TULSA, Okla. - The Oral Roberts men's soccer team has signed eight more players to National Letters of Intent, head coach Ryan Bush announced today. Francesco Cianci, Sameer Fathazada, Giuseppe Granara, Whitney Gonsalves, Brandon Jones, Walter McNeal, Sam Sketers and Omar Urquiza will join the Golden Eagles for the 2017 season.
Bush on the 2017 class:
"First, I want to thank Chris Taylor, Bobby Behrens, Alex McLaurin and Jake Feener for their continual work with this recruiting class," Head Coach Ryan Bush said. "We knew from last year we had a lot to replace and it would be a process. These guys have grinded out countless hours of work to make sure we recruited player's into our soccer family that represent our soccer culture, were good academically, high character kids, excellent soccer players and would be great representatives of ORU as a whole. We knew how important this next group of players would be as far as rounding out our roster. These final players provide much needed depth and players who can come in straight away and make an impact inside the program and inside our conference. I can't say enough about the hard work that has been done by my staff to hand pick this group and find perfect fits for our soccer family and culture."
Francesco Cianci | Camporosso, Italy | High School – Liceo Scientifico
Bush on Francesco Cianci: "Francesco was the final add to the recruiting class and we were fortunate to add a player of his caliber late. He's competed at the highest level in Italy including a stint with Italian National Team. He was being pursued by some of the top Division I schools in the country. We are excited he chose ORU. He's highly versatile and has the ability to play in the back or in the attacking third. He has a great attacking mentality and is highly technical. He will immediately be able to play the brand of soccer we want to produce at ORU."
Sameer Fathazada | Toronto, Ontario | High School – David and Mary Thomson Collegiate
Bush on Sameer Fathazada: "Sammeer is another exciting get for our ORU soccer family. From the moment he stepped on campus I knew he was going to be a great culture player. The thing that impressed us the most with Sameer was his level of humility and the way he carried himself. He's highly disciplined, mature and a focused individual. He's been called into the Canadian national team and been on several professional trials. His level and experience will allow him to compete immediately at the division I level. We see Sameer making an immediate impact inside the attacking third."
Giuseppe Granara | Caguari, Italy | High School – Liceo Scientifico
Bush on Giuseppe Granara: "Guisseppe was impressive from the first moment we spoke to him. He is very good in the classroom and focused in his pursuit of his soccer goals. He was the captain of Cagliari's academy team and has competed at the highest level in Italy. He will compete for playing time on the backline immediately. His experience and playing level speak for them self. We are excited to add his maturity, leadership and commitment to excellence to our soccer family."
Whitney Gonsalves | Tulsa, Okla. | High School – Blue Valley North
Bush on Whitney Gonsalves: "Whitney is an exciting get for ORU. He has great pace and athleticism. He's played with Sporting Development Academy the last year and has developed and matured as a player. Whitney embodies the overall culture of our program and will be a great addition both on and off the field. With his experience he will have the potential to make an immediate impact. Whitney is a highly versatile player who can do several different roles inside the team."
Brandon Jones | Missouri City, Texas | High School - Homeschooled
Bush on Brandon Jones: "Brandon comes from a great soccer pedigree. His mother is the Head Women's Coach at Houston Baptist and his father currently serves as the Head Men's Coach at Houston Baptist. We were honored Brandon and his parents chose ORU as his top choice to compete at the next level. Brandon has impeccable character and is a great culture fit inside our program. From a soccer perspective he's very technical, has very good vision and has excellent soccer IQ. His style of play immediately fits the brand of soccer we try to promote."
Walter McNeal | Sugar Land, Texas | High School – Stephen F. Austin
Bush on Walter McNeal: "Walter is another exciting get for ORU. He will likely come in as a freshman and immediately be the best overall athlete in the program. His ability to take players on in the open field will give him an opportunity to come in and compete straight away. Walter is another high character kid and great culture fit and we believe his best playing days are in front of him. Walter's speed and athleticism makes him highly versatile and can likely play anywhere in the wide part of the field."
Sam Sketers | Olathe, Kansas | High School – St. Thomas Aquinas
Bush on Sam Sketers: "Sam is a big strong athlete. We identified him at our High School ID camp. He had a tremendous work ethic and was very focused during each session. These are attributes of players we have seen develop greatly over the course of 4 years. We are excited about Sam becoming a part of our soccer family. He will be a great culture fit and is a player we see developing very quickly at the collegiate level."
Omar Urquiza | Tulsa, Okla. | High School - Union
Bush on Omar Urquiza: "Omar is highly gifted player. He has incredible feet and the ability to get out of tight situations. He also has good vision and awareness. Currently he's one of the top player's coming out of the state of Oklahoma. Omar is a great kid who will be a great fit inside our soccer culture. His attributes will immediately strengthen our midfield and add much needed depth."
For the latest information on ORU men's soccer, follow @ORUMSoccer on Twitter or go to www.ORUAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the Golden Eagles Front Row App at ORUAthletics.com/frontrow or in the App Store.