BALTIMORE - The Loyola University Maryland men's soccer team will welcome 12 newcomers to the program as it opens preseason training Wednesday, as announced by head coach Steve Nichols.
Nine freshmen, Tyler Beaudoin (Montgomery Village, Md./Gaithersburg), Jake Campbell (Arlington, Va./Washington-Lee), Sam Carter (Queens, N.Y./Archbishop Molly), Nick Giordano (East Northport, N.Y./Commack), Griffin Kutzner (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug), Brandon Levano (Whitehall, Pa./Whitehall Coplay), Xander Saling (Maplewood, N.J./Seton Hall Prep), A. Mickey Watson (Newtown Square, Pa./South Kent), Wielfried Zouantcha (Germantown, Md./Northwest) and three transfers, Matt Bautista (Rockville, Md./DeMatha Catholic/Coastal Carolina), Alex Ponvert (Bethesda, Md./The Field School (DC)/Elon) and Joe Rodriguez (Montclair, N.J./Montclair/Drexel) have been added to the roster.
"This is the first step of many to get Loyola men's soccer back to national prominence," Nichols said. "With this being our first recruiting class, we were looking for the best players that we could find. We ended up adding a lot of quality, talent and depth to our midfield and backline, in addition to the goal. We expect some of these players will come in and make an immediate impact as we compete for a Patriot League Championship."
Matt Bautista, a transfer from Coastal Carolina, helped DeMatha Catholic High School to a perfect 20-0-0 record and the No. 1 ranking in the NSCAA/adidas High School National Poll in 2011. He also won a WCAC Championship that year before playing for the Baltimore Bays as a junior and senior.
Tyler Beaudoin is a goalkeeper from DC United's Academy and a member of the Maryland ODP Team. He's the 24th-ranked recruit in the Mid-Atlantic by TopDrawerSoccer.
Jake Campbell, a back, led Washington-Lee to a National District Championship as a junior and senior. He was a two-time Washington Post All-Met player, also earning all-region and all-state honors as a junior, and played club for Arlington Impact Red 97.
Sam Carter won four state championships at Archbishop Molly High School and was a member of the NY Red Bull Academy. He's the 14th-ranked recruit out of New Jersey by TopDrawerSoccer and is also ranked No. 123 on College Soccer News' Top-150 recruits.
Nick Giordano, a goalkeeper, is a four-star recruit and the 25th-ranked player in New Jersey by TopDrawerSoccer. He won three Northeastern Academy League Championships as a member of the NY Red Bulls Academy and was also an Academy national finalist and semifinalist. His team placed fourth in the Barclay's Premier League Youth Tournament, defeating Chelsea FC, Aston Villa FC, Palmieras and Newcastle United.
Griffin Kutzner is a four-start rated player and the 18th-ranked recruit in the Class of 2015 from the Northeast region by TopDrawerSoccer. A four-time US Soccer Federation Market Training Center invitee, he played in the US Soccer Development Academy and with Oakwood Soccer Club of Connecticut, and was among the 2011 ODP Region 1 player pool selection.
Brandon Levano led Whitehall Coplay High School in scoring as a freshman and sophomore before playing his junior and senior year in the USSDA with the Philadelphia Union. He also played for Lehigh Valley United in the US Development Academy and won Eastern Pa State Cup Championships four-straight years.
Alex Ponvert, a transfer from Elon, played two years of soccer at The Field School (DC), where he was named All-PVAC after leading the school in scoring as a junior. A back, Ponvert also played club for Bethesda SC and won a Maryland USYSA State Championship in 2007 and 2010 with the club.
Joe Rodriguez comes to Loyola from Drexel where he played in six games for the Dragons, scoring his first collegiate goal against Fairleigh Dickinson. Before that, he earned Essex Country Freshman and Sophomore of the Year awards at Montclair High School and won a county championship as a senior en route to regional All-American honors.
Xander Saling was named the Super Essex Conference, All-Area and Essex County Player of the Year as a senior at Seton Hall Prep. He made the All-SEC American Division First Team and was named a regional All-American by the NSCAA. He also played club soccer for FC Copa Academy and was a US Club State Cup Champion, regional champion and national finalist.
A. Mickey Watson, the Gatorade Connecticut Boys Soccer Player of the Year for 2014-15, is an NSCAA High School All-American from South Kent. A four-star recruit by TopDrawerSoccer, Watson was a two-time Connecticut Soccer Coaches Association All-State First Team selection as a back and was named the SCSA Player of the Year.
Wielfried Zouantcha helped Northwest High School to two division championships and two state semifinalist appearances. He was named All-County First Team as a defender and was included among the top-200 recruits in the US Development Academy while playing for Bethesda Olney.
Loyola will open the 2015 season on Friday, Aug. 28, when it hosts Saint Francis (Pa.) at Ridley Athletic Complex. Game time is set for 6 p.m.