TAMPA - After advancing to the 2009 NCAA men's soccer tournament - the third consecutive tournament, and fourth in the past five years - and finding itself ranked in the top five of the national rankings for most of last season, University of South Florida head men's soccer coach George Kiefer has announced another standout class to help push the Bulls to the next level on the collegiate soccer scene.
"We are extremely excited about the recruiting class that we signed," said Kiefer. "We feel that we have quality student-athletes both athletically as well as academically that will help us move our program towards our goal of winning a national championship."
The nine new players consist of five from Florida and one from Ohio. In addition, one hails from Norway, one from the island republic of Trinidad and Tobago and one from Venezuela.
Luis Avila, a 5-9, 150-pound defender from Caracas, Venezuela, was a member of the Venezuelan U-15 and U-17 National Team. He currently plays with the Centro Italo Venezolano U-20 Team and attends Colegio Jefferson High School.
J.J. Bostic, a 6-1, 165-pound defender from Dunedin, Fla., played his scholastic soccer at East Lake High School and his club soccer with the Clearwater Chargers of the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy. He was named to the U.S. Academy Sarasota Showcase U-15/16 select team in 2009.
Bostic is one of four players in this signing class who has played in the successful Clearwater Chargers U.S. Soccer Academy program coached by Garth Pollonais.
Brandon Curriston a 5-10,155-pound midfielder played his high school soccer at Niceville High School in Niceville, Fla. He was selected to the Florida High School Soccer Classic All Tournament Team in 2009 and has been a member of the Florida State and Region III Olympic Development Program. Curriston plays his club soccer with FC America.
Marius Krathe, a 6-3, 180-pound central defender from Saltnes, Norway, was a member of the Norwegian U-17 and U-18 National Teams. Krathe has represented his country numerous times including at the 2007 Nordic Championships against England, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium. He previously played with KVIK Halden and Fredrikstad FK, captaining the Fredrikstad U-19 team (2008-09).
Eric Osswald is a 6-3, 185-pound goalkeeper from Powell, Ohio who played his high school soccer at Olentangy Liberty High School. He is a member of the Columbus Crew Academy and was a 2009 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Scholar All-American.
Leston Paul has already gotten his feet wet with the Bulls. Paul, a 5-9, 155-pound midfielder from Mayarao, Trinidad, signed with USF in 2009 and began taking classes in January. Paul was the captain of the Trinidad and Tobago National Team at the U-17 World Cup in South Korea in 20007 and most recently the U-20 World Cup in Nigeria in 2009. He is also currently the captains of the U-23 National Team and was a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Senior National Team during the 2010 World Cup Qualifying campaign for games against Costa Rica and Mexico.
Paul, who attended St. Mary's College High School in Trinidad, enrolled at USF in the spring and participated in the spring season with the Bulls.
T.J. Roehn is one of two County Players of the Year honorees that the Bulls signed during the offseason. Roehn, a 6-1,180-pound forward from Tampa, played his high school soccer at Berkley Prep where he was named the Hillsborough County Player of the Year after his senior season. He was also tabbed by the St. Petersburg Times as the 3A Hillsborough County Player of the Year following his junior campaign. Roehn was a five-year starter at Berkley Prep and fell one goal shy of setting a new school record for career goals scored with 104.
Roehn currently plays for the Clearwater Chargers of the United States Soccer Development Academy, where he is the team's leading scorer.
Ben Sweat comes to USF after twice being named a Pinellas County Player of the Year (2009-2010) by the St. Petersburg Times. A 6-2, 170-pound left back from Palm Harbor, Fla., Sweat played his high school soccer at Palm Harbor High School where he was also named first team all-county and a first team All-Pinellas County Athletic Conference selection over the past two seasons. He helped guide Palm Harbor to the 2009 Florida State 5A soccer title and a state runner-up finish in 6A in 2010.
Sweat is currently the captain of the Clearwater Chargers U-18 Academy. He was also chosen to play for the Arizona Academy Showcase U-18 select team in the fall of 2009.
Shane Wixted, from Melbourne Beach, Fla., is a 5-11, 150-pound midfielder who played high school soccer at Seminole High School and currently plays with the Clearwater Chargers Academy Team. Wixted led Seminole to the Florida State 5A Championship game in 2009 and was voted the most valuable player of the Hillsborough County vs. Pinellas County Senior All Star game.
Kiefer is expected to announce more signings in the upcoming weeks, including one additional international student-athlete.