WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. Ė The four-time defending Northeast Conference Regular Season Champion Monmouth University men’s soccer team has unveiled its 2009 recruiting class, head coach Robert McCourt recently announced. The class features eight freshmen and one transfer that will compete for the Hawks this fall. MU will welcome in incoming freshmen Alex Blackburn (Natick, Mass./Natick), Cody Califiore (Howell, N.J./Howell), Ryan Clark (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township), Alejandro Cordido (West Haven, Conn./Notre Dame High School), Andrew Dodds (West Chester, Pa./ The Haverford School), Wes Ostrzycki (Edison, N.J./Edison), Tony Sendra (Naugatuck, Conn./Naugatuck) and Alex Wideman (Linwood, N.J./Mainland Regional), as well as St. John’s transfer Anthony Vasquez (Middletown, N.J./Middletown North). 

“I am excited to announce the 2009 recruiting class,” said McCourt. “This group of young men brings a balance of youth and high level club, high school and ODP experience to the program. They are a positive reflection of our program on the field and in the classroom and this class is fully expected to help us compete for more championships. “

Blackburn is the Massachusetts state Olympic Development Program (ODP) goalkeeper and plays club ball for New England Eagles FC. He was the Natick High School team captain in 2007 and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player in 2008, in addition to being named an Eastern Massachusetts All Star this past season.

“At 6’0, Alex is expected to compete for playing time at the goalkeeping position,” said McCourt. “He will add strength and depth to a talented goalkeeping group.”

Califiore is a talented midfielder from nearby Howell and has been one of the top players in the Shore Conference the past two seasons. He was named all-state this past season and served as team captain. He registered an impressive 40 goals and 49 assists during his scholastic career and plays club ball for the 2008 Region 1 champion, the Howell Strykers. 

 “Cody is a technically talented player who is expected to compete for a starting position right away,” said McCourt. “Cody is technical but also very dynamic athletically.”

Clark is another Shore Conference standout from Freehold Township High School. The midfielder was named the Shore Conference’s Player of the Year this past fall and was also named First Team All-State. He served as the Patriots’ team captain in 2008 and was named an All-Region player with 11 goals and 15 assists in his senior year. He plays club for the Match-fit Chelsea academy team. 

“Ryan is a crafty, intelligent midfielder that was highly recruited by many programs,” said McCourt. “He was first identified at our Monmouth High School Elite Camp and he is very technical and has good vision.  He is expected to compete for a starting position right away.”

Cordido is a keeper from Notre Dame High School in Connecticut. He served as team captain and led his squad to the divisional championship in 2008. He is an All-Conference keeper who plays club ball for the Central Connecticut Extreme. 

“At 6’0, he is a technically talented goalkeeper who is expected to compete for playing time. He will add depth to a talented goalkeeping group.”

Dodds is a talented defender from the Haverford School in Pennsylvania. He scored 10 goals and had eight assists as a senior. Dodds was named First Team All-Main Line in both 2007 and 2008 and plays for the club team FC Delco Dynamo. He is also an Eastern Pennsylvania ODP player.

“Andrew is a technical and athletic defender,” said McCourt. “He has a good soccer pedigree coming from strong high school, club and ODP teams.  He is expected to compete for time right away.”

Ostrzycki is a defender from Edison who sat out most of his senior high school season due to injury. He is a 2007 all-state and all-county performer and was a member of the talented MatchFit Ė Chelsea club team that won the US Club Regionals in 2005, 2007 and 2008. 

“Wes is a talented defender that had to overcome some injury adversity,” said McCourt. “He comes from a talented club team and is expected to compete for playing time right away.”

Sendra is a four-year varsity player and two-time team captain from Naugatuck High School in Connecticut, the same school that produced current Monmouth University standout Ryan Kinne. He was named all-conference in both 2007 and 2008 and garnered all-state and all-region honors as well. He plays for FSA Soccer Plus club team and has been a member of the Connecticut state ODP for four years. 

 “Tony is a versatile midfielder who is a tough, competitive player,” said McCourt. “His versatility allows him to play a number of positions in the midfield. He is expected to compete for playing time immediately.”

Wideman is a forward who played at Mainland Regional High School. He was a four-year varsity starter and scored an impressive 40 career goals. He was named all-South Jersey in 2008 and was a 2007-2008 Cape Atlantic League First Team member.  Wideman plays club ball for the talented South Jersey Barons, the 2008 Super Y National Semifinalists. 

“Alex is a big, strong, athletic forward,” said McCourt. “He makes great runs and is a handful for defenders to deal with.  He is expected to compete for playing time right away.”

Vazquez, a transfer from St. John’s, is from nearby Middletown. The defender played scholastically at Middletown North and brings a wealth of youth experience playing multiple years with the New Jersey State and Region 1 ODP clubs.  He is a member of the Regional Champion NYRB youth team. 

“Anthony brings a wealth of talent and experience to the team,” added McCourt. “He has played and excelled at the highest youth levels.  He also brings quality collegiate experience to our back four.”

The nine newcomers will join a Monmouth men’s soccer club that has won four straight conference regular season championships and returns a wealth of talent to The Great Lawn in 2009.