Head coach Bryan Davis has announced the addition of eight players to the Wright State men's soccer program for the 2012 season. Joining the Raiders will be Brett Elder, Cheick Diawara, Nick Peppe, Connor McCafferty, Erik Anderson, Alex Basiakos, Spencer Semple and John Sandmann.
Elder (Worthington, OH/Worthington Christian), a 5-9, 155 pound forward, was a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-American as a senior and two-time All-Midwest selection. The 2011 Ohio Division III Player of the Year, he was a three-time all-state honoree and was named the Central District Player of the Year as a junior and senior.
After scoring 34 goals as a sophomore and 33 as a junior, Elder tallied 36 goals and 11 assists as a senior, finishing his career with 108 goals. 18 of those goals and four of those assists came during the 2011 postseason as he led Worthington Christian to a final record of 18-4-1 and the Division III state title.
On the club level, Elder has competed with the Crew Soccer Academy since 2008, finishing each season as the leading scorer.
"Brett has received every single high school accolade that you can win," said Davis. "This was capped off with his selection as a NSCAA High School All American this past fall. Brett, at face value, brings to this program a player that can flat out score goals. Along with that, though, he makes the game look very easy at times with fantastic runs and great decision making in attacking situations. These traits make him a perfect addition to our already athletic and potent group already on campus. I am very excited to welcome him to the Raider family and am sure we will see his impact sooner than later."
Diawara (Dublin, OH/Scioto), a 6-1, 170 pound midfielder, was a NSCAA All-American and part of the NSCAA All-Region IV Team as a senior. He was also named as First Team Division I All-Ohio and the Central District and Ohio Capital Conference Cardinal Division Player of the Year.
Diawara had 10 goals and eight assists as a senior as the Irish finished 18-1 and were the top-ranked Division I team in the state at the end of the regular season.
"Cheick is a natural central midfielder. He is dominant in the air and very creative in his play," said Davis. "Along with that, we feel he has the bite and tenacity at that position that really has become our identity at that position and as a team. He is also a first rate kid and I have already found him fun to be around. This makes him a great fit both on and off of the field. We certainly are excited to get him here this coming fall."
Peppe (Marana, AZ/Mountain View), a 6-2, 165 pound forward, comes to Wright State from Pima Community College in Arizona, where he recorded a team-high 11 assists last season to go along with seven goals in leading the 19-7-2 Aztecs to the NJCAA Region 1 and West District titles and an appearance in the national tournament, finishing fifth. He was named First Team All-Region 1 and All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference.
At Mountain View, Peppe was part of the 2007 squad that won the Arizona 5A state crown and was the leading scorer in 2009 and 2010. On the club level, he was part of the Tucson Soccer Academy 2009 team that was the Far West Regional League champions and was a regional quarterfinalist.
"Nick has two quality seasons as a college player under his belt as he played for the up-and-coming Pima Community College out of Tucson", said Davis. "His team this past year qualified for the JuCO National Championships. Nick, as a player, brings to WSU a ton of pace and a great work rate to go with it. He will be an outstanding addition to our group of already very talented attacking players out wide."
McCafferty (Pataskala, OH/Watkins Memorial), a four-year starter and two-year team captain for the Warriors, was named Second Team All-State and First Team All-Ohio Capital Conference as a senior. A 6-1, 180 pound defender, He was a Second Team All-OCC performer in 2010 and 2008.
Part of the Crew Soccer Academy from 2009-11, McCafferty was part of the 2008 ODP state and regional teams.
"Connor is going to be a great player for WSU Soccer," said Davis. "He is an incredibly hardnosed kid who wins every single battle that he engages in. He has a strong playing background as he comes from the tutelage of a great coaching staff at the Crew Academy in Columbus. I feel that he was missed by a lot of people in the recruiting process and am excited to see him flourish with us in our system. His coaches at Crew, including Frank Speth and Ian Gordona, have done a heck of a job preparing him for his next step. I anticipate great things from this player."
Anderson (Boise, ID/Boise), a 5-9, 155 pound forward/midfielder, was a three-year letterwinner for the Braves and an all-conference performer as a junior and senior. He was part of the 2011 squad that finished 19-1 and won a state title.
Anderson was part of the Idaho ODP team in 2009 and 2010 and part of the Boise Nationals team that won four straight Idaho state titles from 2008-11 and was a Far West Regionals finalist in 2010.
"Erik is a sleeper," said Davis. "He comes from Idaho which is not a state many coaches look at in their recruiting search. We came across him at an event where we realized he was being coached by one of my actual former coaches in Steve Adlard. Erik is a tireless worker that I think will add a lot to our group. I am excited for his contributions this fall."
Basiakos (Hilliard, OH/Bradley), a 6-0, 180 pound defender, was a Second Team Division I All-State performer as a senior as well as First Team All-Ohio Capital Conference and First Team All-Central District. He was also named to the Super 12 for Central Ohio and as an ESPN State All-Star.
On the club level, Basiakos was a three-year captain and part of the 2007 and 2011 Ohio South State Cup championship teams.
"Alex is a flat-out hardnosed player which I always love," said Davis. "He is very tough defender and a player that will set a tone on the field for this program. In getting to know him during the recruiting process, it's clear he will also quickly fit in well with our group. I really look forward to coaching him when he gets to campus."
Semple (Canton, OH/GlenOak), a 6-0, 175 pound goalkeeper, was a McDonald's All-American finalist as a senior as well as NSCAA All-Region 4, First Team Division I All-Ohio, the Stark County Player of the Year and the Federal League Player of the Year. In 2011, he allowed just 10 goals in 17 games with 84 saves and nine shutouts.
As a junior, Semple again earned NSCAA All-Region 4 recognition along with being named an ESPN Rise Ohio All-Star, First Team Division I All-Ohio and First Team All-Stark County. He set a Division I state record with 12 shutouts as a freshman and finished his career with 40 shutouts, 364 saves and a 0.74 goals against average, having given up 54 goals in 73 games.
Semple is the top-ranked goalkeeper recruit in the Great Lakes Region according to Top Drawer Soccer and is the #15 recruit overall in the region.
"Spencer has been on our radar since I got to WSU," said Davis. "His former club coach, Eric Manfull, really believed in his talent and encouraged him to attend our camps and pay attention to Wright State. Spencer is a very good goalkeeper. In saying that, I feel his best days are ahead of him. I expect that immediately he will put a lot of pressure on all of the keepers in our program. No matter where Spencer has played, he has had success and I expect much the same here. I am excited to work with him on a daily basis."
Sandmann (Cincinnati, OH/McNicholas), a 6-0, 170 pound midfielder/defender, was a four-year starter for the Rockets and the team captain and MVP as a senior. The 2011 Greater Catholic League Central Division Player of the Year, he received All-GCL honors all four years, including twice being named to the first team. Sandmann scored 10 goals as a senior and had five goals and seven assists as a junior.
Playing for the Kings Soccer Academy, Sandmann was part of the ODP state team in 2009.
"John is the kind of player you want in your program," said Davis. "He is the player that you know whatever role you put him in, he will embrace it and grow within it. Along with that, he is extremely versatile. I have seen him play pretty much every position on the field and do so quite well. I look forward to seeing what niche he grows into as he begins his time at WSU."
"The incoming class for this fall is one that we are very excited about," said Davis. "It fills some important needs both from our graduating players and in building towards our next forward steps as a program. The class adds depth at key positions that we have never had before and also brings in players that both offensively and defensively will make an impact for our program."
"Assistant Coach Dave Korn was named as our recruiting coordinator this past fall so this is the first class under his organization," added Davis. "A lot of credit goes to him and the tireless hours he has put in organizing our staff on the recruiting trail and in taking a lead role in many facets of recruiting."
"We feel fortunate to bring in a group of young men who have been proven winners at every level," said Korn. "These guys will add to our already strong culture with their talent and competitive spirit. Not only are they great players, but they are great people who exemplify the ideals of Wright State Soccer. We are excited to welcome them to the family and look forward to their contributions in the upcoming seasons."
Wright State wraps up the spring schedule with matches at Akron (April 28) and at home against the Alumni (May 5) and the Dayton Dutch Lions (May 8). The 2012 regular-season opener for the Raiders is August 24 at Marshall, with the home opener set for Saturday, September 8, versus Robert Morris.