BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Coming off the third Patriot League Tournament championship in program history that resulted in a fifth NCAA Tournament run, the Lehigh men's soccer team is close to defending the crown this fall, but need a new group of players to continue the tradition in the Brown and White.
Head Coach Dean Koski, entering his 29th season at the helm and Associate Head Coach Ryan Hess have announced the incoming group of freshmen student athletes, Lehigh's Class of 2024.
The Class of 2024 totals seven players, including two players from Pennsylvania, one from New Jersey, one from New York, one from Georgia, one from California and one from the African country of Senegal.
The outgoing Class of 2020 had a deep balance of positions, including reigning Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year Will Smith, First Team All-League defender Zarin Tuten and former All-League midfielder Alex Greene.
Coming into the new season, there are two freshmen goalkeepers, five players that can play the midfield, three that double as defensive players and one that will find the time as a forward as well.
"On behalf of the coaching staff we would like to both welcome and introduce our incoming freshmen class," said Koski. "Losing a large senior class necessitated a commitment to bringing in a strong group of student-athletes and I am excited about these young men joining the Lehigh soccer family.
"Some will hopefully make immediate contributions, but all of them have potential to be difference makers in our program in the years to come."
The men's soccer program is one that has seen an unbelievable amount of success in the last five seasons, which has produced two league championship teams and two All-American players (Mark Forrest and Josh Luchini) during that timeframe.
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Will Carnevale – Pittsburgh, PA – PA Classics – MF
Will is one of two Pennsylvania products in the 2020 class, joining the program from Fox Chapel High School and PA Classics. Will has cemented his starting position in a strong PA Classics U19 DA team, after overcoming an injury that saw him miss a portion of his junior year. Will is a National Honors Society and National Art Honors Society member, while also earning highest honors at his school and participating in the TSA state robotics competition.
Coach Koski on Will- "Will brings a unique blend of attacking qualities and industrious defending. Will is capable of scoring and creating goals from midfield, and does a lot of defensive work without the ball, and will fit in well to our system and style. He is strong physically and I'm excited to see him develop within the program. I think Will's best soccer is still ahead of him."
Austen Carranza – Alpharetta, GA – United Futbol Academy – MF/FWD
Austen will arrive to Lehigh from Georgia, currently playing with one of the top DA teams in the country, UFA. He scored 10 goals in the Development Academy in the 2018-19 season with UFA. Austen also played varsity soccer as a freshmen for his school, Cambridge High School, scoring 15 goals in his only high school season.
Coach Koski on Austen- "Austen will be a dynamic wide player for the program, and I see him as someone who can play as a winger or as a wing back. He is quick, elusive, technical, and capable of playing with both feet on either side of the field. Austen has shown that he can consistently score goals and his creativity and confidence should improve the team."
Hassane Diakho - Dakar, Senegal – Beachside SC, Black Rock FC – DEF/MF
Hassane is the lone international player in the 2020 class, coming to Lehigh from Senegal by way of South Kent School. Hassane is a highly decorated student-athlete, being selected Best XI as a 2019 Allstate All-American Cup participant. Hassane was an All-USA Preseason All-American in fall 2019, a Boys High School All-American, All New England First Team selection, and 2019 South Kent School MVP, among other awards.
Coach Koski on Hassane- "Hassane will bring a wealth of experience and maturity to the team. He can excel as a center back or central midfielder, and brings a strong defensive presence, calmness with the ball, and leadership to the middle of the field. Hassane exemplifies the type of high character student-athletes that succeed at Lehigh, and I couldn't be more excited to welcome him to the team."
Nolan Jetter – Pleasanton, CA – De Anza Force – MF/DEF
Nolan will travel across the country, coming to Lehigh from Amador Valley High school and playing with one of the top clubs in the country, De Anza Force. Nolan was a DA cup quarterfinalist and a consistent starter on his U19 Development Academy team. Before joining the DA, he was MVP of his high school varsity team as a sophomore. Nolan is an honor roll student, AP Scholar and founder of the school charity club (Liftpack).
Coach Koski on Nolan- "Nolan is an important addition to the team, as a versatile left footed player. He can play in midfielder or as a left footed defender, and he has strong passing ability and tactical awareness. Nolan is a hard-working and fit player and I'm looking forward to welcoming him to Lehigh."
Blake Koski – Bethlehem, PA – Lehigh Valley United – GK
Blake is a local product and will join the program from Liberty High School and Lehigh Valley United. Blake was recognized as an All-State goalkeeper in both 2018 and 2019, and was First Team All EPC in 2018 and 2019. He was voted the Morning Call Player of the Year in 2019.
Coach Hess on Blake- "Blake is a well-trained and technical goalkeeper, who commands the box at a high level and his kicking will give the team a boost in our ability to play out from the back. As well, he is physically strong and prepared to cope with the demands of college soccer. Blake is mentally tough and has the demeanor and approach to contribute to the team right way. I've had the pleasure of watching him develop over the last few years, I'm excited to see him follow in the footsteps of his brothers and have a strong career at Lehigh."
Michael Laret – New York, NY – Manhattan SC – MF/DEF
Michael will come to Lehigh after finishing a Post-Graduate year at Berkshire School. He excelled as a starter at one of the top Prep School programs in the country, as well as exceeding as a four year letter winner at Riverdale Country School.
Coach Koski on Michael- "Michael will be bringing a great deal of experience and versatility to the team. He has a high soccer IQ and passing quality, and can play as a defensive midfielder or in the backline. Michael's additional year of development at Berkshire has been beneficial for his growth, and he will be a strong addition to the program."
Jesse Ryan – Union Beach, NJ – NJX Holmdel FC – GK
Jesse joins the program from Christian Brothers Academy, and brings experience playing at the highest levels. He has participated with NJ ODP as well as Region 1 ODP, while competing as an elite high school and club player. Jesse also excels in the classroom, as a member of National Honors Society, Spanish Honors Society, and was a National Commended Scholar.
Coach Koski on Jesse- "I was very impressed by Jesse's confidence and poise, both on and off the field. He is a strong shot stopper and organizes and leads well from the back. Jesse is hard working and level-headed and will add depth and experience to the goalkeeping position."