MORAGA, Calif. -- After saying goodbye to the most successful class in school history last fall, Saint Mary's men's soccer coach Adam Cooper knew he would need a group of newcomers that could successfully compete right away.
With today's announcement of nine talented student-athletes joining the program this fall, Cooper believes he has a group that can do exactly that.
The incoming class of newcomers set to arrive on campus when the Gaels report for fall training on August 13 are twin defenders Alex and Ben Braman of Niwot, Colo.; midfielder Ever De La Torre of Pasadena, Calif.; midfielder Nathan Grixti of San Ramon, Calif.; goalkeeper Andrew Konstantino of Hercules, Calif.; midfielder Josue Mendoza of San Jose, Calif.; forward Matt Reiser of Redding, Calif.; midfielder Rafael Sanchez of Selah, Wash.; and forward Justin Schrager of Omaha, Neb.
"I'm very excited about the potential of this year's incoming class of student-athletes," said Cooper, who owns the best winning percentage of any head coach in program history. "As a whole, this class will make an immediate impact on our team and we have the potential to challenge for the West Coast Conference title this year. They are also all strong academically, have solid character and fit well within the culture of Saint Mary's.
"The last two classes form the nucleus of our team for the next several years. They both are young, motivated, hard-working and have the attributes that can help us sustain the success we've enjoyed the last few years. We were able to sign quality players at every position that have great experience with their academy or club teams and have played in big-time games against big-time opponents."
Saint Mary's is coming off its most successful four-year stretch since the program began in 1978. During that period, the Gaels have won 60 percent of its matches, earned two NCAA Tournament appearances and advanced to the 2011 NCAA Sweet 16 after winning the program's first West Coast Conference title.
The Gaels return seven starters and 14 letterwinners from last year's team that went 9-5-5 and finished third in the WCC with a 5-4-3 mark.
2013 Saint Mary's Men's Soccer Newcomers
|Alex Braman||D||6-1||Fr.||HS||Niwot, Colo. (Niwot)|
|Ben Braman||D||6-1||Fr.||HS||Niwot, Colo. (Niwot)|
|Ever De La Torre||MF||5-9||Fr.||HS||Pasadena, Calif. (Marshall)|
|Nathan Grixti||MF||5-10||Fr.||HS||San Ramon, Calif. (California)|
|Andrew Konstantino||GK||6-3||Fr.||HS||Hercules, Calif. (De La Salle)|
|Josue Mendoza||MF||5-8||Fr.||HS||San Jose, Calif. (Leigh)|
|Matt Reiser||F||5-9||So.||Tr||Redding, Calif. (Foothill / Foothill College)|
|Rafael Sanchez||MF||5-7||Fr.||HS||Selah, Wash. (Selah)|
|Justin Schrager||F||5-11||Fr.||HS||Omaha, Neb. (Creighton Prep)|
6-1, 160, Freshman
Niwot, Colo. (Niwot High School)
A 2013 graduate of Niwot (Colo.) High School … lettered for prep varsity team as a freshman and sophomore … led team to prep state title as a freshman in 2009 … scored three goals as a freshman and five as a sophomore … club team in 2009 won state cup … played centerback for the Colorado Rapids Academy youth program for head coach Brian Crookham … selected to Rapids MLS adidas Generation Cup team in 2011 … Rapids finished sixth nationally in USSDA in 2012 … played with Rapids’ reserve team against the Chicago Fire reserves … twin brother, Ben, will also be a freshman on the Saint Mary’s men’s soccer team in 2013 ... father, Mark, lettered three seasons at defensive back and won two Big Ten titles under coach Bo Schembechler for Michigan from 77-79.
6-1, 160, Freshman
Niwot, Colo. (Niwot High School)
A 2013 graduate of Niwot (Colo.) High School … lettered for prep varsity team as a freshman and sophomore … led team to prep state title as a freshman in 2009 … scored four goals as a freshman and six as a sophomore … club team in 2009 won state cup … all-league selection as a sophomore … played for the Colorado Rapids Academy youth program for head coach Brian Crookham … selected to Rapids MLS adidas Generation Cup team in 2011 … Rapids finished sixth nationally in USSDA in 2012 … twin brother, Alex, will also be a freshman on the Saint Mary’s men’s soccer team in 2013 ... father, Mark, lettered three seasons at defensive back and won two Big Ten titles under coach Bo Schembechler for Michigan from 77-79.
Ever De La Torre
5-9, 150, Freshman
Pasadena, Calif. (Marshall Fundamental High School)
A 2013 graduate of Marshall Fundamental High School in Pasadena, Calif. … played club soccer for Chivas USA’s Youth Academy under coach Keith Costigan … Chivas ranked eighth in USSDA in 2012 … played for LAFC prior to Academy experience … participated in Cal South ODP and U.S. National Team camps as a youth … played two seasons of high school soccer, both as a varsity letterwinner … team MVP and all-league as a sophomore … earned second-team all-LA County as a sophomore.
5-10, 155, Freshman
San Ramon, Calif. (California High School)
A 2013 graduate of California High School in San Ramon, Calif. … played club soccer for Diablo FC for Saint Mary’s assistant coach Leonard Griffin … team won 2011 Surf Cup and 2012 Western College Development Association (WCDA) titles … played for Chris Faidley at Cal High … team went undefeated in the East Bay Athletic League and advanced to North Coast Section finals as a sophomore in 2011 … 3-time all-EBAL honoree … 2nd team all-East Bay by the Contra Costa Times … 2 year team captain and team MVP as a senior … team offensive player of the year as a junior … also lettered in football and was an all-EBAL selection as a kicker.
6-3, 200, Freshman
Hercules, Calif. (De La Salle High School)
A 2013 graduate of De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif. … played for Saint Mary’s graduate Derricke Brown at De La Salle … a 4-year letterwinner at goalkeeper and 3-time first-team all-East Bay Athletic League selection … team won two EBAL and three North Coast Section titles … posted shutouts in all three title games … registered 13 shutouts as a senior … all-East Bay by the Contra Costa Times … team Defensive MVP as a senior … played club soccer for Diablo FC for Saint Mary’s assistant coach Leonard Griffin … team won 2011 Surf Cup and 2012 Western College Development Association (WCDA) titles.
5-8, 165, Freshman
San Jose, Calif. (Leigh High School)
A 2013 graduate of Leigh High School in San Jose, Calif. … lettered four seasons in soccer, scoring 23 goals with 25 assists … led team to Blossom Valley Athletic League title as a junior .. three-time all-league selection … Central Coast Section Freshman of the Year in 2010 and Junior of the Year in 2012 … team MVP as a junior … played club soccer for PAC Tigres under coach Sergio Rico … team won 2012 state title and advanced to Region IV finals … semifinalists at Dr Pepper Dallas Cup in 2013.
5-9, 170, Sophomore
Redding, Calif. (Foothill)
A 2012 graduate of Foothill High School in Palo Cedro, Calif. … a 3-time all-Sacramento River League selection under coach John Waters … also lettered in track and field … team Most Valuable Player … league leader in goals and points as a junior and senior … played club soccer for coach Brian Crane at Redding Surge … played one season at Foothill College in Los Altos, Calif. … helped team to a 7-7-6 record and second-place tie in the South Division of the Coast Conference.
5-7, 150, Freshman
Selah, Wash. (Selah High School)
A 2013 graduate of Selah (Wash.) High School … lettered two seasons in soccer as a freshman and sophomore … earned first-team all-league honors and advanced to state championships twice … played academy soccer for Crossfire Premier under head coach Bernie James … selected to participate in U17 national team camp residency by U.S. Soccer and was a member of the national team pool.
5-11, 165, Freshman
Omaha, Neb. (Creighton Prep)
A 2013 graduate of Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, Neb. … played club soccer for Omaha FC for coach Mike Dean … led club team to 4-straight state championships (2009-12) and regional semifinal appearance in 2012 … team also won the Plano (Texas) Labor Day Invitational twice … club team’s leading scorer … played for coaches Thomas Hoover and Jim Swanson at Creighton Prep … led team to state titles as a sophomore and junior … team captain as a senior … team assist leader … lettered three seasons in varsity soccer … also lettered in power lifting and earned bronze medal at 2010 state championships.