DURHAM, N.H. - University of New Hampshire head men's soccer coach Rob Thompson announced Monday the completion of the 2002 recruiting class with six additional freshman that will join the program. The six are Mike Card (Amherst, N.H.), Jason Kantapin (Manchester, N.H.), Jonathan Burg (New Milford, Conn.), Ryan Eaton (Horsham, Pa.), Matt Pachniuk (Newtown, Conn.) and Scott Welle (Branchville, N.J.).
"We are very excited about this year's class," said Thompson, who saw his team advance to the America East tournament for the first time since 1994 last fall. "The new guys should complement the returning nucleus from last year. We feel we have identified our needs and we are looking for these guys to compete for playing time."
Card, a 5-9 midfielder, was a four-year member of the varsity soccer team at Souhegan HS, where he was a teammate of current Wildcat Tyler Jackson. This past season Card was a First-Team All-State selection and selected to play in the annual Lion's Cup game that pits senior all-star squads from New Hampshire and Vermont against each other. He was also a Nashua Telegraph and Milford Cabinet first team selection. Card played club soccer with the Bedford Classics for five seasons and has four years experience with the Olympic Development Program (ODP).
Kantapin, a member of the varsity soccer team at Manchester West HS for four seasons, was an All-State selection in each of the last two seasons. He was an integral part of a Blue Knight team that captured the 2000 Class L championship and was runner-up in 2001. A 5-7 defender Kantapin also has three years of ODP experience and played club soccer for Nashua World Cup.
Burg, a 5-11midfielder, played four years of varsity soccer at New Milford HS. Serving as team captain, Burg was All-Conference three times and a member of the All-Divison Colonial team two times. Burg was named team MVP this past season and was also named to the News-Times All-Area Team. His club team, Redding United, captured the Connecticut Premier League championship in 2001.
A 5-11 forward, Eaton served as team captain this past season at Hatboro-Horsham HS. He was named First Team All-Suburban I in 2000 and 2001, and his team captured the Liberty Division championship in 1999 in 2000. Eaton broke the school record for assists in a season in 2000, and most recently played his club soccer with Council Rock Blast.
Pachniuk was the starting goaltender for a Newtown HS team that finished 19-1 and was ranked No. 19 in the nation this past season. He recorded 15 shutouts en route to being named Class LL All-State as well as All-Conference, the second-straight year Pachniuk garnered those honors. Pachniuk was also named team MVP and was a captain of the squad. He also has two years of ODP experience, and last year was team MVP of Manchester Premier Fire, the Connecticut Open Cup Under-17 champions.
A versatile player, Welle will be looking for playing time in the backfield. Welle was a four-year varsity starter at Kittatinny Regional HS and also served as a team captain. He finished last season with eight goals and 18 assists, with his helper total leading the conference. Welle garnered All-Area and All-State honors his senior season. For the past six years, Welle has played club soccer with MatchFit Academy, winning three state titles in the past five years. Last season, Welle was the starting sweeper on New Jersey's 1982-83 ODP team.
"Any of our incoming players have a chance to crack the lineup if they come in prepared. Fitness is the key," said Thompson. The men's soccer team opens the 2002 season with the 13th annual Nike Fall Soccer Classic on August 30th and September 1st.