Feb. 12, 2004
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - 2003 West Coast Conference Coach of the Year Cameron Rast announced his 2004 recruiting class on Tuesday that includes seven players from California, one from Illinois and one from Nevada. These players enter a program that returned to the College Cup in 2003, narrowly dropping a 1-0, double-overtime contest to the eventual National Champion, Indiana Hoosiers.
Joseph Buttitta from San Jose; Christopher Clark from Naperville, Ill..; Matthew Hatzke from San Jose; Anton Hooker from Woodland Hills; Peter Lowry from Fair Oaks; Stryker Matthews from San Juan Capistrano; Christopher Moreo from Las Vegas, Nev.; Jamil Roberts from Fremont and Scott Sweeney from San Jose all signed valid National Letters of Intent to attend Santa Clara beginning in the Fall of 2004.
These talented recruits comprise Rast's second full recruiting class as the former Bronco standout enters his third season at the helm of his alma mater.
"This class of incoming freshman is one of the top recruiting classes in the country in both numbers and quality," said Rast. "We are excited about the class of 2007 and look forward to having them compete for Santa Clara University. They will fill some key areas within our program that finished last season at the College Cup.
"Each of our signees come from winning high school and club teams, with state and even National Championships," Rast continued. "Three players were invited into adidas ESP, an invitation showcase for the top 150 players across the country as voted by college coaches. That being said, we do have some high expectations for their futures and are looking forward to their contributions both on and off the field at Santa Clara."
All nine of these players will join the returning veterans from last year's squad in August when the squad reports for practice. Santa Clara loses four seniors to graduation and two juniors who declared early entry into the Major League Soccer Superdraft. The 2003 squad finished with a 16-4-4 overall record and earned a national semifinal appearance. The team captured the program's ninth West Coast Conference Championship in '03 after finishing the league slate with a 5-1-0 mark.
The Broncos will begin their quest for a return trip to the College Cup September 2 at the USF/Diadora Classic where they are tentatively scheduled to play UC Davis and UMass on their opening weekend.
SCU Men's Soccer 2004 Signees
Buttitta is a goalkeeper from nearby Bellarmine Prep in San Jose where he led the Bells to numerous local and national accolades. While at Bellarmine, Buttitta was named to the All-West Coast Catholic League second team while also earning Central Coast Section honorable mention honors. He allowed only one goal during his time between the pipes, posting the lowest goals-against average in WCAL history while also registering 14-straight shutouts, the fifth longest such streak in the nation. On the club side, Buttitta plays for the Santa Clara Sporting Ruckus.
During the 2002 season, Buttitta did not allow a goal during the Bellarmine's run through the playoffs, en route to the WCAL Championship and the title of 2002 National Champs with its 25-0-0 record.
"Joe is a talented goalkeeper with great potential," said Rast. "His attitude is tremendous and we look forward to having him in a formalized training environment to maximize his ability. He will be competing for playing time and the starting position in his first year."
Clark, a defensive midfielder, joins the Broncos from Neuqua Valley High School in his hometown of Naperville, Ill. While at Neuqua Valley, Clark led his team to a 28-1-1 record and the AA Illinois State Championship. He was a two-time all-conference performer while also earning academic all-conference honors. Playing club soccer for the Chicago Magic Soccer Club, Clark was a member of the USYSA National Championship team in 2003.
His 11 goals and three assists also garnered him First Team All-Area honors from both the Daily Herald and the Naperville Sun. Additionally, the Chicago Tribune named him First Team All-State performer and the Player of the Year.
"Chris is a tremendous student-athlete having been accepted to Santa Clara University with academic distinction," said Rast. "His size in midfield will add an important dimension to the team. Both his club team, Chicago Magic, and his high school, Nequa Valley, won national and state championships within the last year. He is a proven winner on the field and in the classroom."
Hatzke brings an offensive threat to the Broncos following his standout career at Bellarmine Prep where he, along with teammates and fellow SCU recruits Joseph Buttitta and Scott Sweeny, guided the Bells to a National Championship in 2002 and back-to-back WCAL Championships in 2002 and '03. He also plays with Buttitta and Sweeney on the Santa Clara Sporting Ruckus.
During his junior year in '03, Hatzke was named to the First Team All-WCAL while also earning Player of the Year honors. He was also named to the Second Team All-Mercury News squad last year. Entering his senior year in 2004, Hatzke was named a co-captain for the season.
"Matt is another tremendous student-athlete in this class, also being accepted to SCU with distinction," added Rast. "He is an attacking-minded player with creativity and tremendous work rate. His desire to compete is one of the areas that impresses me most and a reason why I think he will be very successful here at SCU."
An all-around strong athlete, Hooker is also a standout performer on the track and field team, running the 400-meters in a time of 52.38 seconds and the 1600-meters in a time of 5:20.0.
"Anton is a steady defender, who will look to earn time in our back line," said Rast. "His club team, So Cal United, won the National Championship for his age group recently and his athletic ability will allow him to compete for playing time and add depth to our back line."
Lowry joins the Bronco family from Bella Vista High School in Fair Oaks, Calif., the same high school that former SCU goalkeeper and 2003 first round pick of the San Jose Earthquakes, Steve Cronin, attended. While at Bella Vista, Lowry was a member of four league championship teams as well as the squad that won the CIF Northern California Division II Section Championship. The forward scored 29 goals and assisted on 20 others during the 2003 campaign.
Playing for the San Juan Soccer club team, Lowry was a member of the 2003 U.S. Club Soccer National Championship squad. He earned a spot in the 2003 U-18 National Team Pool and was a National Championship Finalist in the U-18 Olympic Development Team.
"Peter is undoubtedly one of the best soccer player in the country," said Rast. "His understanding of the game and ability to deliver the ball or score the big goal will make him an invaluable asset in our pursuit of another College Cup appearance. His time with the Irvine Strikers and most recently the San Juan Predators, in addition to his youth National team experience have him ready for the college game."
Matthews is a midfielder from Santa Margarita High School, located near his hometown of San Juan Capistrano, Calif. While at Santa Margarita, Matthews helped his team to a 20-4-5 record during his sophomore season and enters his senior campaign this year as a team captain.
His club experience is also very impressive, having played in Germany for a year with the U-19 FC Saarbruckan as a 16-year old and was subsequently chosen to the ODP Europe Team and Region I pool. He was also the leading scorer of his club team in 2003 when they captured the Nomads Tournament.
"Stryker is a talented left footed player with the ability to take defenders on going forward," added Rast. "His time in Germany seasoned his game into that of a young professional. When you add that to an outstanding club team in the Mission Viejo Pateadores and a great prep career at Santa Margarita High school, we are very excited to have Stryker at Santa Clara University."
Moreo is an athletic goalkeeper from Bishop Gorman High School in his hometown of Las Vegas, Nev. He is a four-year letterwinner and led his team to the 2003 Las Vegas State Championship. His three-year record entering his fourth year at Bishop Gorman is 44-2-2 and was voted twice by his teammates as the Best Defensive Player and Team MVP.
He has been a selected to the Nevada ODP team every year since he was 14 and has helped his club team to five Nevada Snickers State Championships in the last six years.
"Chris is a solid goalkeeper with great upside potential," said Rast. "He will compete with the other keepers for playing time and the starting role. I believe he is a winner and, while he has competed at a very high level, I believe his best is yet to come."
Roberts brings his defensive skills to the Broncos from Washington High School in nearby Fremont. During his first three seasons at Washington, Roberts has helped his team to a 32-2-2 record in league play and three-straight appearance in the North Coast Section playoffs. As a junior in 2003 he posted 27 goals and 11 assists.
His former club team, Fremont Lazio, went 31-8-2 during his time there and captured first place in the Premier League leading to his selection as one of the top-100 players and top-100 recruits in the country. In addition to his soccer ability, Roberts is also a four-year letterwinner on the baseball team.
"Jamil is an exceptional athlete with great soccer sense," said Rast. "We expect him to contribute immediately either in the back or the midfield. No doubt in my mind he will have a great four years in this program, I look forward to working with him on a daily basis."
Sweeney is another Bronco recruit from Bellarmine Prep, located only two miles away from the Mission Campus. The midfielder from San Jose is a three-year letterwinner for the Bells and was a member of the 2002 squad that finished the year as National Champions with their 25-0-0 record. He joins follow Santa Clara Sporting Ruckus club teammates Joe Buttitta and Matt Hatzke for next year's squad.
A skilled midfielder that can also play in the back, Sweeney was named to the 2003 All-Tournament team at the Marina High School Tournament. Also very active in the community, Sweeney put in over 85 hours of community service while at Bellarmine.
"Scott is not a flashy player, but his concentration and consistency will make him a solid contributor. His ability to defend and at the same time divide the ball will make him a valuable asset. We look forward to having the 2003 West Catholic Athletic League Player of the Year playing for us."