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Wake Forest lands remarkable soccer class for 2012


Release from (Brendan Bergen)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Wake Forest men’s soccer team will bring in seven new faces for the 2012 season, filling several needs with impact players and adding valuable depth as the program continues to challenge for a national championship. One of the best recruiting classes in program history, the additions were announced by head coach Jay Vidovich on Wednesday, January 25.

Joining the Demon Deacons, who will not lose a single starter from last season’s NCAA Second Round appearance, will be a balanced and talented class composed of Michael Gamble, Ricky Greensfelder, Andrew Harris, Jalen Robinson, Thomas Haws, Philip Parker and Ryan Perry.

"We are very excited about this class," said Vidovich. "They are a tremendously talented and special group. If they can adjust to the level of play and pace of the ACC, we think they will help bring us back to the top."

Gamble, arguably the most highly-regarded forward prospect in the country, is a two-time NSCAA All-American and is rated the no. 1 prospect overall in the 2012 class by College Soccer News. He brings valuable U.S. National Team experience and a demonstrated knack for finding the goal with him to Wake Forest, as the incoming striker tallied 35 times in his senior season for Baltimore’s McDonogh High School. The U.S. Development Academy All-Star was also named the Maryland Player of the Year by the NSCAA.

Harris, a decorated goalkeeper, is expected to challenge returning senior Michael Lisch for immediate playing time and is lauded for his leadership abilities as a two-time NSCAA All-American and ESPN Rise All-American. One of the top goalie prospects nationally, he is the son of two former collegiate soccer players at Yale and was recently named the Baltimore Sun Player of the Year at Gilman School, where he set a program record for shutouts.

Gamble and Harris also bring an established chemistry, having teamed up with Greensfelder on their club team, the Baltimore Bays, a powerhouse program that has reached four consecutive national championships.

Greensfelder was a key midfielder on the Bays and ranked as the no. 15 recruit in the Mid-Atlantic Region by Top Drawer Soccer. He finished his high school career with 27 goals and 23 assists and brings a collegiate soccer championship pedigree – his father, Rick, was a part of the University of Baltimore’s 1975 Division II National Championship run.

Robinson, expected to compete for a starting job in the midfield or at center back, is perhaps the most high-profile recruit in Wake Forest men’s soccer history and was also rated among the nation’s top three prospects by College Soccer News. Robinson has long been identified as one of the country's top youth standouts. He earned call-ups to the under-15 national team and an invitation to the U.S. under-17 residential academy in Bradenton, Fla. He also made an early appearance with the under-18 national team at the age of 16 and recently camped with the U-20 Team in January along with current Wake Forest forward Sean Okoli. Vidovich expects Robinson to make an instant impact on the defensive side of the ball.

Haws is an ESPN Rise All-American, athletic midfielder-forward prospect that finished his high school career with 30 goals and 20 assists in just three seasons. Ranked no. 87 in the ESPNHS 150, Haws set a Westlake High School record with five assists in one match and was named to the 2011 ESPN Rise Winter All-America Team.

Parker, another proven leader and two-time varsity team captain, projects as a defender or midfielder and led Monsignor Kelly High School in scoring as a junior with 24 goals and 10 assists.

Perry is an athletic back that was discovered by the Wake Forest soccer staff at camp, where he impressed with his versatility and coachability as either a wingback or central defender. He served as a team captain for both the track and soccer teams at Louisville Collegiate School and was an Academic All-State selection.

Gamble, Harris, Robinson and Haws were all ranked in the ESPNHS 150 and six of the incoming players come to Wake Forest from U.S. Development Academy programs.

Michael Gamble - F/MF - 5-7 - 140 lbs. - Baltimore, Md. (McDonogh High School)

Two-Time NSCAA high school All-American… rated no. 1 in 2012 class by College Soccer… ranked no. 14 overall player in 2012 class by… ranked no. 12 in the ESPNHS 150… candidate for Gatorade Player of the Year… Maryland State Player of the Year by the NSCAA… 2011 NSCAA High School Boys All-Region III Team… Baltimore Sun Boys Soccer Player of the Year… US Development Academy All-Star… experience with U-15/U-17/U-20 National Team… 2010 Disney Soccer Showcase All-Star… scored 35 goals and added 16 assists during senior season at McDonogh while helping his team to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference Championship… his goal total was the most for a McDonogh player since 2000… scored 28 goals and connected on 10 assists as a junior… club team is Baltimore Bays under coach Steve Nichols… verbally committed to Wake Forest early in November of 2010… born January 5, 1994… son of Steven and Rosa Maria Gamble…

Vidovich on Gamble: "I love this kid and believe he will make an immediate impact on the program. He thinks only of winning, driving to goal and getting the ball – from teammates and opponents alike. He has pace, quick feet, is passionate and competes for every roll of the ball. He comes from a winning background, having won national championships under one of the best youth coaches in the country – Steve Nichols of the Baltimore Bays."
Ricky Greensfelder - MF - 5-6 - 118 lbs. - Baltimore, Md. (Archbishop Curley High School)

Club team is Baltimore Bays under coach Steve Nichols… U-15 National Champion… Rated no. 15 in Mid-Atlantic Region by… First Team All-MIAA… First Team All-State… scored 13 goals and added 10 assists during senior season at Archbishop Curley… finished high school career with 27 goals and 23 assists… key midfielder on Baltimore Bays club which reached National Championships four consecutive years… graduated with honors and a 3.9 grade point average… National Honor Society member… born May 19, 1994… son of Rick and Trisha Greensfelder… father won the Division II Men’s Soccer National Championship at the University of Baltimore in 1975…

Vidovich on Greensfelder: "A Baltimore Bays, Steve Nichols player so we can count on a winning mentality. For his age Ricky is a tremendous soccer brain with attitude and his on field demeanor is fitting of Baltimore’s finest. Ricky is a clever midfielder and will certainly raise the soccer IQ of our team."
Andrew Harris - GK - 6-0 - 190 lbs. - Baltimore, Md. (Gilman School)

Two-time NSCAA All-American… ESPN Rise All American… Baltimore Sun Player of the Year… Rated 36th in 2012 Class (College Soccer News)… ranked no. 33 in the ESPNHS 150… ranked seventh in the Mid-Atlantic region in the class of 2012 by… Varsity Sports Network Player of the Year… club team is Baltimore Bays under coach Steve Nichols… high school record for shutouts… two-year captain of varsity team… class vice president… born September 21, 1993… son of Ned Harris and Edie Meacham, both former collegiate soccer players at Yale…

Vidovich on Harris: "Andrew rates as one of the top leaders I've ever recruited to the program. Another Steve Nichols, Baltimore Bay product, Andrew has also made appearances with the USA U-18 Men's National Team. Andrew is an explosive goalkeeper, who is capable of big saves, has tremendous distribution potential and a personality that gains his teammates trust and to play for him. I expect Andrew to immediately challenge for the starting spot."
Thomas Haws - MF/F - 6-1 - 165 lbs. - Austin, Texas (Westlake High School)

Played for Lonestar Soccer Club under Coach Bruce Talbot and was a four-time state champion… US Soccer Academy Select Team Participant… 2012 ESPN Rise Watch List… 2011 ESPN Rise Winter All-America Team… 2011 High School Most Valuable Player, District 15 5A… 2010 Disney Showcase Champion (Academy Division)… 2010 First Team All-District 15 5A… 2010 Texas State Semi-finalist with Westlake High School… 2009 Central Texas Newcomer of the Year… set a Westlake record with five assists in one match and recorded 30 goals and 20 assists in three years of varsity competition… rated no. 20 in the state of Texas by… ranked no. 87 in the ESPNHS 150… Top Drawer Soccer Texas U-18 Top 20 List… AP Scholar Award 2011 in English… born August 23, 1993… son of Mitch and Kerry Haws…

Vidovich on Haws: "Thomas is a Wake Forest player. He's athletic, technical and a good passer. I recruited Thomas as a forward, but he may be best suited as holding midfielder. Maybe it's the fact that Thomas plays for youth coach Bruce Talbot of the Lonestar Soccer Club that accounts for his development, but he has already improved since he committed to us. I expect that Thomas will have a tremendous career in the Black & Gold."
Philip Parker - D/MF - 6-0 - 175 lbs. - Beaumont, Texas (Monsignor Kelly High School)

Played for Dallas Texans club under coach Carl Flemming… South Texas ODP State Team… John Mattingly Leadership Award Winner… two-time varsity team captain… led Monsignor Kelly in scoring as a junior with 24 goals and 10 assists… Super Gold League MVP… All-District, All-State honorable mention… Academic All-State… Houston Texans Soccer Academy (2008-12)… four year soccer letter winner… led team to state finals in 2009 and state semi-finals in 2010… also played varsity football and basketball as freshman… received John Mattingly Leadership award… born November 23, 1993… son of Scott Parker and Donna Parker… grandfather Richard Parker played collegiate basketball at the University of Maryland…

Vidovich on Parker: "He possess a quality left foot, has good size, pace and running range. He is capable of playing as a flank midfielder and wing back, so his versatility should provide him with plenty of opportunities to prove himself."
Ryan Perry - D - 6-2 - 170 lbs. - Louisville, KY (Collegiate)

Played under former Notre Dame Standout Brad Davies at Collegiate… captain of high school and club team… St. Xavier Rookie of the Year 2010… All-Conference Team… All-District Team… Soccer and Track Team Captain… All-State Academic… also ran track for three seasons… All-State Academic Team for Track in 2010 and 2011… head of school’s Academic List… born on March 23, 1994… son of Mitch and Donna Perry…

Vidovich on Perry: "We are excited about Ryan's potential. He was discovered at camp and all of us were impressed with his coach-ability as well as his ability to perform his role as either a wingback or central defender. Ryan is athletic – he runs the 400 meter – demonstrates leadership qualities, is focused, disciplined and, from what we experienced, capable of getting a lot better."
Jalen Robinson – D/MF - 5-9 – 145 lbs. - Catonsville, Md. (Mount Saint Joseph High School)

NSCAA High School All-American… recently camped with U.S. U-20 National Team along with current Wake Forest forward Sean Okoli… Starter on U.S. U-18 National Team… Also has national experience with U.S. U-15 and U-17 teams… U.S. Soccer Academy Select Team… Played for D.C. United under Coach Nolan Sheldon… rated no. 3 in 2012 Class by College Soccer News… ranked no. 13 in the 2012 class by… 2011 NSCAA High School Boys All-Region III Team… ranked no. 6 in the ESPNHS 150… born May 8, 1994… son of Kim and Tyrone Robinson…

Vidovich on Robinson: "He's probably coming in as gifted as anybody we've ever had. He’s a no-brainer in terms of what he can help us with, so we just can't wait to have him here. For us, he's going to be an impact player from the word, ‘go.’ I've seen him play several spots. With the U-18 team I've seen him as a holding, defensive mid and he has tremendous poise and composure there. For sure he will add athleticism and a ball-winning ability for us in the midfield. And same thing as a central defender, he's a special player."