PASADENA, Calif. (July 7, 2016) – The Caltech men's soccer team will add seven incoming freshmen from all over the country for the upcoming season this fall.
The class includes:
Alex Lettenberger (Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard West)
Sammy Piascik (Madison, Wis./Homeschooled)
Max Shen-Molesky (Lexington, Mass./Lexington)
Richard Woo (Andover, Mass./Phillips Andover)
Theo Yang (Columbia, Md./Long Reach)
Kevin Yu (Park Ridge, N.J./Park Ridge
Arjun Zutshi (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley)
"The incoming group has the potential to really affect the direction of our program over the duration of their careers," Head Coach Phil Murray said. "We are working to develop a culture of excellence on the field that matches the academic excellence at Caltech. I believe we have assembled a very talented group that will immediately help us raise the bar for what it means to be a Caltech soccer player."
Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard West H.S.
Lettenberger comes to Caltech after playing in the Illinois Olympic Development Program and with the Glen Ellyn Lakers Football Club. Named to the Daily Herald DuPage County Academic Team, he scored a perfect 36 on his ACT as a junior and participated on the Glenbard West track team.
"Alex has good experience and will be expected to compete in training to improve our deep goalkeeping squad," Murray said. "[Rising senior] JD [Feist] has been the number one so far but we have four quality keepers now with [rising sophomore] Nikhil [Gupta] and another recruit, Richard Woo, who will all have aspirations to start for us."
Piascik hails from Madison, Wis. having played for various clubs throughout his youth career, most recently with the Madison Fire and as a member of the state Olympic Development Program. He is also an experienced Futsal player, having represented his state and been selected to the U.S. Youth National Futsal ID camp.
"Sammy is a fantastic pickup for the team, having had great experiences at a number of levels," Murray said. "I am looking forward to seeing him transfer his lauded Futsal skills to the college game. He is a technically sound midfielder but versatile enough to play across a number of attacking positions as well. I expect him to challenge for a position on the field from Day One."
Lexington, Mass./Lexington H.S.
Shen-Molesky arrives at Caltech having concluded a very successful club and high school career in Lexington, Mass., captaining both Lexington H.S. and FC Boston Bolts Elite. A three-year varsity starting defender, he was named Defensive Player of the Year and a League All-Star twice each.
"Max is everything you look for in a central defender – strong, athletic, competitive and fearless," Murray said. "He is a leader on the field, constantly organizing and directing play, and I expect him to bring those qualities to Caltech and make his presence felt as we look to develop our competitive culture on the field."
Andover, Mass./Phillips Academy
Woo also calls Massachusetts home as the Phillips Academy graduate hails from Andover. A goalkeeper with the top prep school, his experience at such a high level will be a welcome addition to the team.
"I am looking forward to seeing Richard in a full-time training environment working closely with our new assistant, Coach Iles," Murray said. "He is a good addition to our goalkeeping squad and has tremendous room to improve in a structured training environment. He is the type to push those around him to be better too, which makes me excited for the overall quality of this group."
Columbia, Md./Long Reach H.S.
Yang is another experienced member of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy who also played a key role within the Baltimore Armour system, a member of the highly competitive Atlantic Division. A National AP and Merit Scholar, National DuPont Challenge Essay contestant and Class Leadership Award winner, Yang also competed on the 2013 Maryland Science Olympiad State Champion Math Team.
"Theo is an athletic, tough-tackling central midfielder," Murray said. "His work ethic and technical ability will make him a fantastic addition to the team, in addition to his wealth of experience from playing at the elite level of youth soccer in the U.S."
Park Ridge, N.J./Park Ridge H.S.
Yu is yet another addition from the ranks of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, having grown within the world-renowned Everton Football Club based in Westchester, N.Y. Also boasting prior experience within the LA Galaxy Youth Academy and World Class FC of the National Premier Leagues, it is no surprise that he shows an incredible soccer IQ and has a knack for finding perfect positioning in attacking areas.
"Kevin is a dynamic, technical forward player with great experience in the Development Academy," Murray said. "He has been well coached throughout his career and has a great understanding of how the game should be played at the highest levels."
Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley H.S.
Zutshi joins Caltech after a distinguished playing career within the MLS' Chicago Fire Academy, Sockers FC and the Illinois ODP, which he led to the National Championship semifinals in 2014. Extremely versatile, Zutshi shows comfort in both the midfield and across the back line.
"Arjun's experiences and leadership are going to be invaluable to the team this fall," Murray said. "He is a technical, versatile player who can perform in a number of roles for the team and is athletic enough to be able to compete at the college level as a freshman. I expect to see him slot in and make an impact from any number of positions straight away."
The Beavers bring back the majority of an offense that scored the most goals per game in the last decade, including rising sophomore Jack Banaszak (Bethesda, Md. / Bethesda Chevy-Chase), who tallied four assist and scored once himself, and rising senior Schaeffer Reed (Miami, Fla. / Westminster Christian), who netted twice and assisted on another. Midfield maestro Tristan Nee (Dallas, Texas / R.L. Turner) also enters his second year after a flashy rookie campaign, while rising senior J.D. Feist (Richardson, Texas / Jesuit College Prep), the SCIAC leader in saves each of the last three years, will oversee a completely new-look back line.
"The incoming class are a large and diverse class with players from all over the United States, as well as a couple of international players," Murray said. "I am looking forward to seeing the impact that they have when we report for preseason in August."