Winthrop University

Winthrop men’s soccer reveals 2015 recruiting class

Winthrop head men's soccer coach Rich Posipanko has released the 2015 recruiting class that includes 10 new additions to the program.

Winthrop is coming off one of its best seasons in the program's history after a 13-4-2 mark. The Eagles graduated seven players from the squad that fell in penalties to top-seeded Radford in the Big South Conference semifinals.

“With 9 to 10 starters and 21 players returning, our immediate need was to fill the hole left by attacking midfielder/striker, Pol Sole," said Posipanko, who will be entering his 27th season as coach of the Eagles. "We feel we have done that with some of the attacking players we have signed. This recruiting class turned out to be much larger than expected. Our initial plan was to bring in five players, but in the end we doubled this class. We certainly increased the overall depth and competitive level at every position on the field. Our core group of our returning players were part of the 2012 team that advanced to the NCAA College Cup Round of 32. We hope this group along with this recruiting class will allow us to return to another NCAA College Cup in 2015.”

The Eagles return four of their top five scores from 2014 that helped the team finish third nationally in scoring. The focus of this year's recruiting class seemed to be primarily on the midfield and in the goal.

This year's recruiting class consists of six freshmen, three sophomores and a graduate student (quotes from Posipanko):

Brandon Anselmo, Fr.; Mint Hill, NC (Independence H.S.); Forward, 5-9, 150

“Brandon comes to Winthrop from the Carolina Rapids of the USSDA. He is a player that we feel has flown a bit under the radar and has lots of potential and will only continue to develop and grow as a player. He is a tireless worker and technically very clean. Certainly, coming from the Academy system, he has been pushed daily by a great staff at the Carolina Rapids. He previously played with Charlotte Soccer Academy and has been a starter at Independence High School since his freshman year.”

Anselmo on Winthrop, “"I wanted to play soccer at Winthrop when I first heard about their team. They had a great season last year and I know that 2015 will be even better. I really want to compete in the NCAA College Cup and I believe Winthrop will give me that opportunity. I am excited to start playing with the team and to begin playing in the fall season.”

Nils Vinyals Ciero, So.; Barcelona, Spain (Union University/St. Paul's School); Midfield/Forward, 5-11, 150

“Nils will be coming in as a transfer with one year of experience at Union University in Tennessee. He had a great year playing in the Gulf South Conference and was named GSC 1st Team All-Conference as well as being named to the GSC Academic Honor roll. Nils is a player with immense technical and tactical qualities that will allow us to be very flexible with our attacking options. We are looking forward to him integrating into the squad this fall. Former Eagle Alex Isern is a long family friend and said we would be getting a player that was always hungry.”

Cierco had this to say about Winthrop, “After having some thought, I have seen the great soccer experience some of my countrymen have had at Winthrop and I wanted to be part of the success of the this project.”

Alvin Fonkoua, So.; Douala, Cameroon (Montgomery College); Defender/Midfielder, 6-0, 168

“Alvin is transferring in from Montgomery College in Maryland. He is a player that we believe can have an impact with this three remaining years of eligibility. He is an athletic defender that has good qualities on the ball. Lots of leadership qualities and having spent some time with Cameroon's U-20 team he has some maturity to make us a deeper and more competitive team top to bottom. At Montgomery College he was part of a Region 20 Championship team. Prior to that he played with Potomac Academy in the USSDA for two years and was also a member of Pachusa FC USA.”

Fonkoua had this to say about Winthrop, “I chose Winthrop because of their nationally recognized soccer program and outstanding Business Program. My soccer and academics are very important to me and I think Winthrop is the right fit.”

Marco Gatzke, Graduate; Nottuln, Germany (Univ. of Applied Arts/Science-Dortmund)

“Marco has all the tools to excel in our environment. He has excellent attacking and creative qualities. Our hope is that he can come in and make an immediate impact on our team. He will provide some maturity and added technical savvy in our attacking phase of the game. He has been playing at a very high level with SC Pressen Muster. He has the ability to immediately be one on the top players in the BSC.”

Gatzke on his Winthrop future, “For me Winthrop University provides the possibility to play high level soccer and earn a Master's Degree at the same time. This University gives me the chance to live my American dream.”

Henry Mills, So.; Fredrick, MD (Hood College/Tuscarora H.S.); Goalkeeper, 6-2, 185;

“Henry will be stepping onto the field as a transfer from Hood College where he played in 15 matches with 14 starts as a freshman. He played for FC Fredrick in his youth days as well as being a member of the Maryland ODP team. He will be adding to the quality and giving us added competition at the goalkeeping position. He has great range and is a confident shot stopper.”

Mills on his move to Winthrop, “I chose Winthrop because it is a considerably smaller school but offers high level soccer program and is located in a nice area and can compete nationally.”

Miles Rapp, Fr.; Dinwiddie, VA (Dinwiddie H.S.); Midfielder, 5-8, 140

“Miles comes highly recommended by former Eagle star Matt Lacey. He is crafty and very hard working midfielder. Has had some great coaching at Chesterfield United and competed as a reserve for the Chesterfield United NPSL team as a junior in high school. He has been a part of the Virginia ODP team and captained that side. In Miles, we are getting someone that is hungry to push himself day in and day out in training and will also be a great addition off the field for our group.”

Rapp on his decision, “I chose Winthrop because I feel I will grow and improve myself as a player and student at Winthrop University.”

Evan Stout, Fr.; Indianapolis, IN (Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School); Midfielder, 5-9, 155

“Evan will be arriving in Rock Hill from the Indiana Fire Juniors Academy where he has captained the team since U-14. He has been a major part of the success at Brebeuf Jesuit Prep leading the team to three sectional championships, a regional championship, a semi-state championship, and the State Finals. He has also been a part of the Indiana ODP state team. He is a tireless competitor and we look forward to seeing him develop. We first saw him at our Winthrop ID Camp this past summer. Evan can slot in at a number of positions and his versatility will be bonus for our team.”

Stout said this about his choice, “I decided to come to Winthrop because of the outstanding five-year MBA program and the opportunities it will open up when I graduate. Along with the MBA program, I also chose Winthrop because of the winning nature and mentality of the soccer team and their success on the national level.”

John Twohig, Fr.; Los Ranchos, NM (Santa Fe Preparatory School); Goalkeeper, 6-1, 170

“John will certainly be adding competition to our goalkeeping core. We felt it was important to find a freshman that will be able to come in and compete, but also someone that we can hopefully build on for the future. He is coming with lots of game experience with the New Mexico Rush as well as guest playing with Ohio Galaxies. He has a winning mentality which is evident with him being a three-time state champion with his high school team in New Mexico.”

Twohig had this to say about his future, “I made a visit to the school and met with the coaching staff. They spoke with me about the family mentality of the team and how important that philosophy was and I wanted to be a part of that family and winning tradition.”

Phillip Brazell, Fr.; Greer, SC (Riverside H.S.); Striker/Midfield, 5-8, 150

“Phillip will help add depth to our attack. He feels comfortable playing in any attacking role. He has led his team in scoring the past four years. He played club soccer in the CESA program for many years. We first noticed him at one of our ID Camps last year.”

Brazell on coming to Winthrop, “I was looking for a good school academically with a good soccer program. The Winthrop soccer program is recognized nationally and I wanted to be part of that and play in the NCAA Tournament.”

Sebastian Amaya, Fr.; Missauga, Ontario (St. Aloyaius H.S.); Midfielder, 6-0, 165

“Sebastian came onto our radar a few years ago and is someone that we tracked over the years. He is coming out of the Sigma Soccer Club which is one of the top programs in Canada and has produced many college and professional players in recent years. Bobby Smyrniotis has done a great job in building this program at Sigma and we are going to benefit greatly with Seba coming to Winthrop University. Seba is a very technically and tactically savvy holding midfielder and someone who has tremendous leadership qualities. With the current team in place he will hopefully be able to assume a voice in the team and locker room in the coming years. We are not only getting a high quality player but also a very gifted student in the classroom.”

Amaya on coming to Winthrop, “I feel Winthrop is a great fit for me both academically and from a soccer standpoint. Winthrop has always been recognized as one of the top universities in the south region and their soccer program is nationally recognized.”