This year's recruiting class for the Maryland men's soccer team has splashes of new and old.
The new includes two recruits from Ghana, a republic in West Africa, marking coach Sasho Cirovski's first venture into that continent in his six seasons in College Park.
But the old remains the most important facet. For the second straight year, the Terps signed the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's High School Player of the Year to headline another impact freshman class.
Angelo Herrera, the top high school soccer player in the nation, comes to Maryland after leading St. Pius X of Albuquerque, N.M., to a 40-3-3 record the past two seasons, including back-to-back state championships and two Top 25 national rankings. The two-time high school All-America forward is also a member of the U.S. under-18 national team.
"He's going to contribute immediately, without a doubt," Cirovski said. "He can play wide midfield or striker. He's got tremendous ability."
The NSCAA's High School Player of the Year in 1997, Taylor Twellman, led Maryland in scoring last season as a freshman, helping the Terps to their first final four appearance in three decades. Maryland, which had the country's top recruiting class in 1998, started freshmen last year at forward and at all three back-line positions. So this year's main objective was to replenish the midfield, where the Terps lost three starters, as well as to complement last year's freshman group.
"This year's class fills the needs of what we graduated," Cirovski said. "All four players we signed, in my opinion, are among the nation's best. They add to the depth and attacking style we've grown accustomed to here."
What sets this group apart is its international flavor, with Sumed Ibrahim and Siba Mohammed, who were both midfielders the past four years at the Walden School in Louisville, Ky. Ibrahim, the consensus NSCAA Kentucky High School Player of the Year, and Mohammed, an all-state performer, made names for themselves as part of the club team, Javanon of Louisville, which won the 1997 Under-16 Youth Soccer National Championship -- the first national crown for a club team from Kentucky.
The fourth member of the class is Scott Buete of Bowie. A natural left-footed midfielder, Buete is a Region I team member and is ranked No. 1 academically at Bowie High School.
"Ibrahim and Mohammed have played at a high level enough that they will come here and play right away," Cirovski said. "Buete is going to surprise a lot of people. He'll have the same impact over his career as [Fallston's] Shane Dougherty had here."
Maryland expects to round out its class with the signing of two Wisconsin players, goalkeeper Jacob Banas and midfielder Brad Falk, who have made oral commitments to the Terps. Banas, an all-state striker as a senior, is considered one of the top two goalkeeper recruits in the nation, and Falk was an all-state selection last season.
Pub Date: 2/15/99