ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Eckerd College men’s soccer coach Cristian Neagu has been busy on the recruiting trail and his work has paid off in the form of a 14-player signing class for the upcoming season.
Neagu’s first full recruiting class has the chance to make a significant impact on the program as he begins his second season at the helm. The balanced group of newcomers helps to add depth at all positions, particularly at forward and attacking midfield.
“I am extremely excited to welcome in this recruiting class,” Neagu said. “It is a blend of freshmen and transfers who will add valuable experience. There is always a transition period for players coming in to a new situation and we understand there will be an adjustment period. It is a matter of how long the process will take in getting 28 guys to mesh together as a team. I believe with the foundation and strength of our returning players and the capability of the new recruits that we have an exciting challenge ahead of us. I expect a very competitive environment with guys pushing each other every day.”
Westleigh Rush (MF/F; Birmingham, England; Bromsgrove School)
Rush is one of three newcomers from England. The Birmingham native attended Bromsgrove School and played for Walsall FC for five years. While with Walsall, he received four player of the month awards. Rush plans to major in psychology.
Justice Abban Gyan (F; Kumasi, Ghana; Presbyterian Secondary)
A 5-foot-11 forward, Justice Abban Gyan played for the MLX Soccer Acadamy in Accru, Ghana, and graduated from Presbyterian Secondary Technical School. He will major in international business.
Liam Guest (DEF; Derbyshire, England; St. John’s/West Park Community School)
Guest joins the Tritons after transferring from NCAA Division I St. John’s (N.Y.) University. The 6-foot-3 defender captained West Park Community School to three league titles and four cup titles. He played two years for the Birmingham City Academy and was captain of the Notts County FC youth team for three seasons.
John Badu-Koomson (F; Accra, Ghana; West Africa High School)
Badu-Koomson was a teammate of Justice Abban Gyan at the MLX Soccer Academy in Accra, Ghana, where both were heralded strikers. He graduated from West Africa High School and plans to major in business administration at Eckerd.
Mauricio Salvatierra (MF/DEF; Alexandria, Va./Louisburg College)
Salvatierra transfers to Eckerd from Neagu’s previous stop, Louisburg (Va.) College. While there, Salvatierra started 33 out of 34 matches, scoring three goals and adding an assist. Two of his goals came in the post-season as he found the back of the net in both the Region X semifinal and final. He prepped at T.C. Williams High School where he was a three-time team MVP. He also played for the DC United Academy. Salvatierra is majoring in international business.
Juan David Tejada (MF/F; Panama City, Panama; IMG Academy)
Tejada attended IMG Academy, playing for the U19 and U18 US Soccer Development Academy teams, winning the IMG Cup. Before coming to IMG, he played for Chepo FC Youth Academy for three years. He was also named MVP for the Colegio De La Salle U18 and Panama City FC squads. Tejada will major in business administration.
Matheus Assumpcao (F; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Williams Baptist College)
Assumpcao transfers to Eckerd after playing his freshman season at Williams Baptist (Ark.) College, where he started every match and scored five goals to go along with 10 assists. He plans to major in communication.
TJ Soehn (MF; North Easton, Mass./Franklin High School)
The well-traveled Soehn has played for the Vancouver Whitecaps, Minnesota Thunder and New England Revolution in the US Soccer Development Academy. He graduated from Franklin High School near Boston and is undecided on his major.
Alejandro Covarrubias (D/MF; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Colegio Madre del Divino Pastor)
The versatile Covarrubias was offered a full ride to Universidad Metropolitana in his natve country of Venezuela, but opted to come to Eckerd to study in the United States. He has been the captain of every team on which he has played, including the Miranda club in the U16 and U18 Venezuela National Tournament. He plans to major in business administration.
Eric Lint (MF; Valrico, Fla.; Newsome High School)
Lint was a scoring machine at Newsome High School, racking up 55 goals and 44 assists as a three-year starter. He led Newsome to two district championships and a region final appearance, earning first-team all-county and all-western conference honors. He also played club soccer for the Houston Dynamo where he led the team to Disney Showcase championship. Lint will major in physics.
Mo Jallow (MF; Marietta, Ga.; Northern Kentucky Univ.)
Jallow transfers to Eckerd after a redshirt season at NCAA Division I Northern Kentucky University. He attended Hillgrove High School in Cobb County, Georgia, where he scored 12 goals and added six assists as a senior on his way to a first-team all-county selection. He also played for Concorde Fire Elite and was the team’s top goal-scorer on the 2012 Super Y National Championship team and 2013 Georgia State Cup Championship squad.
Francisco Molledo (F; Satellite Beach, Fla.; Satellite Beach High School)
A four-year varsity letterman, Molledo closed his senior season with 18 goals and earned Cape Coast Conference All-Star honors. He also played club soccer for Space Coast United, winning back-to-back Florida State Cup championships. Molledo plans to major in English.
Robert Carter (F; San Antonio, Texas; Alamo Heights High School)
The highly-decorated Carter was a standout at Alamo Heights High School in San Antonio as he earned first-team all-district, district MVP, first team all-state and San Antonio Area 5A MVP honors after his senior season. He scored 17 goals and added 11 assists in his final year at Alamo Heights. He was also part of four STYSA club championship teams. Carter plans to major in international business.
Bailey O’Shea (D; Chantilly, Va.; Paul VI Catholic)
O’Shea capped his senior season at Paul VI Catholic School with all-conference and all-metro honors. He helped his team to the state tournament semifinals as a sophomore and a senior as a four-year varsity starter. He also played club soccer for Braddock Road. O’Shea will major in business.
The Tritons open the 2015 regular season on Sept. 5 as they host Warner (Fla.) University at 7:00 PM at the Turley Athletic Complex.