The Wisconsin mens soccer team will welcome 11 student-athletes for the 2007 season, including four who signed National Letters of Intent last week, head coach Jeff Rohrman announced on Wednesday.
Outside midfielder/forward Aaron Nichols, defender Cale Cooper, forward Tyler Crawford and defender Tyler Ballay all signed National Letters of Intent while goalkeeper Alex Horwath joined the squad as a transfer from UConn this semester.
Rounding out the new class will be six other student-athletes who signed Acceptance of Admissions letters and will join the 2007 team.
With this class, we feel we added some depth to our team, as well as addressed a few of the holes that we have with the departure of last years seniors, Rohrman said. This was an exceptional group locally, probably the best since the late 1980s and early 1990s, and were happy to have them join us for 2007.
One gem of the class is Aaron Nichols, a 5-9 outside midfielder/forward, who comes to Madison after spending four years on Marian Central Catholic High Schools varsity team. Nichols, who currently plays for the Chicago Magic 88/89 squad, has seen much success over the last couple years in the Olympic Developmental Program. He has played at the regional and state levels, and competed with the U-16 State Cup champion and Region II Finalist teams in 2005. Nichols recently participated with the 89 Regional Team in January at their annual event in San Diego and just returned with the team after competition in Costa Rica.
Aaron is a tremendous athlete who can play a variety of positions and has continued to improve year after year, Rohrman said. Everyone on our staff expects Aaron to contribute immediately in some capacity for our team this fall.
Cale Cooper, a 6-2 defender from Madison, Wis., was a four-year starter at Madison West High School, where he led the Regents to a regional championship this year. Cooper scored 10 goals and dished out five assists on his way to receiving All-City, All-Conference and All-State awards in 2006. The local product currently plays club soccer with the Madison 56ers and is a member of Madisons amateur team, the Princeton 56ers. Cooper is the great-grandson of Walter Meanwell, who in 1911 became the first basketball coach in UW history, and Coopers brother, Reed, currently plays soccer at West Virginia University.
Cale comes in as one of the top players in the state and certainly should help us from a defensive perspective, Rohrman said.
Tyler Crawford, a 5-7 forward from Columbia, Ill., was named an All-American by the NSCAA in 2006. He spent his last four years at Gibault Catholic High School and was a key contributor to the teams IHSA Class A State Soccer Championship in 2005. Crawford, who currently plays club soccer with the Metro United FC, started to receive high interest from many colleges after playing well at last summers Adidas camp that annually invites the top 150 incoming senior prospects to participate.
Tyler Crawford is a crafty left-footed attacking player who possesses a tremendous knack for scoring goals, Rohrman said.
Tyler Ballay, a 6-3 defender from Toledo, Ohio, will add athleticism and versatility to the Badgers roster. Ballay, a four-year starter at St. Johns Jesuit, was named second-team all-state in 2006.
Tyler Ballay is an extraordinary athlete who will help bolster our defensive presence with his toughness and tenacity, Rohrman said.
Alex Horwath, a goalkeeper from Woodbine, Md., transfers over to UW this semester after medically redshirting last season with the UConn Huskies due to a knee injury. Prior to his stint with UConn, Horwath was a four-year varsity starter at McDonogh High School, where he led his team to the MIAA Conference championship and was named first-team All-Conference, All-Metro, All-County and All-State in his senior year. Horwath was also the starting goalkeeper for the Maryland Olympic Developmental Program from 1998-2005, and competed with the D.C. Uniteds Youth Squad that won a national championship in 2001.
Alex will bring great size, athleticism and experience to what our staff already feels is a strong goalkeeping core, Rohrman said.
Six additional student-athletes signed acceptance of admission to UW, and the Badgers will happily add these newcomers to their roster. Defender Nate Gangler, forward Wesley Braga, and midfielders Jerrett Quella, Colin Mani and Lucas Lehr are all local Madison products, while midfielder Austin Spohn will make the trip to UW from his hometown in Cincinnati.