DENVER The University of Denver men’s soccer team signed seven student-athletes to play for the Pioneers beginning next season, including a pair from the nation’s top 75, the Gatorade Colorado High School Player of the Year and a member of Canada’s U20 national team, head coach Bobby Muuss announced today.
Drew Beckie (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Nick Brant (Denver, Colo.), Nathan Sackeyfio (Seattle, Wash.), Blake Shannon (Houston, Texas), Alex Tarnoczi (Castle Rock, Colo.), Mark Weigand (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Josh Wren (Tulsa, Okla.) will all join Denver this fall.
“I believe this class is among the finest in the nation again. My staff and I have searched the country for what we feel is a great group of players and people with excellent character,” Muuss said. “I could not be more excited about the future of the program with this group of student-athletes joining the Denver soccer family. While we will be young again, I am looking forward to blending this class with our returning group next fall. With a new soccer stadium and this year’s recruiting class, it should be an exciting season for DU soccer in 2009.”
Following up on last year’s recruiting class, which was ranked 19th by College Soccer News, Denver’s 2009 class features players from five states and three USYSA regions. It features a U20 Canadian National Team member, the Gatorade Colorado Player of the Year, the No. 7 and No. 66 ranked recruits nationally by topdrawersoccer.com, six players with USYSA ODP experience and five players currently playing in US Soccer's Developmental Academy System.
The 2008 Pioneers earned their first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title with a near perfect 8-1-1 league record under the direction of second year head coach and two-time MPSF Coach of the Year Muuss. With an overall mark of 10-7-2, Denver also made its first NCAA National Tournament appearance since 1970.
Hometown: Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Current Club: Real Colorado U18 USSF Academy
Club Soccer/ USSDA: Spent entire youth career playing for Real Colorado coached by Lorne Donaldson, Kevin Fickes and Neil Payne.
ODP/ National Team Experience: U-17 Canadian National Team, 6 Caps (participating teams: United States, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Japan) played at 2007 Copa Chivas in Guadalajara, Mexico (participating teams: UAG Tecos, Atletico Paranaense FC, FC Catolica, Japanese National Team, Santos FC), and 2007 CONCACAF Qualifying in Kingston, Jamaica U-20 Canadian National Team Pool member and attended the Canadian U20 camp in January 2009 Was a member of the Colorado ODP 90’s State team and USYSA Region IV Team from 2005-07.
High School: Named Colorado first team all-state and All-Centennial League selection named the Centennial League Player of the Year.
Personal: Son of Sheila and the late Gary Beckie has three sisters: Alysha, Jenelle and Janine Canadian citizen born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada also considered Santa Clara, Virginia, Boston College, UC-Santa Barbara, UNC - Charlotte and was offered a spot in the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency Program.
Coach Muuss on Beckie “It is great to have a player of Drew’s pedigree join our program. He has had opportunities at the international level yet is continually striving to improve his game. He is a special athlete who has a great read of the game and has the ability to play multiple positions.”
Hometown: Denver, Colo.
Current Club: Colorado Rush U18 USSF Academy
Club Soccer/ USSDA: Currently plays for Coach Eric Bushey on the Colorado Rush U18 Academy has already recorded a hat trick against Lonestars in this season’s USSDA game led the U17 Nike Colorado Rush in scoring during the 2007-08 season, helping the team advance to the 2008 U17 Colorado State Cup Championship and a Region IV quarterfinal appearance also helped team to a Surf Cup Championship and competed in the inaugural Red Bull National League with the Rush.
High School: Played for Mullen HS and was the leading scorer as a junior and senior completed his senior season with a 16 Goals as a junior playing for Coach Jay McClain, helped lead Mullen to the 4A State Championship game named academic all-state first team and to the Arapahoe All-Tournament Team in 2007 played varsity soccer all four years and was named rookie of the year as a freshman and captain his senior year.
Personal: Son of Christy and Robert Brant has an older sister, Caitlin, and a younger brother, William also considered the Air Force Academy.
Coach Muuss on Brant “I think Nick is one of the best under the radar players in the 2009 class. He gets better by the minute and fits both our system and style of play very well. Nick has fantastic movements off the ball and has a very clever attacking game.”
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Current Club: Crossfire Premier U18 USSF Academy
Club Soccer/ USSDA: Currently plays for Bernie James Crossfire Premier U18 Academy played for Emerald City FC from 2001 to 2008 a two-time state cup finalist with ECFC attended the Manchester Cup and 2006 Disney Showcase with Crossfire.
High School: Played for Ingraham HS as a freshman and sophomore, acquiring the honorable mention award and the distinguished scholastic award.
ODP: Played on the Washington ’91 ODP team from 2003-06 was a Region IV Pool member in 2005.
Personal: Son of Priestwick and Carol Sackeyfio has two older sisters, Jenni and Julianna, who plays soccer for St. Martins University named high school basketball team captain also considered Oregon State.
Coach Muuss on Sackeyfio “Nate is a player we feel has a huge upside. He has a big frame and soft feet, and we believe he could play a variety of positions at the college level. He has scored goals as a forward with Crossfire Premier and also seen time along the back line. He is a player with great potential, and we are excited to add him to the family.”
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Current Club: Texas SC U18 USSF Academy
Club Soccer/ USSDA: Ranked as high as the 66th best player nationally in 2009 class by topdrawersoccer.com finished career in US Soccer's Developmental Academy with Texas SC previously served as team captain for Carl Flemming’s Texans FC squad started as defender for Houston Dynamo U18 Academy Team, which won the 2008 U19 Dallas Cup was a Dynamo teammate of current Pioneer Matt Kirby.
ODP: Member of South Texas ODP 91 State Team.
High School: Graduated early from Kingwood HS and will attended the University of Denver starting the spring quarter in March competed at Kingwood HS named greater Houston area defensive player of year as a sophomore and junior, all-region team as junior made honor roll, all-district academic in football as a sophomore, and in soccer as a sophomore and junior earned all-district as a sophomore and junior, and was voted most valuable player on freshmen team.
Personal: Son of Steve and LaCrisa Shannon has a brother, John Shannon also considered Indiana, Duke, Elon and UNC-Greensboro.
Coach Muuss on Shannon “I believe Blake is one of, if not the, top left sided players in the country. Having him join us this spring will only help his maturing process into the college game. He is good going forward and has fantastic athleticism and toughness.”
Hometown: Castle Rock, Colo.
Current Club: Real Colorado U18 USSF Academy
Club Soccer/ USSDA: Ranked No. 7 nationally by topdrawersoccer.com in the 2009 class 2008-09 Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year honorable mention All-American by ESPN RISE magazine named to the USDA Western Conference Starting XI in 2008 as a member of the Colorado Rapids Academy under Coach Brian Crookham won three straight USYSA Colorado state championships as a member of Storm Xtreme teammate of current Pioneer Zach Paul with Storm Xtreme and the Rapids.
ODP: Played at the 2007 Disney Showcase with the Region IV ODP Team participated on the Colorado 90 ODP State team from 2005-07.
High School: Named first team all-state and Colorado 4A Player of the Year after a tremendous high school career at Rock Canyon HS under Coach Sean Henning led team to an undefeated 15-0-3 4A State Championship his senior year, scoring 34 goals and 10 assists finished as the school’s all-time leading scorer.
Personal: Son of Tracie and Paul Tate, and Alex Tarnoczi Sr., a former professional soccer player has two sisters, Tarrah and Tiffany also considered Michigan State and UNLV.
Coach Muuss on Tarnoczi “Alex is a dynamic attacking player. He is very good running at people with the ball and is exciting to watch. He has shown an ability to create and score goals on a consistent basis. His change of pace and excellent technique make him very difficult for opposing teams to defend.”
Hometown: Fort Wayne, Ind.
Current Club: Fort Wayne Fever Academy
Club Soccer: Plays for Fort Wayne Fever Academy team coached by Bronn Pfeiffer and Bobby Poursanidis helped lead team to 2007 USYSA Indiana State Championship and 2006 runner-up won the Super Y League Boys Midwest Championship in 2008 and was named to the Super Y League National Pool competed for Fort Wayne Fevers PDL team in the summer of 2008 making appearances in seven games.
ODP: Played on the Indiana State ODP Team from 2005-07 and was named a Region II Alternate.
High School: Played at Northrop HS earning all-district and all-conference first team honors in 2006, 2007 and 2008 scored 17 goals and was named second team all-state as a senior honorable mention all-state as junior.
Personal: Son of Mary Ellen and Steve Weigand has a younger brother, Matt, and twin older siblings, David and Emily also considered Indiana, Brown, Notre Dame and Georgetown.
Coach Muuss on Weigand “Mark has an extremely well rounded game. Without a doubt Mark is the type of player who leads by example through his talent and work. With excellent soccer ability and a tenacious work ethic, I believe he will fit in our system very well.”
Hometown: Tulsa, Okla.
Current Club: Tulsa Soccer Club
Club Soccer: Started all eight years on Tulsa Soccer Club ’91, the most successful boy’s team in Oklahoma history six-time Oklahoma state champions and two-time USYSA Region III Champions led his team in scoring during fall 2007 Premier League West season won many national tournaments, including the 2008 Adidas Blue Chip Showcase helped team defeat three-time national champion Real SoCal to reach finals of the 2008 Dallas Cup.
ODP: Four-year member of Oklahoma State ODP team.
High School: Played four years on varsity for Jenks HS, including the state championship team as a freshman will compete in his final HS season at Jenks this spring.
Personal: Son of Doug and Terry Wren has one sister, Ashley also considered Wake Forest, Creighton, Memphis and Harvard.
Coach Muuss on Wren “Josh has a great ability to run at people and is one of the better servers of the ball that I have seen at the youth level. He has helped his TSC club team to success over the years, both as a wide midfielder and up front. We also like that he is another soccer junkie who is constantly working to improve his game.”