Wright State men's soccer head coach Bryan Davis has announced the addition of 15 players for the 2017 season.
One of the biggest classes in program history, the 15 will join a strong returning base, led by fifth-year senior Sam DeRoy, and attempt to replace a senior class that helped lead the Raiders to three straight appearances in the Horizon League championship match.
Joining the Raiders are Tim Gyenis, Ethan Hay, Florian Hoffman, Alex Hummel, Brayden McNitt, Ian Molfenter, Blake Pittser, Grady Schliepsiek, Deniz Sipahi, Harvey Slade, Will Stone, Kamron Stout, Wayne Walter, Charles Wolfe and Christian Wright.
While eight states—Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Texas and Wisconsin—are represented in this class, the class also has an international flavor as two players from England and one from Germany will be joining the program.
Florian Hoffmann (Bayreuth, Germany), a 6-2 central defender, played for Spvgg Bayreuth in 2016, which finished fourth in Germany. Prior to that, he was of FC Carl Zeiss Jena from 2012 to 2015.
"Florian comes to us from a very high pedigree," said Davis. "He is capable of playing at the highest levels of the game and we are thrilled to be the next step in his journey. He will be a great addition on and off the field."
Will Stone (Littlehampton, England), a 6-2 forward, was a two-time National Junior College Athletic Association All-American, a two-time Region III Player of the Year, the Western New York Athletic Conference (WNYAC) Freshman Male Athlete of the Year in 2015 and a two time all-region and all-conference selection while competing at Genesee Community College. He led the country in points with 66 as he was third with 23 goals and second in assists with 20.
Genesee's all-time leader in points (134) and goals (48), Stone is second in assists with 38 as he started 38 of 39 matches in two seasons. He helped Genesee to back-to-back regional titles and national tournament appearances in 2015 and 2016, including a third place national finish last fall. He is part of a sophomore class that tallied 36 wins in two years.
"Will, in one word, is dangerous," said Davis. "He possesses the qualities we love in attacking players. He is crafty, a clinical finisher, dangerous minded and like all good attacking players, unequivically confident. He is going to be a great player for us and we are excited to get him on campus."
Harvey Slade (Bournemouth, England), a 6-4 central midfielder, played club football for Bashley FC in the Wessex Premier League. He was part of the Bashley U19 team which won the national youth alliance league.
"Harvey is one of those kids you won't miss," said Davis. "First off, you can't since he is 6-4 and physically can impose himself on the game. Second, and most of all, he plays at a very high standard and I think will be extremely impactful at the college level. He is a quality player and an even better person and I'm happy to have him."
The Raiders will also be adding two players from the United States Soccer Development Academy, the highest level of youth soccer, in Brayden McNitt and Deniz Sipahi.
Brayden McNitt (Brighton, MI/Hartland), a 5-11 midfielder, has competed the past three years with the Crew SC Academy Wolves. The team was the USSDA U16 Great Lakes division champs in 2015 and the USSDA U18 Great Lakes division champs in 2016. He was also part of the Michigan Wolves program that won state and regional titles in 2013 and 2014 and received a best 11 award at the national championships in 2014.
"We are thrilled to welcome Brayden into our family," said Davis. "From day one, he was a player that really fits what we value as a program. He is a great person, hard working in all facets of life, and very good on the ball and in his decision making on the field. He has a chance to do some big things with us and I think he will thrive in our day to day highly competitive environment. I'm looking forward to his arrival on campus."
Deniz Sipahi (Houston, TX) grew up playing in the U.S Development Academy and ODP systems and was selected for the ODP region team twice before joining the Houston Dynamo Academy his freshman year of high school. He represented his team in Generation Adidas Tournaments, Dallas Cups, and National Training Centers. Sipahi joined the Texans SC Houston USDA U-18 team as a junior in high school and continued to represent his club in National Training Centers regularly. In the summer before his senior year, he guest trained with both Besiktas and Fenerbahce U-19 academies in Turkey.
Prior to graduating from the Texans Academy he took a semester off to play for FC Gland in the deuxieme ligue of Switzerland, tallying eight goals and four assists.
"Deniz comes to us in many ways a bit of a sleeper in the class," said Davis. "He's a late bloomer whose value and worth seems to grow daily. We are excited because we feel in our environment, he will really take off with the support of our staff and the highly fair and competitive nature of our day-to-day environment. We are really excited to have him."
Six other players from outside Ohio will be a part of the Wright State team in the fall in Tim Gyenis and Wayne Walter from Florida, Alex Hummel from Wisconsin, Grady Schleipsiek of Illinois, Kamron Stout of Kentucky and Charles Wolfe from Maryland.
Tim Gyenis (Tampa, FL/Jesuit), a 6-3 goalkeeper, earned several honors as a senior, including All-State, team Defensive Player of the Year, MVP Hillsborough County and Star Player by the Tampa Bay Times. During his junior and senior years, he played in 4198 minutes, recorded 191 saves and 23 shutouts and allowed 50 goals while posting a 0.95 goals against average.
Gyenis led Jesuit to a regional championship and an appearance in the state semifinals. Prior to playing at Jesuit, he played at Belen Jesuit in Miami and Jesuit High School in New Orleans.
Gyenis played club soccer for Tampa Bay United, Florida Fire Juniors and Louisiana Fire Juniors while training with Region 3 ODP. He also was a member of the Emerging Talent Chicago Fire Select team.
"Tim comes to us a very accomplished youth goalkeeper," said Davis. "We have really stayed patient in finding the right player to come in and compete and grow in our system. Tim rewarded our patience and I am excited for him to come in and compete with our other goalkeepers."
Wayne Walter (Naples, FL/Palmetto), a 5-9 defender, played for SWFL Adrenaline PDL team for two years. A four-year letterwinner in high school, he was named All-Area First Team by the Naples Daily News, First Team All-County, team MVP as a senior and team captain as a junior and senior.
At the club level, Walter was a captain for the last two years for Elite Soccer Academy Southwest Florida.
"Wayne is a very gifted defender," said Davis. "Getting to know him and his family in the recruiting process, it is clear he is a perfect fit for us. Sticking with the theme of finding special players from all over the country, Wayne is going to be a great defender at the college level. We are very happy to have him with us and I'm really excited to see him on campus."
Alex Hummel (Green Bay, WI/Preble), a 6-4 defender, earned Honorable Mention All-State honors as a senior as well as First Team All-Fox River Classic Conference. He was a Second Team All-Conference performer as a sophomore.
The Hornets were the WIAA Division I State Runners-Up in 2016 and have won two conference titles and three WIAA Regional crowns in the three years that Hummel earned a varsity letter. On the club level, he has played for FC Wisconsin North since 2015 and served as a team captain.
"Alex can truly play at this level. He also has qualities as an athlete that are truly uncoachable," said Davis. "He is a great athlete and has dominant size. I think he is a player that a few years from now, people will really kick themselves for not pursuing. Alex has the physicality, drive, athleticism and work rate to really take off in our environment. More than that, though, he is a heck of a person and the type of person that will find a path and have success. He's an easy kid to bet on and I'm very pleased he is coming to us."
Grady Schliepsiek (Peoria, IL/Notre Dame), a 5-9 midfielder, was a three-year starter for the Irish. An All-State and All-Area selection as a senior, he was All-Conference as a junior as Notre Dame finished second in the state. Schliepsiek played club at FC Peoria for six years before switching to the Central Illinois Soccer Club.
"The theme for this year is finding high level players that other schools overlooked and missed. Grady is the embodiment of this," said Davis. "I have a feeling a lot of schools will regret not finding this kid. He is a good soccer player, is extremely dangerous as a player, and my favorite part is that he is relentless in the attack. I look forward to seeing his growth in our program and seeing this kid let loose on opponents in the attack. He will be fun to watch and I'm happy he is with us."
Kamron Stout (Paris, KY/Bourbon County), a 6-2 forward, was a Kentucky Region 10 All-District and All-Region selection as a junior and senior for the Colonels, scoring 50 goals and adding 10 assists during those two years. He also was a four-year participant with the Lexington Football Club 99 White Premier team and was part of four Kentucky State Cup championship teams and one runner-up.
"Kamron is a sleeper," said Davis. "We are so very fortunate to have him coming in because I believe he has some big days ahead of him. When he puts the work in, he will be a name our fans will read about in the coming years. He is big, strong, physical and has a knack for scoring goals. As he grows in his craft and masters it, I believe that he will truly blossom here with our highly competitive environment."
Charles Wolfe (Leonardtown, MD/St. Mary's Ryken), a goalkeeper, was named All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Honorable Mention last season as he posted eight shutouts for the Knights and gave up just 16 goals in 19 matches overall.
"Charles comes to us as a bit of an unknown player by many coaches, said Davis. "Being from southern Maryland can limit exposure unless you make the long drive to DC to play club soccer. I think Charles has some pretty great days in front of him. He will have an amazing development environment for him to really learn his craft in and I think he has the work ethic to really have success at our level. We are excited to add him to our program."
The Raiders yearly bring in a strong class of Ohio players and this year is no different in Christian Wright, Blake Pittser, Ethan Hay and Ian Molfenter.
Christian Wright (Springboro, OH/Springboro), a 6-2 defender, was the Greater Western Ohio Conference Player of the Year in 2016 as he helped Springboro win its first-ever district title. He was also named the Miami Valley Player of the Year, First Team All-State in Division I and to the Great Lakes All-Region Team.
Wright was a five-year starter in high school, playing his eighth and ninth grade years at The Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was selected Second Team All-State, First Team All-Area, First Team All-GWOC along with the GWOC South Player of the Year his junior season.
At the club level, Wright has been a two-year captain with Ohio Galaxies, was part of the US Youth Soccer National League and has played in many of the elite tournaments across the country. Wright also has several years of ODP experience under his belt, playing on an ODP Tennessee team that has already sent several players to many Division I colleges, US National Team Members and several professional players.
"Christian continues our yearly trend of always recruiting the top players from the Dayton area," said Davis. "He is a great talent, gifted on the ball, a top end athlete, and a first class person. It is my belief he comes in the same mold of 2017 MLS Draft Pick Jake Stovall as a player and I am excited to see his path of growth within our system. The sky is the limit for this player."
Blake Pittser (Washington Court House, OH/Miami Trace), a 5-9 midfielder, was a three-time team MVP during his four years with the Panthers. He was also a four-time First Team All-South Central Ohio League selection as well as four-time First Team All-Southeast District and OSSCA All-State Player as a senior. Pittser is the all-time leading scorer in Miami Trace history with 59 goals and 26 assists.
Pittser started club soccer with Northern Warren County (NWC) Alliance which transitioned to Ohio Galaxies FC. This Ohio Galaxies 98 Elite Team earned three Ohio South State Cup Championships, two Midwest Regional League titles, a US Regional Tournament Semi-Finalist award and participated in the US National League for three seasons.
"We are so fortunate to have a player and person of Blake's quality coming to us," said Davis. "The best players in the world do the simple things very well. Blake does the simple things very well. He has really come on as we've followed his growth and I think he will be a great addition on the field and another great addition as a person to the high character and culture of this program. We are lucky to have him."
Ethan Hay (Cincinnati, OH/Roger Bacon), a 6-0 midfielder, was a National Soccer Coaches Association of American All-Great Lakes Region selection as a senior as well as First Team All-Ohio and First Team All-Greater Catholic League. A Cincinnati Enquirer Fall All-Star, Hay had 19 goals and a school-record 18 assists as a senior as the Spartans had a final record 18-3-1 and advanced to the regional finals. He finished his career with 28 goals and 22 assists.
Hay was part of the Cincinnati United Premier club team that won the Disney Showcase.
"Ethan, I believe, is a late bloomer whose best days are ahead of him," said Davis. "He has the ability and drive to grow into a great college player and I think will develop quite nicely in our system. Along with that, Ethan is a top flight athlete. His ability to cover large amounts of ground truly will separate him as a competitor as it all comes together for him. I'm excited to have a front row seat to see it."
Ian Molfenter (Dayton, OH/Carroll), a 5-10 forward, played last season as a freshman at Ohio Wesleyan, where he played in 14 matches and scored a goal against Hope. The Bishops finished 10-5-3 and appeared in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
A three-year letterwinner for the Patriots, Molfenter captained Carroll to a 18-5 record and a Division II state semfinal appearance as a senior. He was Second Team All-State and First Team All-GCL in 2015 as he scored nine goals and had 17 assists and was Second Team All-GCL as a sophomore.
Part of the Ohio Galaxies FC club team, Molfenter was part of the 2016 Ohio South State championship team that was also a Region II championship finalist, where he tied for team lead in goals.
"Ian was a welcome surprise addition to our program," said Davis. "He is a talented player with an edge our young group will need as we work to compete for another conference title. We have a strong track record of taking the best players out of Dayton area and developing them into very effective and successful college players. I'm excited to see how he grows here."