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April 5, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Nine recruits from across North America, including a pair of Ontario, Canada, natives, and one transfer join the Penn State men's soccer program this offseason. The Nittany Lions, who captured their third regular-season Big Ten championship in the fall, look to replace a 10-man senior class.
Connor Maloney (Harrisburg, Pa.), a four-star recruit according to TopDrawerSoccer.com, is joined by Bruno Marangoni (Mercersburg, Pa.) in representing Pennsylvania, while Californians Mason Klerks (Corona, Calif.) and Evan Finney (Hillsborough, Calif.) represent the West Coast. Shane Kronick (Westfield, N.J.), Tyler Toweson (New Windsor, N.Y.) and Matt Barth (Baltimore, Md.) come to Penn State from surrounding states and Mark Wadid (Mississauga, Ontario) and Michael Wagenknecht (Waterloo, Ontario) both join the Blue and White from Canada. Michael Gonzalez (Berwyn, Pa.), who transferred to Penn State in the winter, spent the last two seasons down the road with Lehigh. The group consists of seven midfielders (Gonzalez, Marangoni, Maroney, Klerks, Kronick, Toweson, Wagenknect), two goalkeepers (Barth, Finney) and one forward (Wadid).
"This class has a lot of upside and is filled with guys who love soccer and want to get better," head coach Bob Warming, the 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year, said of the group. "They are all very competitive young men and will fit right in with the great young returners we have already on campus. The Big Ten is going to be fantastic this fall and we have added some challenging non-conference teams to the schedule. I can't wait to get started with this group and see what we can become. If they put in the hard work, this can be one of the very best classes of players I have recruited."
Maloney, ranked No. 21 in the IMG Academy 150, third in Pennsylvania and 11th among American midfielders, excelled at Bishop McDevitt High School, setting school and Mid-Penn records with 110 career goals and a school-record 68 assists as a three-year captain while leading the conference in scoring and points as a junior and senior. The two-time All-Pennsylvania midfielder was named a 2012 NSCAA All-American and selected to play in the All-American Game in Birmingham, Ala., as a senior. Maloney spent the last two years with the Philadelphia Union Academy and won the Generation adidas Cup in 2012. Also a four-year starting kicker for the Bishop McDevitt varsity football team, Maloney set a Pennsylvania record with 328 points.
Wadid, a striker for the Canadian U18 National Team, travelled with the squad to San Jose, Costa Rica, in November of 2011 and produced a pair of goals against the Costa Rican National Team. The same year he earned the golden boot award at the Canadian U17 National Championships with Erin Mill's Eagles, scoring 10 goals to help his team capture gold. He also played for Mills on two Ontario Cup-winning squads. Wadid is no stranger to scoring from the attacking forward position, as he produced a four-goal effort against 16 Crew Soccer Academy in Columbus, Ohio. Wadid is currently playing with Toronto FC Academy under head coach Danny Dichio.
Wagenknecht has spent time in the midfield with the Canadian U18 National Team under head coach Rob Gale, as well as the Toronto FC Academy alongside teammate Wadid. In 2012, the duo helped Toronto FC Academy reach the Generation adidas Cup final in Seattle after beating out squads from LA Galaxy, FC Dallas and DC United in group play and downing Columbus in a penalty shootout in the semifinals. Wagenknecht has also competed in the Canadian Soccer League, the highest level of soccer in Canada aside from MLS, since he was 16.
Marangoni, originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, played his final season of prep soccer at Mercersburg Academy and finishing second on the team in goals (11) and first in assists (12). His standout performance culminated in claiming the Boys' Soccer Award, given to the player who made the most outstanding contributions to his team, as well as receiving first team All-Mid Atlantic Prep League and first team All-Independent-Parochial School League honors. In addition, Marangoni earned a spot on the Central Pennsylvania Senior All-Star Team.
Klerks, a holding midfielder, has gathered significant international and club experience, serving as captain the last two seasons for the USSF Academy Player Arsenal FC, the 2010 CSL Premier League Arsenal FC, the 2010 Manchester United Premier Cup squad and the CSL Gold Division Arsenal FC from 2008-10. He also played at the Torneo Internazionale Italian Tournament in 2009 and the Manchester United Premier Cup World Finals in 2009 and 2010. Klerks finished at the top of his class in high school and is admitted to the Schreyer's Honors College at Penn State.
After two superb years starting in goal for his high school team in Hillsborough, Finney has stepped up his play with the IMG U18 Academy in Bradenton, Fla., the last two years. As a junior, the Finney earned Goalkeeper of the Year in part because of shutting out opposing attacks in four games in Barcelona. The keeper spent the year training with both the U17 United States National Team and Malmö FF, a professional club in Sweden. As a senior, Finney helped his squad achieve the eighth-ranked defense in the country.
Midfielder Shane Kronick was a member of the New York Red Bulls Youth Academy from 2008 to 2012, spending time with the club's U16 and U17 squads while also competing for the US Youth National Team U14 and U15 groups in 2009 and 2010. Kronick was included in the Top Players in New Jersey list in Oct. 2011 by ESPN The Magazine. Currently, he is the starting center midfielder for the New Jersey Soccer Academy 04 U17/18 team under head coach Antonio Meza.
Toweson brings his skills as a prolific goal scorer to Penn State after leading not only his Cornwall Green Dragons high school team but Section IX in New York as a sophomore and junior while garnering Section IX All-Star honors his first three years on the team. Toweson also led his club team, FC Westchester, in scoring during his U15 and U16 years from the midfield.
Barth, a keeper from Maryland, has played with Baltimore Bays Chelsea since 2009 and is one of 10 members of the squad signed to play Division I soccer this fall, including signees for Louisville, Akron, Georgetown and Wake Forest.
Gonzalez, who has been enrolled at Penn State since January, enters the 2013 season as a junior after spending two years at Lehigh. As a freshman with the Eagles, Gonzalez played in 10 contests while starting seven of them. The central midfielder finished the 2011 season with nine shots, including three on goal.