MEN'S COLLEGE: Maryland's Cirovski strikes it rich again

It would be hard to top a freshman class that featured three starters on the U.S. team that just returned from the World Youth Championship, but Maryland may have come close. Once again, head coach Sasho Cirovski has put together a recruiting class that is the envy of most programs around the country. The Terrapins reached the final four last fall with four players who made the Soccer America All-Freshman team: Taylor Twellman, Dan Califf and Nick Downing, who all started every match for the United States at the U-20 World Cup in Nigeria, and Beckett Hollenbach. Among the players joining them in College Park next fall are Parade Magazine Player of the Year Angelo Herrera, Ghanaian midfielders Sumed Ibrahim and Siba Mohammed, both out of Louisville, Ky., and goalkeeper Jacob Banas, who has been enrolled at the Bollettieri Academy in Florida. "In terms of filling holes, we have done an equal-type job" Cirovski said. After going to the semifinals with four freshman starters, Cirovski found the players he approached very receptive to becoming Terrapins. He had what could be termed a very efficient recruiting period. "We were very lucky," Cirovski said. "We were able to identify who we wanted early and went after them. We were basically done in late October, in terms of getting commitments from players." Herrera, a member of the U.S. U-18 team that is preparing for qualifying next year for the 2001 World Youth Championship, alone would make a recruiting coup. The Albuquerque, N.M., product scored 30 goals and had 19 assists in leading St. Pius X to its sixth straight state championship. "I think he's the most complete package, a combination of speed and quickness, of any player in the country," Cirovski said. "And he has an engine that doesn't stop." Ibrahim and Mohammed guided their Louisville club team, Javanon, to the U-16 national title in 1997. "They bring a real nice complement to our team," Cirovski said. "They are two of the top players in the country. They're very technical and cerebral. They have great instincts. "Sumed is a very dynamic player who can run at people. Siba is a very simple player who makes the game easy. He's only about 5-6, but he has the heart of a lion. We'll find a niche for him." Unless the three U-20 players turn pro -- Twellman received the most interest after scoring four goals in Nigeria -- Maryland looks primed to be the team to beat not only in the ACC, but in the country. "It could be the most talented team we've ever had," Cirovski said. "But we will be very young. The challenge is to find the right leadership and put players into the right positions. It may take us a while to get going on all cylinders, but I expect a lot from this team." Virginia and Wake fare well Two other ACC schools fared well in offseason recruiting. Virginia's group compares favorably to the '97 incoming class that included Chris Albright and Jason Moore. George Gelnovatch's top recruit is Kyle Martino, whom he describes as being in the mold of former Cav star Ben Olsen. Wake Forest picked up defender Aaron Thomas, who played on the U.S. team at the '97 Under-17 World Cup in Egypt and is considered by some the best manmarker in this year's crop. UCLA and Portland once again landed top prospects. UCLA's Sigi Schmid compares incoming striker Kyle Julian to former Bruin ace Eddie Lewis. Both are left-footed players. Clive Charles, likewise, fortified his Portland team with the addition of striker Conor Casey. Charles thought so much of Casey that he took him with the U.S. U-23 team on its recent trip to Brazil. (Poul Swain is an associate editor at Soccer America.)

SA Top 25 Men's Recruits

Player Hometown College
Jacob Banas Cedarburg, Wisc. Maryland
Curtis Spiteri Vista, Calif. Portland
Doug Warren Hoffman Estates, Ill. Indiana
Player Hometown College
Jonathon Cole Annapolis, Md. Virginia
Aaron Thomas Downingtown, Pa. Wake Forest
Scot Thompson Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. UCLA
Jason Thorpe Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. California
Kevin Wickart Lisle, Ill. Wake Forest
Player Hometown College
Guy Abrahamson Newark, N.J. Rutgers
Jay Alberts Sunset Hills, Mo. Yale
Carter Burgess Virginia Beach, Va. Virginia
Micah Cooks Burtonsville, Md. Undecided
Sumed Ibrahim Louisville, Ky. Maryland
Johanes Maliza Chicago Stanford
Kyle Martino Westport, Conn. Virginia
Siba Mohammed Louisville, Ky. Maryland
Nick Walls Milwaukee, Wisc. Saint Louis
Diego Walsh Miami SMU
Player Hometown College
Conor Casey Denver Portland
Ryan Gibbs Westchester, Pa. Virginia
Angelo Herrera Albuquerque, N.M. Maryland
Kyle Julian Carmichael, Calif. UCLA
Nino Marcantonio Potomac, Md. American
Fabio Tambosi Atlanta Clemson
David Testo Arden, N.C. South Carolina
Next monday: SA's top 25 women's college recruits
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