BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Tech men’s soccer team and head coach Mike Brizendine announced the signing of eight student-athletes to National Letters of Intent on Monday. The 2012 signing class of Hunter Jecius, Dan Lauretano, Deven Mason, Josh Penn, Connor Pompilio, Shane Rose, Wes Saupe and Connor Swartz will play their freshman season of soccer this fall in Blacksburg.
“We’re very excited about this group joining our program,” said Brizendine. “We have talented young men in this class who are good soccer players, do well in the classroom and have outstanding character, and those are the things we look for every time we put a class together.”
“Our team dynamic is very good right now and I think this group will blend in nicely with our returners,” continued Brizendine. “In addition, as with any class, a goal is to add some depth to push the first team guys, and I think we’ve accomplished that with this group.”
The class consists of five Virginia natives, two from New Mexico and one from California. Four of the signees have been teammates at the club level as Jecius and Mason played together for the New Mexico Rush Nike Argonauts ‘94, while Penn and Pompilio teamed up for Regional FC 93 in Northern Virginia.
The signees are listed below alphabetically, along with comments from Coach Brizendine.
6’3” | 177 lbs.
Hobbs, N.M. | Hobbs
New Mexico Rush Nike Argonauts ‘94
Jecius earned three varsity letters at Hobbs High School in soccer, playing a variety of positions. He was named first team All-District, honorable mention All-State and team MVP as a senior in 2011. As a junior, Jecius was a second team All-District pick, while earning the team’s Best Offensive Player award. The Hobbs, N.M., native also helped his high school team to two district titles and an appearance in the state quarterfinals. He played his club ball with fellow Tech signee Deven Mason for the New Mexico Rush Nike Argonauts ’94, who earned a highest national ranking of No. 6. In 2011, the team won the U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV Championship and played in the National Championship tournament in Phoenix, Ariz. Jecius also was a member of the New Mexico Rush Nike team that captured the New Mexico State Cup title and made a regional semifinal appearance in 2010. Playing for the Olympic Development Program’s (ODP) New Mexico state team, Jecius was a starter for three years and attended the ODP regional camp three times, where he earned All-Star honors twice. He also earned a varsity letter in basketball, playing hoops for two years and helping the team to a conference championship in 2009. In the classroom, Jecius was a member of the National Honor Society and earned the highest GPA on the soccer team all four years.
Coach Brizendine’s comments on Jecius: “Hunter has great size and good feet for a big guy. He’s a young man who when he gets stronger, will be a force in the back. He reads the game well and will help us achieve our goals defensively.”
5’7” | 145 lbs.
Chester, Va. | Thomas Dale
Richmond Kickers Academy
Lauretano has been a starter in his first three years playing soccer at Thomas Dale High School, where he has been a three-time first team All-District pick. He earned first team All-Region and All-State accolades as a junior, while garnering the Central District Player of the Year award. He was also named team MVP and a Richmond Times-Dispatch Athlete of the Month. The midfielder was a first team All-Region selection, while earning honorable mention All-State as a sophomore and also received the team Rookie of the Year award as a freshman. The Chester, Va., native will play his final season of high school this spring. Lauretano has played his club ball for the Richmond Kickers Academy for the past eight years, serving as captain for the U16 and U18 squads. While playing for the Richmond Kickers, he attended the National Super Y-League tournament in 2009. In the classroom, Lauretano has earned the 3.0 and higher GPA award twice and has received All-Academic awards in soccer at the district, regional and state levels.
Coach Brizendine’s comments on Lauretano: “Dan can play a number of attacking positions for us. He’s quick, powerful, has a very good left foot and a nose for the goal. He has a desire to win and we think he can come in and be an impact player right away.”
5’10” | 160 lbs.
Albuquerque, N.M. | Eldorado
New Mexico Rush Nike Argonauts ‘94
Mason earned four varsity letters in soccer at Eldorado High School, captaining the team for two years. A member of two state championship teams, Mason was a two-time first team All-District, All-Metro and All-State pick. He was named District Player of the Year and participated in the inaugural National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) High School All-American game for the West All-American team in 2011. Tabbed as a “Player to Watch” by the Albuquerque Journal and Top Drawer Soccer, Mason helped Eldorado achieve a highest national ranking of No. 8. He played his club ball for the New Mexico Rush Nike Argonauts ’94 with fellow Tech signee Hunter Jecius and was selected for the U17 Rush Select national team. He helped his club win the U.S. Youth Soccer New Mexico State Cup and Region IV Championships tournaments. An Academic All-State pick in soccer, the Albuquerque, N.M., native also played basketball for one year in high school.
Coach Brizendine’s comments on Mason: “Deven is an exciting player to watch. His athleticism alone brings a different dimension to our team. I can see him playing both in the back and in the midfield. He has all the physical tools to make an impact and wants to compete, so that will only help him in the transition to the college game.”
6’1” | 152 lbs.
Fairfax, Va. | James W. Robinson
Regional FC 93
Entering his senior season of high school soccer, Penn has earned two varsity letters at James W. Robinson Secondary School, helping the team to the district playoffs in 2011. He has played his club ball for Regional FC 93, along with fellow Tech signee Connor Pompilio. Penn was the goalkeeper for the RFC squad that advanced to the semifinals of the Virginia State Cup three times, winning the State Cup once, while also winning the U.S. Youth Soccer Colonial League and achieving a highest national ranking of No. 8. The Fairfax, Va., native was also a member of the Virginia and Region I Olympic Development Program teams, where he played in Austria and the Czech Republic in 2007 and won a U.S. Club Soccer national title in 2008. He was also tabbed as one of the top-22 players in the D.C. Metro area by ESPN Recruiting.
Coach Brizendine’s comments on Penn: “Josh is a very good technical goalkeeper and communicates well. I think next year our most competitive position will be the goalkeeper position. By adding Josh to our three returners, we will have a complete complement of goalkeepers and I think the training environment among the group will be outstanding.”
6’0” | 165 lbs.
Ashburn, Va. | Briar Woods
Regional FC 93
Pompilio, like Penn, has played his club soccer for Regional FC 93. He will play in his final season of high school soccer at Briar Woods High School this spring, having earned three varsity letters, while leading Briar Woods in scoring each of his three years on the varsity. The Ashburn, Va., native has played with RFC 93 for five years, helping the team win the Virginia State Cup in 2011, while making also semifinal appearances in the state cup in 2009 and 2010. In the classroom, Pompilio has been a three-year recipient of an academic letter.
Coach Brizendine’s comments on Pompilio: “Connor will play in the attack for us. He’s a very hard worker and scores goals. Once he gets adjusted to the pace of play at the college level, we think he can contribute for us. Right now, he’s at a very good starting point and we look forward to working with him.”
6’0” | 160 lbs.
Charlottesville, Va. | Albemarle
Rose is entering his third season of varsity soccer Albemarle High School, where he has served as the team captain. He has played club soccer for the SOCA Lightning for nine years, captaining the team for the past four years. The Charlottesville, Va., native was selected the Virginia Club Champions League All-Star team and to the U.S. Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program Region I team. In the classroom, Rose has been a class advisor and on the honor roll all four years. He is also a member of the National Honor Society.
Coach Brizendine’s comments on Rose: “Shane came to our camp and impressed the whole coaching staff. And since that camp, he has continued to impress us. He’s a natural left back who likes to get forward and start the attack. He tackles hard, wins headers and we look forward to adding him into our group of defenders.”
5’11” | 170 lbs.
Midlothian, Va. | Cosby
FC Richmond Magic
Saupe enters his senior campaign of high school soccer having played in every game for Cosby High School during his first three years on the varsity, while helping the Titans to three district titles and a regional championship during his freshman season. As a junior in 2011, he was a first team All-District and second team All-Region and All-Metro pick. He has also earned All-Academic awards and been a member of the Academic Honor Roll for three years. The Midlothian, Va., native has played club soccer for FC Richmond Magic for the past seven years, helping the team win the U18 Virginia Club Champions League.
Coach Brizendine’s comments on Saupe: “Wes is a strong, athletic midfielder, who can play one and two touch. We look forward to getting Wes in the midfield and seeing what he can do. He’s a great team player and with his technical ability, I think he will be a positive player for us.”
5’7” | 150 lbs.
Cameron Park, Calif. | Ponderosa
California Development Academy
Swartz has played two years of high school soccer for Ponderosa High School, earning Delta River All-League and team MVP honors as a junior. He also helped the team win the Sierra Valley Conference title as a freshman. Playing his club ball for the California Development Academy, Swartz played on a team that twice made an appearance in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs and advanced to the finals of the San Diego Surf Cup, winning the tournament in 2009. The Cameron Park, Calif., native was also a member of the California North Olympic Development Program state pool for two years. He also participated in football as a placekicker his senior year. In the classroom, Swartz is a member of the National Honor Society.
Coach Brizendine’s comments on Swartz: “Connor brings some versatility to our program. He can play outside back, wide midfield and in a central midfield position. He’s a smart player and a leader by example.”
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