Central Connecticut men's soccer head coach Shaun Green finalized his recruiting class for the 2008 season. Highlighted by Hadji Diop, Aaron Durr, Shane Edgley, Raphael Guimaraes, Mersad Serhanic and Eduardo Alejandro Davila Ortiz, the 23-year veteran, who is coming off his best season at the helm of the Blue Devils, will welcome 15 new players to camp this fall. The Blue Devils, who won their first Northeast Conference Championship and the first-ever NCAA Division I Tournament game by a CCSU men's program en route to a Sweet 16 appearance, will report on Tuesday, Aug. 19 and open the season at Holy Cross on Tuesday, Sept. 2.
Diop comes to New Britain via the Borough of Manhattan Community College. The striker had 16 goals as a sophomore and helped lead BMCC to the CUNYAC Community College Championship in 2006.
"Hadji is a great player and a fantastic addition to our team," Green said. "He is a strong athlete who brings a winning mentality to every match."
Durr is a Connecticut product who played at the Oakwood Soccer Club while also captaining Maloney High. Also Connecticut Olympic Development Team player, Durr, a defender, earned All-State and all-conference honors while at Maloney. He played in the Connecticut Senior Bowl last season.
"We like Aaron a lot," Green noted. "He lives for soccer. He is an athletic defender with very good skill. We expect Aaron to compete for a starting position at right back from day one."
Edgley is a transfer from Western Connecticut State, where he led the Colonials in scoring as a sophomore. A Montville High graduate, Edgley scored seven goals, including three game-winners, last season. He had two goals and four assists as a freshman. As a high schooler, Edgley earned All-State, All-ECC and all-area accolades. He also earned most valuable player honors in the Connecticut Senior Bowl.
"Shane will add another scoring option for us," Green said. "He had a prolific high school career and was efficient at Western Connecticut for two seasons. We believe he will make a quick transition to the Division I level."
Guimaraes is another transfer. He comes to CCSU from Franklin Pierce, where he helped lead the Ravens to the NCAA Tournament in 2005 and 2006. They were the national runners-up in 2005. As a freshman, he scored seven goals and had four assists. In 2006, he totaled a team-high 23 points with 10 goals and three assists. The Marlborough, MA native collected NSCAA/adidas All-America, all-region and all-conference honors as a sophomore. Before playing at Franklin Pierce, Guimaraes starred at Ashland High. He scored 26 goals as a senior.
"Raphael is an outstanding player with phenomenal talent and skill," Green said. "His creativity and eye for the goal will be a huge asset to our team. He is a great kid who is passionate about the game. We expect him to have a major impact on our team."
Sanhanic joins CCSU after earning all-region honors while at Manchester Community College. A Wethersfield High product, Sanhanic also has experience playing at the state and regional ODP team. He represented Region I on a tour of Spain and Costa Rica in 2002.
"Mersad is a top quality player who will bring a lot of experience and skill to the team," Green said. "He is very mature, and we expect Mersad to make a tremendous impact immediately."
Alejandro Davila Ortiz adds more depth to the Blue Devil attack. A striker for the Liga Deportiva Universitaria U19 team, he led the nation in scoring in 2007. Alejandro Davila Ortiz helped lead Liga Deportiva to National Championships in 2005 and 2006 and runners-up finish in 2007.
"Eduardo is a proven striker with exceptional technical ability," Green said. "He has established himself as a consistent goal scorer with his club in Ecuador, and we are very excited that he will be coming to play up front for us this season."
Those six players will be joined by Mustafa Adiguzelli, Benjamin Barton, Marc Doherty, a Connecticut native who was the CHSCA Player of the Year in 2005 and played at the University of South Florida in 2006, Brady Dolan, Brett Garrett, Brad Gorham, Eric Palau, James Perkins and Jared Spieker.
After opening at Holy Cross, the Blue Devils will begin the home season against Saint Bonaventure at 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 5. Their defense of the Northeast Conference Championships gets underway at St. Francis (NY) on Friday, Oct. 10.