PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The nine members of the 2018 Rutgers men's soccer recruiting class was announced on Wednesday by head coach Dan Donigan.
The Scarlet Knights welcome spring semester transfers Kevin Silva and Vincenzo Pugliese along with incoming transfers Miles Franklyn and Jordan Hall, New Jersey products Nick Cruz, Dominik Demcak, Thomas DeVizio and Andrew Murray, and California native Seth Turner.
"All in all, we are happy with what these guys can bring to our program on and off the field," said Donigan of the incoming Scarlet Knight class. "We need a workman-like attitude to succeed in this conference and throw talent on top of it all. Success does not happen overnight and we have some ingredients to be very competitive on the field next fall. We are looking forward to bringing these guys into a core of returning players that with the right mindset, drive, passion and beliefs, can do some damage.
The staff preaches that it is a team effort everyday in training and in games that will help us fight in the Big Ten. Everyone is expected to 'Do Their Job' from the coaching staff, support staff and student-athletes. If you want to give your team a chance to play a long season, everyone must be selfless and committed to the end goal no matter what obstacles, hardships and luck you face. We will work to get back to where we were and that is fighting for a conference championship and earning respect across the country."
Silva, a native of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, arrives "On The Banks" after playing the last two seasons with UCLA totaling a 1.66 goals against average and .709 save percentage with 122 saves and seven shutouts. As a freshman, he ranked 12th in the NCAA and topped the Pac-12 in saves averaging 5.00 per game. Prior to joining the Bruin roster, Silva was a two-time All-American and ranked as the best goalkeeper in the country, No. 13 overall in the IMG 150 by Top Drawer Soccer and No. 6 in College Soccer News' Top 150. A consistent starter for the U.S. U-19 and U-17 Men's National Teams, he was called up twice for the U-19 squad for the 2016 Copa de Atlantico and 2016 Under-20 Men's COTIF Tournament. With the U-17 team, Silva earned the Golden Glove award as the 2013 Nike International Friendlies' top goalkeeper, registered four shutouts in 2014 and was on the roster for the 2015 FIFA U17 World Cup.
Donigan on Silva: "Kevin was able to join us for the spring semester and has already made an enormous positive impact on the team. He has everything we look for in a goalkeeper - shot-stopping, distribution, leadership qualities and 'X' factor. Kevin brings a lot of high-level International experience with him from his time with the United States Youth National Teams and we're excited that he has joined our program."
Pugliese, who hails from West Windsor, New Jersey, returns to his home state after spending his freshman season at St. John's. He graduated as West Windsor-Plainsboro North's all-time leading scorer and was named the Colonial Valley Conference Midfielder of the Year in 2016. As a senior, Pugliese led the Knights to the Colonial Valley Conference division title behind 21 goals and four assists and was named a TeamSnap Fall State Star by TopDrawerSoccer. During his scholastic career, he was a two-time CVC First Team All-Conference selection and three-time Trenton Times All-Area Team honoree. Pugliese also led Match Fit Academy to three New Jersey State Cup titles and the Disney Showcase National Championship in 2015.
Donigan on Pugliese: "Vincenzo is a local talent who the coaching staff is very familiar with from his club and high school soccer days in the area. He is tough, hard-working and physical, three traits that you cannot live without in the Big Ten. We look forward to him giving us a boost along the back line or in midfield."
Franklyn returns home to New Jersey after spending his freshman season at Syracuse. Prior to joining the Orange, Franklyn was recognized as the No. 98 recruit by TopDrawerSoccer, a 2016 TopDrawerSoccer High School All-American and 2016 All-New Jersey First Team selection out of Bergen Catholic High School. The Teaneck, New Jersey native totaled 49 goals and 21 assists during his high school career. Franklyn was also a member of Match Fit Academy where he won the 2015 Disney Boys Showcase and 2015-16 New Jersey State Cup championships.
Donigan on Franklyn: "Another New Jersey player, Miles is 'coming home' to Rutgers after beginning his career in the ACC at Syracuse University. He can play center forward on his own or with a partner, as well as playing on either wing. His ability to run at defenders 1v1 and move without the ball will make him a constant threat to opponents' backlines."
Hall, who comes to Rutgers from Manchester, England, via Mississippi Gulf Coast College, was a two-time All-American and United Soccer Coaches Junior College Scholar All-American in 2018. In his two seasons with the Bulldogs, Hall collected a total of 57 goals and 24 assists. As a freshman at MGCC, Hall was second in NJCAA Division I with 28 goals, and added 12 assists along with being named a National Soccer Coaches Association of America NJCAA Division I All-American First Team, All-South Region First Team, NJCAA Division I All-American Second Team and All-Region 23 Team. This past fall, the forward finished tied for third in the country with 29 goals, while adding NJCAA First Team and USC Second Team All-American honors to his resume and participated in the MACJC All-Star Game.
Donigan on Hall: "Jordan comes to us from England by way of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where he emerged as one of the top JUCO players in the nation the past two years. He is a proven goal scorer with the instincts and technique to be very productive at the Division I level, as well as the mentality and work rate to help us defend from the front."
Cruz, who hails from Monroe, New Jersey, posted 22 goals and 27 assists in his career at St. Joseph's in nearby Metuchen. As a senior in 2017, he was named one of the top midfielders in the state by NJ.com and followed up with a Third Team All-Non-Public selection behind five goals and 12 assists. The previous season, Cruz collected 13 goals and 14 assists in helping the Falcons to the GMC Tournament semifinals and the Non-Public A final.
Donigan on Cruz: "Nick is a versatile attacking player and can play as a forward or in any position in attacking midfield. Nick's speed and finishing ability gives us another weapon that can break teams down, while his engine and work rate allow him to be an effective two-way player."
DeVizio, one of two incoming Scarlet Knights from Scotch Plains, has been a member of PDA since 2015, most recently appearing in the backfield with the U18/19 squad. As a junior with Scotch Plains-Fanwood, he was an All-Group 4 selection behind eight goals and 12 assists as his team went on to capture a 22-4 record en route to the North 2, Group 4 title.
Donigan on DeVizio: "Tommy is one of two 2018 recruits to hail from Scotch Plains, New Jersey, right in our backyard. A very modern-style fullback, he is equally proficient attacking and defending out of the right back position. Having Tommy join our program is a large step toward one of our most important aims as a program and that is to keep the best New Jersey soccer players home and representing the State University of New Jersey."
Murray, the second member of the 2018 recruiting class to arrive from Scotch Plains, was an All-Group 4 selection in helping Scotch Plains-Fanwood to the North 2, Group 4 title with a 22-4 record. A member of PDA, he captained both the U15 & U16 teams.
Donigan on Murray: "Another Scotch Plains resident, Andrew exemplifies the toughness that New Jersey soccer is famous for, making him a perfect fit here at Rutgers. He is fearless, competitive, a leader and a physical presence in the center of midfield. He is exactly the type of player that excels in the Big Ten."
Turner will arrive at Rutgers from San Pedro in Southern California having played at the club level since the age of seven and most recently with Fram Lawson BU17 Premier. Turner has played with the California Regional and Nation Leagues and participated in the 5 Surf Cup Tournament.
Donigan on Turner: "Seth comes to us from Southern California and is a player we discovered at one of our camps. He immediately impressed the coaching staff with his speed and overall athleticism, as well as his understanding of how to defend. Primarily a wide player, Seth will be effective in a fullback or wide midfield role at the Division I level."
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