Badgers Ink Five Of Region's Best Soccer Talents


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Wisconsin mens soccer coach Jeff Rohrman announced Tuesday that five recruits have signed national letters of intent to attend the University of Wisconsin and will join the Badgers this fall.

This is an exciting class, Rohrman said. They are all exceptional soccer players and are capable of making the jump to the next level right away. They will be able to compete to play and contribute right from the start.

Wisconsin signed one of Illinois top soccer talents in Erik Ortega (Western Springs, Ill.). Ortega, a Lyons Township midfielder, was also named to the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune All-State Teams. Additionally, Ortega captained his Chicago Magic U-17 club team to the 2003 U.S. Youth Soccer Association National Championship.

Erik is a veteran of the `85 (Olympic Development Program) Regional Team and played attacking midfield on that team when we first saw him, Rohrman said. He is a player that can do a lot of things in the attack and has both the experience and talent to help us from the start.

B.J. Goodman (Lake Orion, Mich.) also comes to Wisconsin with extensive ODP experience, having played at the state level since 1997 and regionally since 2000. Goodman earned all-region, all-area, all-district and all-state recognition all four years as a midfielder for Detroit Country Day Preparatory School.

B.J. is a player that we have had our eye on for a while, Rohrman said. He is a bit of a slasher and can play a number of positions. Technically he is very good and he has the ability to score goals as well as set up players. He has a tremendous work rate, can get up and down the field, and can create a lot in the attack.

Wisconsin also grabbed another Michigan standout in Sho Fujita (West Bloomfield, Mich.). Fujita, a midfielder and forward for Andover High School, has played central midfield with both the state and regional (86) ODP teams. He has played with the state team of Michigan since 1999 and has been with the 86 Regional Team since 2002 As a U-16 player, Fujita was named an interregional All-American.

Sho is also an extremely technical player. He is skillful, creative and should give us some depth in the midfield, Rohrman said. He is also a very good athlete and can do some great things in the attacking half of the field.

Midfielder Nick Caronna (Brookfield, Wis.) is the groups lone Wisconsin native and one of two National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-Americans in the class. As a player for Brookfield Central this past season, Caronna was also honored as the Greater Metro Conference Player of the Year, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Area Player of the Year and the Wisconsin Gatorade State Player of the Year.

Nick is clearly one of the top kids in the state, Rohrman said. Hes an incredibly versatile and athletic player who can play in a wide variety of places. He has been blessed with some great physical qualities and I really believe that he will blossom and develop into a very good soccer player at the collegiate level.

Dirk Pearson (South Barrington, Ill.), the other NSCAA All-American earned all-state recognition from the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association (IHSSCA) while playing forward and midfield for Barrington High School. Pearson also spent time as a member of the Chicago Sockers, one of the top club teams in Illinois, which will help him compete immediately at Wisconsin

Were very happy to have Dirk coming to Wisconsin, Rohrman said. He is a forward/midfielder who has a strong build as well as being very good with the ball. We feel that Dirk should help us up front as he is quite capable at putting the ball in the net.

A brief breakdown of each player is provided below:

Erik Ortega

Midfielder Western Springs, Ill. (Lyons Township)

Member of the U.S. National Pool in 2000 member of the 85 Region II ODP team since 2000 member of the Illinois 85 state ODP team since 1999 captained club team, Chicago Magic U-17, to USYSA National Championship in 2003 named to the 2003 Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times all-state teams voted 2003 Suburban Life All-Area MVP

B.J. Goodman

Midfielder Lake Orion, Mich. (Detroit Country Day Preparatory School)

Named to the 2004 adidas All-Star Team for the 1985 age group member of 85 Region II ODP team since 2000 member of the Michigan 85 state ODP team since 1997 member of Michigans Dream Team in 2003-04 played club soccer with Vardar III for five years received all-region, all-area, all-district and all-state honors all four years of high school

Sho Fujita

Midfielder/Forward West Bloomfield, Mich. (Andover H.S.)

Named interregional U-16 All-American member of the `86 Region II ODP team since 2002 member of the Michigan `86 state ODP team since 1999

Nick Caronna

Midfielder Brookfield, Wis. (Brookfield Central H.S.)

Member of `85 Region II ODP Pool since 2002 member of the `85 Wisconsin state ODP since 1999 helped lead FC Milwaukee club team to 2003 state championship NSCAA All-American the 2003 Greater Metro Conference Player of the Year, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Player of the Year and Wisconsin Gatorade State Player of the Year

Dirk Pearson

Forward/Midfielder South Barrington, Ill. (Barrington H.S.)

Member of the Illinois state ODP from 1997-2001 and helped team to 2001 Region II Championship helped club team, Chicago Sockers, to a No. 1 state and No. 25 national ranking member of the NSCAA All-Midwest and All-America teams 2003 Conference player of the year named captain of the Daily Herald All-Area Team named to the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and IHSSCA all-state teams

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