While every team has reason to miss its graduating class of athletes after a season ends, that loss can sometimes be less painful when countered by the promise of incoming new talent.
And with the recruiting class that the program has pulled together this offseason, Penn men’s soccer has every reason to be smiling.
Coach Rudy Fuller and his staff recently announced the Quakers’ group of recruits for Penn’s Class for 2019, and the eight men who will join the Quakers next fall comprise one of the best classes the Red and Blue have put together in recent memory.
Featuring several players that have spent time at Under-18 National Team camps and with many accolades attached to all the athletes, Penn boasts the 12th-ranked incoming class in the nation according to CollegeSoccerNews.com, coming in just behind perennial powerhouses Stanford and North Carolina.
“Over the past few years we have had tremendous support from the athletic administration and from our alums, and that has really allowed us to go out and really try and recruit the best in the nation,” Fuller said. “We were very fortunate to identify some of these guys very early, and we were able, right from the onset, to begin showing them what Penn really had to offer them.”
The incoming class boasts four defenders, two of whom have spent time at U-18 National Team camp in Gavin Barger and Nigel Blackwood. Defender Eremuse Momoh and midfielder Erik Swenson — both ranked in the top-150 of all seniors by CollegeSoccerNews.com — will also join the Quakers, giving Penn a solid collection of back line players moving forward.
“We definitely had a very focused approach when building this class, and the back half of the field was something that we specifically targeted,” Fuller said. “Between this year and next year, we are going to be graduating a large number of defensive players, and we wanted to make sure we had talented guys ready to step up for us in the back line.”
Penn will also welcome two freshman keepers next year to compliment rising seniors Max Polkinhorne and Nick Savino. Florida native Etan Mabourakh joins Penn as the 13th-best goalkeeper recruit in the nation, and Scott Forbes — the New Jersey state record holder for most-consecutive shutout minutes — adds yet another talented keeper to Penn’s growing collection.
“In my time with Penn, I have been blessed with some really talented keepers,” Fuller said. “And with both Max and Nick graduating next year, we wanted to make sure we addressed that position.
“We are thrilled to have Scott and Etan joining us, and they both are going to benefit a lot from our keepers and I’m sure both of them will be in there fighting for time in net.”
Rounding out Penn’s recruits are two Red Bull Academy players. In addition to Swenson, midfielder Gideo Metrikin and forward Jerel Blades will join the Quakers in the hopes of giving the team some of the attacking firepower it lost with the graduation of Duke Lacroix.
While none of these players may be ready to take the field just yet for the Red and Blue, Fuller and his staff are confident that they have a group of players that will usher in nothing but a bright future for the Quakers.
“What these guys have accomplished up until this point in their careers is significant, but the jump to collegiate soccer is still significant for everyone,” Fuller said. “These guys are going to provide us with a ton of depth, and day in and day out they are going to compete for those minutes which is exactly the type of players we want.”
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