastern New York State Team in 2006.
"John Gallagher is an exciting, talented individual who will most certainly push our returning players for a starting role. He is a versatile goal scoring player who is equally at home playing as a forward or midfielder," Gorman said.
Corey Hertzog, a forward from Reading, Pa., brings an offensive mindset with him to the collegiate level. He displayed his prolific scoring abilities at Antietam H.S., leading Berks County in scoring in 2006 and 2007. He earned All-State honors as a senior and was selected All-Berks County Division IV after each season of his high school career (2004-07). Hertzog also gained key experience as a Super Y ODP National Select Team member from 2005-07. Coach Gorman likes his chances to make an immediate impact.
"I anticipate that Corey Hertzog will see lots of playing time as a true freshman. He is an out-and-out goal scorer who can turn a game and lift a team to unexpected heights. Penn State fans will enjoy watching Corey Hertzog play."
Hailing from the talent-rich area of The Woodlands, Tex., forward Patrick Krispin also has knack for putting the ball in net. A star on his Woodlands College Park H.S. team, he earned First Team All-District 14 honors in 2006 and 2007 and was named MVP of the Cavaliers in 2005 and 2006. As a freshman, he was recognized as District 14 Newcomer of the Year.
"Patrick Krispin is a prospect that I am expecting goals from next fall," Gorman said. "He is very technical on the ball and skillful in tight spaces. Patrick will be a real asset as we look to increase our goal scoring output next season."
An elite athlete, Justin Lee, a native of Derwood, Md., comes to Penn State as a highly decorated high school defender. At Col. Zadok Magruder H.S. in Rockville, he was honored on the Maryland All-State First Team in 2007 and the Maryland All-State Second Team in 2006. Lee was also selected All-Montgomery County, All-Rockville Gazette, and All-Metropolitan area in consecutive seasons to end his brilliant high school career.
"Justin Lee is an outstanding player with all the athletic tools to succeed at the next level," said Gorman. "It will be no surprise if Justin becomes a key component in our defense for the next four year. He is a player that Penn State soccer enthusiasts will want to be on the look out for come next season.
Enrolled in Penn State in January, defensive midfielder Matt Smallwood will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience during the Nittany Lions' Spring schedule. A native of Cochranville, Pa., he starred at the same high school, Octorara, that produced Second Team All-Big Ten midfielder Jeff Chambers. Smallwood was named to the First Team All-Southern Chester County League in 2004, 2005, and 2006. He was further honored on the All-Southeast Pennsylvania Area First Team and All-Area Daily Local News First Team in 2005 and 2006. Smallwood was also an Eastern Pennsylvania State ODP player for three years (2004-06).
"Matt Smallwood is an aggressive defensive man marker who can play with the best," said Gorman. "He adds another dimension to our midfield selection possibilities and with a semester's training under his belt this spring, Matt will be a strong candidate to see major playing time this fall."
Head coach Barry Gorman, who is just one win shy of his 250th career win, returns 15 letterwinners and eight starters for the 2008 season. The Nittany Lions begin their Spring schedule on Sat., March 29 when they host Pittsburgh (5 p.m.) and Saint Francis (Pa.) (8 p.m.). The games will be played at Holuba Hall or, weather permitting, at Little Jeffrey Field, the Nittany Lions' practice area adjacent to Jeffrey Field.
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