UNCG inks four for men's soccer
GREENSBORO, NC – UNC Greensboro men's soccer coach Michael Parker announced Wednesday the signing of four student-athletes during the recent National Letter of Intent (NLI) signing period for enrollment next fall.
UNCG signed Tulsa, OK, native Denny Mask, Tampa, FL, product Joe Layton, Jacksonville, FL, native A.J. Nelson and Maumee, OH's, Mike Mangotic.
"We are very happy with what we accomplished in this recruiting class," said UNCG coach Michael Parker. "We picked up four outstanding student-athletes that bring a wealth of talent to the pitch. Denny has good size and great speed, which will be a big help in the backfield. Joe has great speed and can play forward or in the middle, which will provide some pace in the wide positions or up top. Jay has very good size and speed and can be a good goal-scorer for us. Mike is also very athletic and serves a great ball, while also bringing with him the ability to score."
A defender, Mask played at Holland Hall Prep, which was ranked in the Top 20 in the nation this season and has won two straight state titles. Playing his club soccer for the Tulsa Soccer Club, he has been a part of six straight state titles (2003-2008) and two Region III championships. The Tulsa Soccer Club is ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 2 in the nationw. Tulsa was a finalist in the 2008 Dallas Cup and the Adidas College Showcase. Mask was also part of the ODP squad in Oklahoma from 2004-2007.
A forward and midfielder, Layton is a native of Tampa, FL and product of Wharton HS and RSL Florida soccer club. He was the MVP of the Class 5A state final four after scoring the game-winner for Wharton in the final match last season. Playing for RSL, Layton has helped his squad to the 2008 Jefferson Cup, the SUM Cup title and was part of the roster that went to the Trofoe Quixote Tournament in Madrid, Spain as part of the U17 World Championships.
Another forward/midfielder, Nelson played three years for the Florida ODP squad. A four-year starter at Nease HS, he led his team to the Class 4A state title game, coming home with two championships. He finished his high school career with 64 goals and 53 assists. As a senior, Nelson tallied 19 goals and 28 assists, earning all-state honors. He was a three-time all-county selection, including County Player of the Year this past season. He was also named the Jacksonville Florida Times-Union Player of the Year, as well. Nelson currently plays his club soccer for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Also a front line player, Mangotic is a product of Cleveland Internationals Academy and Anthony Wayne HS. He earned second-team all-state, as well as all-conference and all-district honors as a senior at Anthony Wayne. He also played two years of basketball and was an all-league punter on the football team, as well. The left-footer scored 30 goals as a senior, second in Ohio's Division I. While playing club soccer with Pacesetter Premier, Mangotic was a part of four state cup champion squads.
One of the nation's most successful programs year in and year out, UNCG was in the unlikely role of Cinderella Story in last year's NCAA Tournament. Bouncing back from its first losing regular season in 30 years, the Spartans won the Southern Conference Tournament from the No. 7 seed and then knocked off Duke and ninth-seeded Loyola (MD) on the road in the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Round of 16 for the fourth time in five years. UNCG (10-11-3) nearly advanced to the quarterfinal round, but a late goal in regulation and the advantage in penalty kicks gave South Florida the advance past the Spartans.
The Spartans lost seven players from that squad, including MLS draftee Jokull Elisabetarson. However, along with returning seven of the 12 field players that started 10 or more matches last season, UNCG will regain the services of 2007 leading scorer Thomas Campbell, who missed all of 2008 following pre-season knee surgery.
- UNCG -