Though it isn’t yet complete, it appears the new soccer stadium may already be paying dividends on the recruiting trail for the USF men’s soccer program.
Eight student-athletes, including three junior college All-Americans, signed National Letters of Intent to play for coach George Kiefer in the fall. Next year’s team will have a distinct international flavor, with five of the new players having been born outside of the United States, in addition to the 10 foreign-born players already on the team.
Englishman Dom Dwyer headlines the class as the reigning National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Player of the Year. In two years at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas, Dwyer scored 52 goals, won two NJCAA national championships and never lost a game.
Following Dwyer from Tyler to Tampa will be 6-foot-3 defender Brenton Griffiths and midfielder Kyle Nicholls.
Griffiths, originally from Spanish Town, Jamaica, has played for the under-17 and under-20 Jamaican national teams as well as Jamaican Premier League club Portmore United. He was named a first-team NJCAA player last season.
Nicholls, from Kings Lynn, England, scored seven goals and tallied 11 assists in his sophomore season at Tyler.
Also in the class are goalkeeper Dallas Jaye; midfielders Wesley Charpie, Morten Benestad and Lucas Baldin; and forward Stiven Salinas.
Jaye comes from San Ramon Valley High School in California, though he did spend two years at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.
The new soccer stadium, located directly east of the Athletics building, will have a seating capacity of 2,000 and is expected to be ready for the fall semester. The men’s soccer team opens its preseason schedule Aug. 15 in Jacksonville. The first home, regular-season game scheduled in the new stadium is against Georgia State on Sept. 2.