BALTIMORE – The UMBC men's soccer program, fresh off an NCAA College Cup appearance, has announced the signing of six student-athletes to national-letters-of-intent for the fall semester of 2015.
The newest Retrievers will be midfielder Patrick Jean-Gilles (Lorton, Va./South County), defender Tyler Ward (Buford, Ga./Mill Creek), defender Riley Collins (Parkville, Md./Loyola Blakefield), midfielder James Gielen (Edgewater, Md./DeMatha Catholic), midfielder/forward David Harris (Laurel, Md./Reservoir), and defender Kyle Saunderson (Laurel, Md./Reservoir).
"In my opinion, this class should be a top ten rated recruiting class for 2015," said head coach Pete Caringi, the 2014 NSCAA National Coach of the Year. "All of the players have winning backgrounds, along with success both in the classroom and on the field. We lost some key players from our 2014 College Cup team, but I am really excited about this class and the immediate impact they can make next year."
Jean-Gilles captained the D.C. United Academy and led the club in games played in 2013-14. He also was invited to 2014 U18 United States national team camp and was tabbed to the Best XI team at the 2014 U.S. Development Academy. Jean-Gilles is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Society of High School Scholars.
"One of the top midfielders coming out of this year's class, I have watched Patrick excel with D.C. United Academy," said Caringi. "We are very excited to get a player of his ability. Patrick is a leader on and off the field, he has experience with the U.S. national youth programs and is a great addition to our program."
Ward is a 6'2" central defender who was one of two ODP players to earn an invite to the training event at Sporting Club in Portugal in 2012. He made 33 starts for Concorde Fire Academy in 2013-14. Ward is considering a major in computer science and is interested in web design.
"I think Tyler is one of the best backs coming out of this year's class," said Caringi. "He has unlimited potential, is very quick, technical and athletic. He comes from a well-coached, winning academy program in Concorde Fire. I think he can make an immediate impact with our team."
Collins stands 6'4" and captained the Dons' 2014 MIAA state championship team. He earned First Team All-State and All-MIAA honors and was selected to The Baltimore Sun's All-Metro First Team in the fall. Collins also competes for Baltimore Celtic SC.
"We are very excited to get Riley- he has had tremendous success winning championship at the club level with Baltimore Celtic Soccer Club and the MIAA champions, Loyola High School," said Caringi. "He will fit in perfect with our team and its style. He will have an opportunity to compete right away on defense. He is great in the air and is a natural leader."
Gielen is a teammate of Collins with Baltimore Celtic SC and captained De Matha's league championship team. He scored 13 goals during his senior campaign, including the game-tying goal in the WCAC title game. An honor roll student, Gielien earned First Team All-Metro honors from The Washington Post.
"A great competitor, James continues to get better and better. He has a strong winning mentality which will fit in great with our program," said Caringi. "He has great technique and has scored some very big goals at the nationally-renowned DeMatha High School program."
Harris was Resevoir's top scorer in both 2013 and 2014, and was a member of its 2012 3A state championship squad. He captained both his club squad of SAC and the Resevoir team during his tenure. Harris, a National Honor Society member, earned honor roll recognition in all four years of high school.
"David is extremely quick and is another local product that will fit right in with our program ," said Caringi. "I expect David to come in and immediately impact our offense."
Saunderson is also a towering defender who was a four-year varsity starter at Resevoir. In his senior campaign, he earned First Team All-State honors and was selected to All-Metro squads by both The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post. The National Honor Society member earned both a state title and Maryland State Cup title during his tenure.
"We are real excited about Kyle coming to UMBC- his 6'4'' frame makes him a physical presence on the field, but he is very quick and skillful for his size," said Caringi. "I feel he has a big upside and will only get better and better in our program."