Feb. 6, 2009
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MILWAUKEE -- Marquette University men's soccer head coach Louis Bennett announced Friday his incoming class for the 2009 season. In all, eight student-athletes have signed the National Letter of Intent or an Acceptance of Admission form to attend Marquette University this fall.
The talented class features a pair all-Americans and includes two recruits from the state of the Wisconsin, five out-of-state players and an international player.
Expected to play for the Golden Eagles beginning in the fall of 2009 are: Matt Leonard (Palatine, Ill.); Aaron Cranfill (New Berlin, Wis.); Anthony Selvaggi (Elmhurst, Ill.), Ryan Robb (Ampthill, England), Adam Lysak (Janesville, Wis.); Keith Sierra, (Tampa, Fla.), Andy Huftalin (Rockford, Ill.), and Andrew Krynski (Algonquin, Ill.).
"When I look at it, the incoming class as a whole seems to be equipped -- academically, mentally and athletically," said Bennett. "This has got to be one of the best classes we've recruited in a long time, simply because these guys have been preparing themselves for this experience. We want them as much as they wanted us, and they've forged out an opportunity for themselves at Marquette.
"One of the goals of this recruiting class was to address the need for some more attacking influence," said Bennett. "Obviously five, even six, of the eight guys all play in the front five positions -- three specific center forwards, some outside midfield forwards and some attacking midfielders. I'm really pleased that we've been able to put together a highly talented, very motivated and ambitious class."
||Hometown (Last School)
||Palatine, Ill. (William Fremd H.S.)
||Chicago Sockers FC
||New Berlin, Wis. (New Berlin West H.S.)
||Elmhurst, Ill. (York Community H.S.)
||Chicago Sockers FC
||Ampthill, England (Redbourne Upper School)
||Crystal Palace Academy, et al.
||Janesville, Wis. (Milton H.S.)
||Tampa, Fla. (Jesuit H.S.)
||Hillsborough County United
||Rockford, Ill. (Winnebago H.S.)
||Chicago Fire Academy
||Algonquin, Ill. (Marian Central Catholic)
||Chicago Sockers FC
Matt Leonard | 5-9 | 165 | MF | Palatine, Ill. | William Fremd H.S. | Chicago Sockers FC
Helped team to the sectional final his sophomore year at William Fremd High School ... Two-year starter on Vikings ... All-conference and all-sectional honoree his junior year ... All-area honorable mention as a sophomore ... Led Chicago Sockers FC as captain from U-16 to present ... Played with fellow freshman Anthony Selvaggi on the Sockers ... U-16 State Cup Champions with the Sockers ... Quarterfinalist in the Dallas Cup ... Personal ... Born May 29, 1991 ... Son of Frank and Marti Leonard ... Also played hockey in high school.
Coach Bennett on Leonard:
"Matt is one of the guys that plays in the back five positions. He's a destroying midfield player and for us, he will probably play anchor midfield. Matt is a proven winner and proven leader. He was the captain of the Chicago Sockers, one of the most successful academy programs in the county. He's one of those silent warriors that patrols the midfield and is extremely tough. Matt is a player who influences the game because of his character. The addition of Matt to our roster is going to give us a little bit of steel and some needed stability.
"He's going to compete for playing time, right from the word 'go.' The thing I really like about Matt Leonard is that he is going to enjoy competing. He loves that competitive edge. He's one of those hard enough Chicago guys, of which we have a few."
Aaron Cranfill | 6-3 | 180 | D | New Berlin, Wis. | New Berlin West H.S. | FC Milwaukee
A first team all-conference player for New Berlin West High School his sophomore, junior and senior years ... Honorable mention all-state selection as a junior ... Helped the Vikings defense hold the shutout record two years in a row ... Played for Billy Solberg with FC Milwaukee ... Team captain his freshman through junior seasons ... Helped FC Milwaukee to a state championship in 2007 ... Participant in the inaugural USSF Academy season ... Personal ... Born March 17, 1991 ... Oldest child of Brian and Jennifer Cranfill ... Mother, Jennifer, earned her MBA from Marquette ... Also played basketball in high school.
Coach Bennett on Cranfill:
"In Aaron, I think we have one of the best local guys and one of the best players out of Wisconsin. For us, I think he is the best local player because we needed a center defender and a specific type to add to our strength and depth. Aaron is a very conscientious soccer player. He has a very big appetite to learn and is very ambitious. Aaron has not come to sit on the bench, but to compete. He's not the only person that is capable of playing at Marquette, but he is the only player that we felt would have a great opportunity to do well at Marquette. He understands what Marquette is all about. We are always going to target, if there is a place on our squad, local players that have talent like Aaron. His size, speed, and appetite to become a better soccer player and better athlete is really going to help him become a very good college player. I'm really excited we've landed Aaron."
Anthony Selvaggi | 5-8 | 135 | MF/F | Elmhurst, Ill. | York Community H.S. | Chicago Sockers FC
A York Community High School product from Elmhurst, Ill. ... All-conference and all-sectional recognition ... All-WSC Silver Team selection ... Helped his high school squad win the West Suburban Conference for the first time in 11 years ... Recognized as York team MVP ... Led team with assists, second with goals ...Teammate of incoming recruit Matt Leonard and Andrew Krynski on Chicago Sockers FC ... Helped Sockers win the Disney Showcase tournament and state championship ... Led team to Dallas Cup semifinals ... In state final, tallied two assists and made a penalty kick to win the championship ... Member of 1991 Illinois Youth Soccer ODP National Championship Team ... Personal ... Born to Michael and Kimberly Selvaggi on April 30, 1991.
Coach Bennett on Selvaggi:
"I felt that we needed to balance up our right side with our left, and Anthony can help us there. Anthony is a player who has flair and is hot-blooded. He likes to attack and run at defenders. He has a knack for creating goals and scoring goals. Anthony puts a lot of high demands on himself and high demands on his teammates. He's going to be competing for a place that is hotly contested at outside right midfield. We felt we needed some flair and quickness on the outside right position. Anthony will compete right away with other players on our squad and I feel we have three players that are all going to enjoy the competition."
Ryan Robb | 5-8 | 130 | MF | Ampthill, England | Redbourne Upper School | Crystal Palace Academy
A native of England, captained his Redbourne Upper School team ... High school earned Bedfordshire Division winners and County Cup runner ups in 2008 ... Competed with club squad Barton Rovers FC ... 2008 Barton Rovers most improved player ... 2006 Milton Keynes Wanderers Player's Player ... Led team to Rushden and Diamonds Academy Cup .... Also played for Crystal Palace and Luton Town youth academy teams ... Personal ... Born Jan. 12, 1991 in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, England ... Son of James and Nicola Robb ... Played golf, cricket, rugby, and table tennis in high school ... Graduated high school with a perfect GPA.
Coach Bennett on Robb:
"Ryan Robb, as a junior, has had a great pedigree. He's an extremely smart soccer player. He has attacking flair, a great work ethic, and adds something different to our recruiting class. He's not a big guy, but he is used to playing at a high standard in a very intense British system. He can ride a tackle and looks to split pass. I'm very optimistic that as soon as he gets his feet on the ground and gets his "American legs," he's going to flourish in our kind of system. When Ryan came to Marquette for our high school camp, he loved Marquette and loved the way that we played. He's an extremely smart guy, and he's in it for the long haul. If you're going to go overseas, you want the complete picture, and Ryan has shown great character. He's a great student and he's a very good soccer player."
Adam Lysak | 5-10 | 160 | F | Janesville, Wis. | Milton H.S. | MYSC/ODP
Member of the Polish U-18 national team ... Was a first team all-state selection by the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association in 2008 ... Tallied 23 goals and 15 assists for 61 points his senior season while helping Milton High School advance to the semifinals of the WIAA Division 1 state tournament ... Unanimous choice as Southern Lakes Conference Player of the Year as a senior and was also named all-area Player of the Year by the Wisconsin State Journal ... Scored 32 goals with 13 assists in 20 games as a junior, earning second team all-conference accolades ... Owns the Milton High School scoring record ... Personal ... Born July 26, 1991 ... Son of Andrew and Anna Lysak.
Coach Bennett on Lysak:
"Very rarely you can get someone that's had international experience, that hasn't play for the U.S. When I saw him play I realized that this was a guy who had huge potential, potential as a top striker. He's played in international games that have given him insight to the kind of speed and intensity that is going to be required to play in the BIG EAST. He's one of these guys that we've addressed with our strike force. He's going to compete for playing time. I think Adam Lysak is a guy who has big ambition for Marquette and big ambition for himself. He realizes how important it is going to be for us to double or quadruple our goal output in the front five positions, and I think he sees himself contributing to that."
Keith Sierra | 5-8 | 140 | MF/F | Tampa, Fla. | Jesuit H.S. | Hillsborough County United
Was the top player for Jesuit High School, which finished the 2008 season with an overall record of 27-3-0 en route to a state semifinal showing ... Named an NSCAA/adidas All-American and ESPN RISE all-area honors following his senior season ... a team captain for both his Jesuit High School team and Hillsborough County United club team ... led Jesuit in assists as a a sophomore and junior and led team in points as a junior ... Personal ... Personal ... Born Aug.17, 1991 ... Son of Kevin and Diane Sierra.
Coach Bennett on Sierra:
"Keith Sierra has had great coaching and is a very well-rounded soccer player. He's a player that understands the game and is only beginning to really realize and fulfill his potential. He has a huge upswing. Because he is such a good soccer player, he understands the game. We're really happy and we're fortunate to get him. He's going to add something to our interior midfield. He can play wide midfield, he can play center midfield, he can keep the ball, he can cross the ball, he's tenacious in the tackle and he can finish. He's another one that's ambitious for himself but he is ambitious, first and foremost, for Marquette. That was the thing that impressed me about him."
Andy Huftalin | 5-11 | 165 | F | Rockford, Ill. | Winnebago H.S. | Chicago Fire Academy
Named to the 2008 NSCAA/adidas Boys High School All-America Team and to the All-Region V (Midwest) squad ... Two-time all-state selection and four-time unanimous All-Big Northern Conference honoree ... His 118 career assists while at Winnebago High School set an Illinois High School Association (IHSA) record, while his 134 career goals ranks seventh all-time in the IHSA ... Garnered all-sectional honors in 2006 and earned all-sectional honorable mention in 2005 ... Under head coach Mary Beth Elsen, helped Winnebago win the IHSA Class 1A state championship in 2008 ... Won four consecutive Big Northern Conference championship and four sectional championship while playing for the Indians ... Played for Louis Mateus' Chicago Fire Academy U18 squad that finished sixth in the academy finals, leading the team in scoring with 10 goals and nine assists ... Also spent four years playing with the Illinois Olympic Development Program .... Personal ... Born Dec. 2, 1990 ... Son of Carl and Amy Huftalin.
Coach Bennett on Huftalin:
"Andy Huftalin is touted as being one of the best players to ever come out of Rockford. He's ranked on the all-time high school scoring list. He's scored goals at every single level he's played. All teams are looking for a goal-scorer, and he knows where the goal is. He's going to add a dimension that we haven't had in the past, someone who just scores goals. Andy really, really wanted to play at Marquette and to play in the BIG EAST, and we really wanted him, so I think it's a match."
Andrew Krynski | 6-2 | 180 | F | Algonquin, Ill. | Marian Central Catholic | Chicago Sockers FC
Named a "rising star" by SoccerAmerica magazine, highlighting Krynski's four goals in three games during the 2007 Development Academy Nike Friendlies ... Helped Marian Central Catholic win three regional titles under head coach Mike Golda ... Was twice named first team all-area ... Under head coach David Richardson, is one of three incoming players (Matt Leonard and Anthony Selvaggi) to star for the Chicago Sockers FC team that is consistently ranked among the top club programs in the country ... Lists one of his favorite soccer memories as scoring the game-winning goal in a high school sectional semifinal match ... Personal ... Born Jan. 10, 1991 ... Son of Andrzej and Barb Krynski.
Coach Bennett on Krynski:
"Andrew Krynski is a bigger body, powerful, running forward. He's the kind of forward that is different from Andy Huftalin, Adam Lysak and Nick Kay. He's a guy that, over 20 or 30 yards, is powerful. He runs into holes, he adds a physical element and he has a good work rate and, in a positive sense, has an attitude. He's a guy that will add a different dimension to our strike force. I'm excited to have him, because he gives us another dynamic."
WREX TV 13 Rockford -- Huftalin Picks Marquette University (2/4/09)
WIFR TV 23 Rockford (2/2/09) -- Huftalin Commits to Marquette (2/2/09)
Madison Soccer Central -- European experience for Milton's Lysak (8/2/08)
Janesville Gazette -- Lysak photo (11/7/08)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel -- All-Area Team (11/23/08)
WLUK-TV Fox 11 -- WIAA Boys Soccer State Tournament (11/7/09)