February 24, 2010

MEN'S SOCCER ANNOUNCES SIGNING OF FOUR STUDENT-ATHLETES

DURHAM, N.H. - Rob Thompson, head coach of the University of New Hampshire men's soccer team, recently announced that four student-athletes have signed letters of intent to attend UNH and play for the Wildcat soccer program in the fall.

"Coming off the year we had this season, there is a lot of excitement in our program," said Thompson. "With these commitments, I am optimistic we can continue to play a winning and exciting style next fall."

Robert Palumbo, a forward from East Kingston, N.H., will join the Wildcats this fall after completing a post-graduate year at Bridgeton Academy. At Bridgeton, Palumbo led the team in scoring with 18 goals and 13 assists as the Wolverines finished the 2009 season with a 14-0-1 record. The 2009 season will go down as the first ever undefeated team in Bridgton's history and included a victory over South Kent, the eventual NEPSAC Class B Champions. Prior to attending Bridgeton, Palumbo attended Sanborn Regional High School in Kingston, NH. A four-year letter winner and senior captain at Sanborn, he was named to the All-State First Team in 2007 and 2008. He currently plays for Seacoast United Soccer Club, which competes in the US Soccer Development Academy. Earlier this year, he was selected to attend the US Soccer Development Academy's Northeast Regional training camp in Connecticut. Before the Development Academy was set up, Palumbo led Seacoast United to the USYSA U16 Boys New Hampshire State Title and a Region 1 semi-final berth.  He will join former teammates Charlie Roche (Haverhill, Mass.) and Alex Hussein (Haverhill, Mass.) at UNH.  

"Robbie can play anywhere in midfield, but I see him making his biggest impact in a wide role," said Thompson. "He is exceptional with the ball, good in possession, can cross with both feet, and is a dangerous attacking option in the final third."

Steven Palumbo, a midfielder from East Kingston, N.H., will join his twin brother as a Wildcat this fall after completing a post-graduate year at Bridgton Academy. Palumbo captained the Bridgton team during their historic unbeaten 2009 season, starting every game and scoring 11 goals and posting seven assists. Before Bridgeton, Palumbo was a four-year letter winner and senior captain at Sanborn Regional High School in Kingston, N.H. He was named to the All-State First Team in both 2007 and 2008 and was an All-New England selection in 2008 after leading Sanborn to the Class M state final. Palumbo currently represents Seacoast United, which plays in the US Soccer Development Academy. He was named to the Development Academy's East Conference Starting XI team in both 2008 and 2009. Last year he was called into two US Men's National Team U18 training camps. In addition, TopDrawerSoccer.com also lists Palumbo as one of the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2010.   

"Steve is a dynamic attacking player, especially when running at players in midfield," said Thompson. "He is strong, technical, and his work rate is outstanding. He has a wide range of passing skills, is fearless in one-on-one battles and can both create and score goals."

Jeffrey Turner, a back from Blandon, Pa., will join the Wildcats this fall after leading Fleetwood High School to a 26-2-0 record on their way to a PIAA State Semi-Final finish in 2009. His senior run included the BCIAA Division II title, the BCIAA County title, and the PIAA District 3AA Championship. Turner was a two-time captain and a four-year letter winner at Fleetwood and was named the 2009 Fleetwood HS male athlete of the year.  His senior year accolades included being named the BCIAA League Player of the Year, a First Team All-State selection and a NSCAA Regional All-American. As a junior, Turner helped the Tigers to a 21-5-0 record and to the BCIAA Division II championship. He was an All-County selection in both 2008 and 2009. Turner plays club soccer in the US Soccer Development Academy with the PA Classics and prior to that he was a three-time EPA Olympic Development Program player. Turner joins former PA Classics alumni Jordan Thomas (Mohnton, Pa.), Ryan McNabb (Downingtown, Pa.) and Alex Russell (Harisburg, Pa.) at UNH.

"Jeff is a natural left-sided player who is comfortable on the flank in attack. He is a big, rangy defender who can pass, tackle, and cross with precision," said Thompson. "I like his ‘just doing my job' demeanor and he will bring a quiet confidence to our current team next fall."

Ugochukwu Uche, a back from Ann Arbor, Mich., will join the Wildcats this fall after scoring 13 goals as a senior captain for Pioneer High School. As a forward in high school, Uche garnered All-Conference, All-District, and All-State honors in 2009. Uche currently plays back for Vardar in the US Soccer Development Academy. Prior to joining Vardar, he was twice a USYSA State Cup Runner-Up, first with the Ann Arbor Arsenal and then with the Michigan Rush.

"Uche is as versatile as anyone in our program. He scored goals as a forward, can play out wide and is currently starting for a very talented Vardar Academy team at center-back," said Thompson. "His size, athleticism, speed and versatility will allow him to match up with almost anyone we play against."

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