The USF men’s soccer team added five new recruits to their roster Tuesday as announced by coach George Kiefer. One player — a transfer from now Big East rival, Rutgers — had already been with the team since last season, plus four new players with considerable playing experience; two players are straight out of high school, while the two others are transfers from Division I colleges.
“It was great to get four players for the spring season so they go through the academic adjustments and playing adjustments of the team,” said Kiefer, who enters his fourth season at USF. “Now that way, when they get here in August, they aren’t freshmen who haven’t gone through anything. That’s a huge advantage.”
The two high school players, Yohance Marshall and Kevon Neaves, both hail from St. Anthony’s High School in New York and are from Trinidad and Tobago.
Marshall, a defender, captained his team to three intercollegiate championships and was honored as one of Trinidad High School’s Top Five Players of the Year.
Neaves, a teammate of Marshall’s at St. Anthony’s, is a midfielder who was the 2005 Trinidad High School Player of the Year.
The two also bring international experience to the Bulls, as they played for the U-17 national team and the U-20 national team pool.
Kiefer favors players from Trinidad, as Marshall and Neaves will join junior Keeron Benito as USF players from the Caribbean country.
“You know, I played with a few players from Trinidad when I was in college and developed some good relations over there,” said Kiefer, whose collegiate playing experience is with the Connecticut Wolves (1994-95). “I don’t care where they are from as long as they’re good soccer players.”
Also joining the team is Brett Wagner, returning to his hometown of Tampa, where he graduated from Jesuit High.
Wagner spent the last two seasons at Jacksonville University, where he started and played in all 17 games in 2004. The midfielder/defender scored one goal and five assists for seven points.
Andre Townsend also transfers to the Bulls after playing two seasons at Richmond. Though he suffered a mid-season injury in 2004, Townsend played in nine games, scoring a goal and two assists. As a freshman and a native of Jamaica, he was named to the Atlantic-10 All Rookie Team.
The Rutgers transfer, Sammy Castellanos, joined the team last season and will be able to play in the fall. The Philadelphia native played at Rutgers from 2002-03 and, as a sophomore, was part of the Scarlet Knights 12th NCAA appearance in the program’s past 23 seasons. When he was a freshman, Castellanos led the team in scoring with 17 points.
“Sammy has been training with us all year, but he’ll be a very good player for us,” said Kiefer, whose overall record at USF is 28-20-5. “All these players are capable of starting, and if they are deserving of opportunity, we’re going to give it to them.”