Men's Soccer: 2009 Class Announced
By Ira Green for MSNsportsNET.com
March 17, 2009
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University men’s soccer Coach Marlon LeBlanc announced today the signing of eight players to national letters of intent and the addition of a transfer who will compete for the Mountaineers in 2009.
“I believe this recruiting class is probably the best and most accomplished in the history of West Virginia soccer and is clearly one of the top classes in the country,” LeBlanc boasted. “This group features multiple players who have top-level experience with the U.S. Youth National Teams. It is comprised of players who have participated in the adidas ESP (Elite Soccer Program) program, played internationally with the U.S. Youth Soccer Regional ODP teams and competed for the best clubs and high schools in the country.
"Since we are returning all the players from a defense that was rated one of the best in the NCAA last year, this class was built mostly with players who bring attacking qualities to the table. It is a group of outstanding young men, students and players with the abilities to take this program to new heights. We are very excited to welcome this group to the Mountaineer family.”
The eight signees are midfielder Nate Adams (Frederick, Md.), forward Moeryhan “Peabo” Doue (Germantown, Md.), forward/midfielder Uwem Etuk (Herndon, Va.), goalkeeper Paul Killian (Ellicott City, Md.), midfielder Travis Pittman (Manassas, Va.), defender Eric Schoenle (Yardley, Pa.), midfielder/forward Abel “Shadow” Sebele (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe) and forward Matt Strauss (Wilmette, Ill.). Midfielder Tuan Doan (Dallas, Texas), who was at Concordia University Texas but transferred to WVU in January, rounds out the incoming freshman class.
Adams is expected to add to an already potent offensive class. The Frederick, Md., native graduated from Broadfording Christian Academy in 2006 and took his game overseas, traveling to Brazil, where he trained for seven months. Upon his return to the United States, Adams joined the Aegean Hawks in 2007, a club team with whom he continues to play. Adams played one year of high school soccer, Shalom Christian Academy, in 2004. He set school single-season and career records with 55 goals – a mark that was the most in the county that year. At the conclusion of the season, he was named to the all-county team.
Adams played for the Northern Virginia Royals and Casa Mia Bays during his high school career. As captain of his the Maryland ’88 ODP team, he guided the team to a second-place finish at regionals.
“Nate Adams is a highly skilled, very technical top-level player with quick feet and a creative mind,” LeBlanc said. “He will add character and experience to our midfield. Nate also has the ability to score from distance. He has played at a very high level internationally with the Region I ODP team and we look forward to him adding that creative element to our midfield.”
Doue was a three-year varsity starter (2006-08) at Clarksburg High for Coach Jeremy Spoales. A captain his junior and senior seasons, Doue finished his career with 44 goals and 29 assists. As a senior, Doue raked in numerous accomplishments. For his outstanding play, he was named a 2008 Maryland Soccer Coaches’ All-State First Team Forward and also garnered All-Gazette First Team honors after leading his school to the 2A West Region Finals. He also was named to the All-Met Montgomery County First Team, all-county First Team and All-Met Second Team. He finished his campaign with 17 goals and nine assists and was a county player of the year finalist. Twice, Doue was named Clarksburg High Soccer Most Valuable Player. He helped lead his squad to the regional finals twice and was a vital component in the team winning the division championship.
He is currently playing for the D.C. United U-18 Academy Team. In 2008, Doue was a Major League Soccer (MLS) U-17 Cup Finalist with D.C. United. He also has been a member of the Maryland ODP for three seasons. His 2007 ODP team were Rider Cup Finalists and that same year, he was a member of the Bethesda Roadrunners, which won the State Cup Championship and were regional semifinalists. In 2005 and 2006, the Roadrunners were Disney Showcase Champions.
“Peabo is very unique. He can play a bunch of different positions,” John Maessner, D.C. United Academy Director of Youth Development, said. “We’ve had him play everywhere – in the back, midfield and up front. He’s very versatile. West Virginia will have to find the best place for him – for us, he’s playing in the back, but we’ve used him almost everywhere. He can play several spots well. Defensively, he’s hard to beat because of his athletic ability. He has great technical ability and is great with both feet. He can be a dangerous wide midfielder and when you put him up front, he can score goals, too.”
“Peabo Doue is one of the top players in the D.C. United Youth Academy system, which is currently the top youth U-18 program in the United States Soccer Federation Development Academy,” LeBlanc added. “He has a lightning-fast pace and the ability to change the game on his own. He is a player that can run at defenses and flat out score goals. He is a very athletic and strong player. Peabo will be a major attacking threat in the Big East.”
Etuk is a three-year starter at Herndon High under Coach Sean Lanigan and will be playing his senior season this spring. The midfielder/forward helped the team capture the Concorde District championship in 2008. A year prior, the Herndon, Va., resident was named to the All-Concorde District Second Team as an outside midfielder.
Most recently, he was selected to play for the D.C. United U-18 Academy Team. From 2006-08, Etuk was a member of the SYC Jr. Royals, where he played the midfield and forward positions. In 2008, he led the squad to win the U-17 Virginia State Championship. Additionally, he was a member of the USL Super Y League ODP 1991 team. He was named to the 2007 National Select Team and also invited to the National Camp that year as a midfielder. Etuk also played for the USYSA ODP 1991 squad and worked his way onto the U-15 National Team in 2006. In 2005, he was selected to the U-14 National Team. Etuk has been a member of the Virginia State ODP Team from 2003-07.
“Another DC United player and top prospect, Uwem Etuk is an exciting addition to our 2009 recruiting class,” LeBlanc said. “Uwem has been a part of the U-14 and U-15 U.S. National Team programs. He was also a Super-Y U.S. National Team selection as well. He is a gifted left-footed player with explosive quickness and has the ability to improvise. Uwem loves to run at players and can score from distance. He is very tidy on the ball, is always looking to penetrate with passes and runs. He is a very skillful player with very quick feet and has a knack for scoring great goals.”
The lone goalkeeper of the class is Killian, a three-year starter at Marriotts Ridge High for Coach Kevin Flynn. A two-time captain, the second time as a co-captain in his senior season, Killian registered a 16-1-0 record in his final season. An active keeper, he made 70 saves, while allowing only 10 goals (two by penalty kick). He helped lead the team to the Howard County (Md.) Championship and the Southern Region Championship. For his efforts, he was named to the 2008 All-Howard County First Team and was later selected to the 2008 Maryland Soccer Coaches’ All-State Second Team; he also garnered Washington Post All-Met Honorable Mention honors. With his stinginess between the posts, he guided the team to the No. 2 ranking in the Baltimore Metro Area and the No. 5 ranking in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area. As a junior, Killian was named to the 2007 All-Howard County First Team.
Killian also played for the Soccer Association of Columbia (Md.) United Premier 1990-91 Team. Tabbed as the starting goalkeeper, he helped the team win three Maryland State Championships.
“Paul is an athletic, strong and determined goalkeeper,” LeBlanc commented. “His best asset is his agility and natural instincts. He adds instant depth to our goalkeeping position. Paul is a focused goalkeeper who will continue to improve in our system, which has developed Nick Noble (Chicago Fire) and Zach Johnson (2008 BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year). We are excited to have Paul join the Mountaineer family.”
Pittman, a three-year starter at Osbourn High (2006-08) for Coach Dave Larson, will be playing his senior season in the spring. As a junior, he garnered numerous accolades, including being named to the Virginia AAA All-State First-Team. Additionally, Pittman was named to the All-Met First Team and All-Northern Virginia First Team. He also was selected to the All-Northwest Region and All-Cedar Run District teams. The year prior, he was named All-Met Honorable Mention.
The Manassas, Va., native is currently playing for the D.C. United U-18 Academy Team with Doue and Etuk. Earlier this year, Pittman was selected to the U-18 U.S. National Team camp. A member of the SYC Jr. Royals squad in 2008, he led his team to a state championship.
“Travis is a very talented central midfielder,” Maessner said. “He just joined our program this year and we’re very happy to have him. I think he has huge potential as well. He’s a special player that can control the game and loves to be on the ball. He shows up for matches ready to play and is a pure soccer player. He’s a great kid to have on a team. He can change games and win games by himself with his individual talent.”
While only a sophomore in high school, Pittman was selected to adidas ESP in 2007. He had an outstanding year, earning ESP All-Star accolades; Pittman also was named to the U-16 National in 2007. He has been a member of the United States Youth Soccer Association Virginia state ODP team from 2005-07; also played for Region I team during that time and competed for the U-14 U.S. National Team in 2005.
“Travis Pittman is another one of the top DC United Academy products and is the central figure that helps his club as the top scoring team in the U.S.S.F. Development Academy,” LeBlanc said. “He is an exciting player to watch. Travis is very good on the ball, has quick feet, weights his passes extremely well and has the ability to score from midfield. He is confident, willing to take chances, is a natural leader on the field and always seems to make the game easier for his teammates. He has extensive experience with the U-14, U-16 and U-18 National Teams. Travis has tremendous future ahead of him and will no doubt have an immediate impact.”
Schoenle, a defender, comes to WVU from Pennsbury High, where he was a three-year varsity starter for Coach Peter Hughes. Schoenle was the team captain his junior and senior seasons. As a senior, he was named first team all-conference and also garnered the most valuable midfielder honor. In his junior year, he was named to the all-conference second team. He helped Pennsbury win the league championship in 2006.
The Yardley, Pa., resident also plays club soccer for the YMS Xplosion, coached by John Greaves. Last year, he guided the Xplosion to the United States Youth Soccer Association national championship. He was a member of the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association state team in 2005 and helped the team work its way to become state finalists four other times (2003-04, 2006 and 2008).
“It’s been great to watch him,” John Greaves, head coach of YMS Xplosion, said. “He focuses on a lot of technical touches of the ball. His first touch is very good. He became 6-foot-plus and we spent many hours on heading the ball. He excelled at that. He’s a big team player. He knows where other people should be on the field. West Virginia has gotten an outstanding young man and a terrific player. He’s a very determined, committed and athletic player. He understands what he’s doing. He’s a winner.”
“We thought we had a sleeper in Eric Schoenle, but after his performances at the CASL Showcase in November, the College Cup Showcase in Dallas, Texas, and the Disney Showcase in December, everyone knows how good this kid really is,” LeBlanc added. “Eric is a competitor and a winner. He is technically sound, and at 6-foot-4, is a dominating presence in the air and is a foot-on-ball center back confident playing out of the back. He has the ability to stretch defenses as he is very accurate hitting a driven ball over 60 to 70 yards. Eric will be a great center back and we are very excited to have him at WVU.”
Sebele, one of the most talented athletes and top scorers in this season’s class, was a four-year varsity letterwinner for Episcopal High under Coach Rick Wilcox.
A Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, native, Sebele finished his career as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 70 goals in 71 games played. During his tenure, he displayed strong passing abilities, registering 50 assists. He helped lead the team to four state playoff berths, making three semifinal appearances. As a senior, Episcopal posted an undefeated conference mark and advanced to the state championship after Sebele notched the game-winning goal in a shootout; Episcopal finished the season ranked No. 13 nationally in the NSCAA/adidas rankings and No. 15 by ESPN Rise. Individually, Sebele earned all-state second team honors, despite playing only eight games due to season-ending wrist surgery. He was named Menno Classic Tournament MVP during the season. Before getting injured, he guided Episcopal to an 8-0 mark, tallying 18 goals and nine assists.
“He’s the most accomplished player I’ve ever coached,” Rick Wilcox, Episcopal head coach, said. “He played for us as an attacking midfielder and scored or created nearly every goal that we scored during his time here. He’s incredibly creative. Whatever anybody expects is going to happen with the ball at his feet, he does something different. The only predictable thing he’ll do is something breath-taking. That’s just how he plays, and that’s why he’s a special player.”
As a junior, Sebele compiled arguably his best season. He shattered the school’s scoring record, which he originally set as a sophomore, netting 31 goals – 10 came in the form of game-winners. Not to be outdone, he also holds the school’s assists record (23). Following his team’s 16-6 performance, Sebele was named Virginia Independent School Co-State Player of the Year and selected to the all-conference team and the Washington Post All-Met Second Team. He ended his sophomore campaign with 17 goals (a then-school record) and 12 assists, garnering all-conference team honors and was named to the all-state second team. He was tabbed as an assistant captain as a junior and named co-captain his senior season. Sebele also lettered in track and recently helped break the school’s 4x400 winter record with a time of 3:27.39, recording a 50.1 split time.
Sebele also has extensive club experience with the Potomac Cougars and MSC Dragons. The Potomac Cougars, who are coached by Peter Mehlert, were Maryland State Cup Finalists and Region I Championships Finalists. The MSC Dragons, coached by Julio Zarate, were four-time Maryland State Cup Champions and also Region I Premier League Champions.
“I believe that Shadow is one of the most exciting players to ever come to West Virginia,” LeBlanc said. “He is a natural goal scorer with the ability to change the game on his own. Shadow will usually play his best soccer when the game is on the line and he has a knack for scoring big goals. He has tremendous speed and is deadly with his left foot. Shadow will fit in nicely in our system and will add an element of surprise and the ability to improvise to our attack. West Virginia fans are in for a treat as Shadow is truly a special player with a bright future.”
Strauss, another hard-working and talented forward, comes to Morgantown from New Trier Township High in Wilmette, Ill., playing under the direction of Coach Craig Fairbairn. He helped the team capture the state championship in 2008, finishing the season ranked No. 3 nationally in the NSCAA/adidas poll and No. 4 in the ESPN Rise poll. In his senior campaign, he recorded 14 goals and 10 assists, with his most important score coming as the game-winner in the semifinals, sending the team to the title game.
“He’s a very talented kid and has very good foot skills. He can score and is great at midfield,” New Trier Township Head Coach Craig Fairbairn said. “He’s good at spreading the ball around and realizes when the field should be switched. He was a big part of our late season and state championship run. He scored some big goals for us in games and most of the time it was an early goal in the game. In big game situations, he has a tendency to play at a higher level. I don’t know if he’s going to be a crowd wooer, but he’ll make someone realize that play wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t make that field switch or served that ball.”
The Wilmette, Ill., native also played for FC United Premier in 2008 and guided the team to the semifinals – reaching the No. 21 national ranking that season. Strauss was a starter for the Illinois ODP state team in 2006-07.
“Matt is a player we discovered through our camp system,” LeBlanc said. “He is a player with a very big upside and we believe he is going to surprise a lot of people. He has pace, athleticism, a tremendous amount of desire and an unmatched work ethic, but most importantly, he has a knack for scoring goals. I think Matt has a bright future ahead of him.”
Doan was one of the most sought after attacking midfielders in the country coming out of North Hills High in 2006, where he was a three-time MVP. He was the team MVP his freshman season at The Highlands School.
He was selected to the adidas ESP in 2006. Doan represented Texas as a member of its state ODP team and as a Region III ODP player. He helped his squad win the 2008 Maguire Cup (U.S. Youth Soccer U-19 National Championship) as a starting midfielder for Solar Soccer Club, coached by Kevin Smith. Doan guided his team to titles at the Dallas Cup (2006), Disney Showcase (2002-03), Premier League (2004-06) and the Coca-Cola League (2000-06). His team won numerous Texas State championships (2001, 2003-05) and was Region III champions multiple times (2004-06 and 2008).
“We were hoping to have Tuan two years ago, but we are very excited to have him here now this spring,” LeBlanc added. “Tuan is an accomplished youth player and was an integral piece in Solar Soccer Clubs’ national championship this past summer. Tuan is a quick and offensive-oriented midfielder. He is very dynamic in his play, has the ability to run at players on the dribble and is technically sound. He adds another creative element to our midfield and is an explosive addition to our squad.”
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