As preseason approaches, UConn men’s soccer formally announced its incoming class for this season featuring eleven freshman and two transfers. In addition to the five graduating seniors, the Huskies must also replace six departing underclassmen from last year’s 8-8 team.
Niko Petridis, Nic Apostol, DeAndre Brown, Bailey Bassett, Matheus Souza, and Aaron Deng are all leaving Storrs. Petridis was a fleet-footed sophomore who gave opponents fits on the flanks as a winger a year ago. Apostol, a freshman, played more centrally between midfield and defense. Between the two, UConn must replace five goals and four assists.
So, who’s up for the task? UConn announced 13 additions to the program. Five are from Connecticut, two hail from New Jersey and one from Massachusetts and New York apiece. Four come from outside the United States; two from Canada, plus representation in Germany, France, and Senegal. Overall, the new Huskies span three continents and four countries.
Robin Lapert will be transferring in from the University of Charleston. He led the Charleston Golden Eagles to the 2017 Division II National Championship, and notched five goals and one assist last season. Lapert is one of two frenchman on the team, joining sophomore attacker Blaise N’Gague.
The other transfer is Alex Patz, formerly of Hartwick College. Patz started eight games as a freshman, and was a NSCAA All-East Region Team and All-NYS Team in 2016 at Ithaca High School in New York.
Local talent Arthur Silva comes from Bethel, CT but plied his trade for Beachside Soccer Club, serving as captain of the U-16 Pre-Academy and U-19 teams. Beachside is a prominent club in Fairfield County, where former pro soccer player Kyle Martino got his start.
Beachside will also send Sean Martin Jr. out of Bridgeport up to Storrs. He started in 17 of 19 game appearances for the Beachside team in 2016-17.
Another local piece added was Ryan Greenberg, out of Tolland High School. The two-time captain was voted in the New England Soccer Journal as Connecticut’s Top 5 Players to watch.
Also opting to stay in-state was Keith Dixon out of E.O. Smith and Oakwood, both powerhouses in high school and club, respectively. He ran track & field at E.O. Smith High School as well.
Connor Fitzgerald rounds out the local representation. Out of Monroe, CT and Fairfield Prep, Fitzgerald played club ball for Everton FC in Westchester, NY.
Cristian Suvak comes from Winchester, Mass. and played his club soccer for the New England Aztec and previously for the Boston Bolts.
Ibrahima Diop will join the team this fall out of Pennington School, New Jersey. He is a two-time All-American, and last December played in the Boys High School All-American Game last December in Orlando. Originally from Saint-Louis, Senegal, he was called up to the U-20 Senegalese National Team for two qualifying games against Congo.
Also out of New Jersey is goalkeeper Shane Kennan from Hazlet, N.J. Keenan played in the Boys High School All-American Game last December as well, and holds the state record for number of shutouts.
Heading north of the border, Steffen Yeates comes out of Toronto, Ontario. Yeates is a member of the United Soccer League (USL) team Toronto FC II, and also plays for the Canadian U-17 national team, appearing in the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Panama.
Toronto FC II will also send goalkeeper Gianluca Catalano, who recorded 20 saves in four appearances in 2018. Catalano was the starting keeper in Italian Serie A in Viareggio Cup Tournament, and earned a 1-1 draw against Juventus F.C., the Italian giant’s youth club. He was a teammate of Yeates for the Canadian U-17 national team.
Lastly is Felix Metzler. Metzler comes from Frankfurt, Germany, where he played for the Stuttgarter Kickers out of the Oberliga Baden-Württemberg region. His previous club experience includes FC Eschborn and FSV Frankfurt II.
UConn will play its first game at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium on campus on Aug. 13 against Colgate in an exhibition. The regular season begins on Aug. 24, when the Huskies take on Lehigh at Morrone Stadium.