Even having lost Mark Linnville ’13, a superstar center back who graduated with four first-team all-Ivy selections, and two-time first-team all-league selection Matt Sanner ’13, the men’s soccer team has fixed its sights on an Ivy League championship in 2013 and, with the addition of a promising class of freshmen, the squad looks to return to the NCAA Tournament after a two-year absence.
Head coach Jim Barlow welcomes seven freshmen to the program: one goalkeeper, two defenders and four midfielders.
“Everyone we recruit is a person who we think has the ability to make an impact and compete for a spot right away,” Barlow said.
Each freshman is accomplished at the high school and club level. Starting from the back, the Tigers add keeper Josh Haberman of Woodbury, N.Y., along with defenders Patrick Barba of San Diego, Calif. and Mark Romanowski of Rockville Centre, N.Y. Romanowski, a top prospect out of New York, earned All-America accolades from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Greg Seifert, Vikram Pothuri, Brian Costa and Bryan Windsor will add depth to the Princeton midfield. Seifert and Costa are both natives of New Jersey; the former was named MVP of the state high school all-star game, and the latter was New Jersey’s Gatorade Player of the Year during his senior season.Brian and Bryan share not only homophonic first names but also similar statures, listed at 5 feet 8 inches, 140 pounds and 5 feet 8 inches, 135 pounds, respectively. Windsor, whose first career goal gave the Tigers their first win on Sunday, was one of four U.S. players selected for the Global Finals of Nike’s “The Chance” competition.
Windsor outlined the selection process for The Daily Princetonian. Organized by Nike, the U.S. National Team scouts brought together their top 50 players from club competition and showcase events. The four best performers of the 50, in the scouts’ view, went to compete in Barcelona with rising stars from around the world.
“I just tried to make the best of my opportunity, and good things happened,” Windsor said. “I met some amazing people, and the soccer experience and cultural experience in Barcelona was top-notch. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my summer.”Costa, a defensive midfielder at the Pingry School and for the Player Development Academy, won the garden state’s Gatorade POY award for — according to the official release — “not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field.”
“When I was a kid, my family would — we live about 40 minutes away — come over to Princeton, and we would watch soccer and basketball games and walk around the campus,” Costa said when asked why he chose Princeton. “I absolutely loved it. Since I was a kid, Princeton was always the place I wanted to go.”
“My freshman year, I would want to help the team in any way possible,” he added. “If I were to get on the field, I think with my work ethic, I could cover a lot of ground for the team and make some defensive plays.”
Barlow held back on singling out a potential impact recruit from this crop, suggesting that the next few weeks would be telling:?“It’s a pretty deep group right now, so it will be fun to see all the challenges and all the competition during preseason as guys arrive and we see how prepared for soccer at the next level and the demands of the college game [they are],” he said.
When asked about the objectives of this year’s squad, Barlow remarked on increasing the goal tally.“We thought we could be a team that could score a lot of goals [last season], but that didn’t quite go our way,” he said. “If you ask anyone on our team, they’ll say they want to win the Ivy League and go deep into the NCAA Tournament every year,” he continued. “But we really want to focus on the next game that we’re playing.”