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Men’s soccer head coach Jeremy Fishbein was named Albuquerque Sports Hall of Fame Coach of the Year for 2011. The men’s and women’s soccer teams have signed 14 recruits combined to help continue the success of last season.

Recruits aren’t top class, yet

The men’s and women’s soccer teams brought in a wealth of talent with the 2012 recruiting class.

The men’s team finished 18-0-4, the first undefeated season in the history of Lobo soccer. Even though the Lobos technically did not lose a game, they fell in round 16 in the NCAA tournament on penalty kicks to University of South Florida.

Along with all the accolades the team earned during the 2011 season, including a conference championship, the Lobos were also the City of Albuquerque’s Sports Hall of Fame Team of the Year for the 2011 year.

It’s likely the undefeated season put UNM high on the list of some of the best recruits in the country.

After losing senior midfielders Michael Green and Lance Rozeboom, the team was weak in that position, and head coach Jeremy Fishbein has brought in players to fill that void.

Four of the six recruits signed have experience playing the midfield position.

Charles Klepac joins UNM from Farmington High School, where he led the team to a state championship this past year. He was on the All-State team as a junior and senior.

In club, he won the Far West regionals tournament last year.

Michael Calderon is a junior transfer from Fairleigh Dickenson University. A native of Costa Rica, Calderon played in 32 games during his two-year career with the Knights. He brings much-needed center field experience.

New Zealander Joe Harris is a player who can score goals from the midfield positions. In New Zealand, he was named his team’s MVP in 2010 and 2011, and led the team in scoring both seasons.

Chris Gurule, from Longmont, Colo., brings experience. He played on his varsity high school team all four years. Following his senior year, he was placed on the 2011 ESPN-HS All-Colorado Team.
The Lobos have a lot of competition at the forward position.

Christopher Wehan from California adds to that competition.
He was a three-year varsity starter in Laguna Niguel, Calif., and also played in the Far West regional tournament, a feat for a player out of southern California.

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Like the forward position, defense is stacked with talent, and Nicholas Rochowski from Flower Mound, Texas, will have to fight to find any playing time in his first season. He may be the best recruit brought in by Fishbein. He is the only player in the ESPN top 150 for his age group.

Fishbein’s recruiting class is small and nowhere near the top-25 best classes in the country, and, besides Calderon and Wehan, this is a class that, realistically, won’t see much playing time for at least a few seasons.

The women’s team has come off back-to-back MWC championships and NCAA appearances, but they fell both years in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Head coach Kit Vela has brought in eight players. She said all of them bring a winning mentality to UNM.

Two Albuquerque natives, midfielder Alyssa Coonrod and defender Olivia Ferrier, join the team. They were both four-year starters at Volcano Vista High School.

Forwards Lindsay Guice from Fort Collins, Colo., and Annie Wheeler from Arlington, Texas, will help fill the gap left by senior forward Jennifer Williams’ graduation.

Williams scored 14 goals last season, but Wheeler should come in and start scoring straightaway. She scored 36 goals and snagged 36 assists in her three varsity seasons.

Vela also added to her already-heavy California roster with defender Katelyn Almeida and midfielders Tera Trujillo, Dylann O’Connor and Katie Hinman, all natives to the state.

California is one of the most competitive states for youth soccer and these players will come in ready to play.

Vela has brought in a strong recruiting class that should help UNM make it past the first round of the NCAA tournament.

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