MEN'S SOCCER SIGNS TWO TO NATIONAL LETTERS OF INTENT

DURHAM, N.H. - University of New Hampshire men's soccer head coach Rob Thompson has announced that two student-athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to attend the university and play for the Wildcats beginning in the 2006-07 academic year.

"We have addressed our biggest need: scoring goals," Thompson said. "Both players bring size, strength, power, and scoring to our team."

Joseph Annese (Attleboro, Mass.) just completed his fourth season of varsity soccer at Attleboro High School. The 6'3", 185-lb. forward finished as the school's all-time goals leader with 45 career goals and was named an Eastern Athletic Conference All-Star three times. Annese is also a two-time All-State and All-New England selection and has been honored as an All-Star by the Boston Herald and the Sun Chronicle and by the Boston Globe as a member of the 2005 All-Scholastic Team.

For the past three seasons, Annese has played club soccer for the South Shore United Blazers. He helped the team win the Massachusetts Premier League in 2004 and 2005 and advance to the Massachusetts State Cup Finals last year. Annese has also participated in the Juventus USA program and in the Bay State Games, captaining his squad in 2005.

"Annese has soft feet for a player of his size. He is a natural target and can hold the ball up top to create chances for teammates," said Thompson. "His upside in college is immense."

Chris Banks (Westborough, Mass.), a 6'2", 180-lb. forward, was a four-year starter for the varsity soccer team at Westborough High School. He is the school's all-time leader in points with 116, including six goals in the playoffs as a sophomore to help his team win the 2003 Division II State Championship. A three-time league All-Star and Central Massachusetts All-Star in 2005, Banks was named twice a Metrowest Daily News All-Star as well as a member of The Worcester Telegram and Gazette Super Team.

In club soccer, Banks plays for the Massachusetts Juventus USA team and was named the Most Valuable Player for the 2005 state champions. Ironically, his Juventus squad defeated Annese's club team for the 2005 State Cup Championship. The Juventus squad went on to the regional finals. Banks is also a four-year varsity starter for the Westborough High School basketball team and is on the verge of reaching the 1,000-point milestone for his career.

"Banks is versatile and I like his sheer competitiveness," Thompson said. "He is a powerful attacking player who can score with both feet and is especially dangerous in the air."

The University of New Hampshire, a member of the America East Conference, is coming off a 9-5-3 season and was ranked as high as 23rd nationally in 2005. The Wildcats finished fourth in the nation in goals against average (0.57) and lose only four players to graduation.

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