April 20, 2009
ROCHESTER, Mich. - The Oakland University men's soccer team has added 13 new faces to its 2009 roster, announced first-year head coach Eric Pogue. Joseph Ashmore (Farmington Hills), Ryan Barrett (Grand Rapids), John Dreshaj (Clinton Township), Nick Kristock (Novi), Brett Lentz (Rochester Hills), James Leutzinger (Romeo), Shane Lyons (Plainwell), Scott Messer (Clarkston), Dennis O'Rourke (Rochester Hills), Chris Tatti (Port Huron), Leshorn Woods-Henry (Whitby, Ontario), Scott Zech (Plymouth) and Steve Zenas (Dexter) will join the team for the upcoming fall season.
"These 13 young men all exhibit the types of qualities that we want to continue to build the foundation of Oakland soccer; athleticism, hard work, blue-collar mentality, and mentally strong. The depth of talent in this group has to be considered one of the strongest recruiting classes we have had here at Oakland. Many of them will be asked to step in and contribute right away here at Oakland this fall."
Barrett is ranked as one of the top 20 recruits by TopDrawerSoccer.com and will play either defense or midfield for the Golden Grizzlies. A senior at East Grand Rapids High School, Barrett plays for the Derby County Wolves club soccer team under coach Dave Hicklin. He guided them to the 2007 USYSA national championship.
"Ryan is a great late addition to our recruiting class," said Pogue. "He is coming off an injury in 2008, but we feel Ryan will return to top form and compete for playing time from Day One here at Oakland in the backline or midfield."
Lyons, a senior at Plainwell High School, is a three-time all-state honoree, including Dream Team in his final season. He also plays with the Derby County Wolves club team and led his high school team in scoring in all four seasons. He was named team captain during senior season.
"Shane is an extremely talented striker that has a knack for putting the ball in the back of the net," said Pogue. "He has great size, athleticism and soccer knowledge, and we think he will immediately impact our team."
A two-time captain at Rochester High School, O'Rourke was named team most valuable player after junior and senior seasons. He garnered all-league, all-district, all-region and all-state third team honors as a senior. O'Rourke plays club soccer with Vardar Academy under coach Demir Muftari and will help OU out in either the back line or in the midfield.
"Dennis is a very solid and dependable defender with the versatility to play in the midfield," said Pogue. "He has good size and skill, and we expect him to be a valuable contributor to the team right away."
Woods-Henry is a senior at Cardinal Newman Catholic High School, just outside of Toronto. A four-year letterwinner, he should challenge for playing time in the midfield or forward position for Oakland. Woods-Henry works out with the Trinidad Under 20 National Team.
"We feel very fortunate to add a player of Leshorn's abilities," said Pogue. "With his experience on the Trinidad youth national team, we fully expect him to have a very successful career at Oakland and add to our already very potent attack in 2009."
Ashmore, a native of Farmington Hills, Mich., is a senior at Farmington High School. He is a three-year letterwinner in soccer and captained the team in his final season, earning most valuable player honors and garnered all-league and all-district honors. Ashmore currently plays for WAZA football club in Livonia for coach Dan Diac.
"Joe brings the right approach to the game that we are looking for at Oakland; hard working, blue collar, defensive-minded and an intense competitor," said Pogue. "We look forward to seeing some great things from him."
Dreshaj is the newest addition to the class and is finishing up at Chippewa Valley High School. A three-year letterwinner in soccer, Dreshaj led his team to a pair of conference championships in final two seasons and earned all-state honors as a senior. He plays club soccer for Vardar Academy.
"John has all the physical abilities to be a standout defender for us," said Pogue. "He is 6 feet, 4 inches tall, athletic, with good skill. "Dennis (O'Rourke) and he make a great tandem in the backline for the Vardar Academy team currently, so we are excited about the future."
Kristock just completed his senior season of soccer at Detroit Catholic Central in Novi, Mich. A four-year letterwinner, Kristock is a two-time all-state honoree and served as team captain in final two seasons. He also lettered in hockey for one season and was named team captain. Kristock plays club soccer for the Michigan Rush under coach Mark Zathey.
"Nick is a lock-down defender and an all-around great person on and off the field," said Pogue. "He has the leadership qualities that we are looking for."
Lentz hails from Rochester Hills, Mich., and attends Avondale High School in Auburn Hills. He lettered in four seasons and led his team to a district championship as a junior. A two-time all-state selection, Lentz holds single-season and career school records in goals and points. He plays club soccer with Ashmore for WAZA.
"Brett is an athletic, hard working versatile player that we expect great things from here at Oakland," said Pogue. "Every time we see him, he impresses us more and more."
Leutzinger will join the OU soccer team after finishing up his senior year at Warren De La Salle Collegiate High School. There he earned one varsity letter in soccer and garnered all-state, all-district and all-region honors. He also earned a varsity letter as a kicker on the Romeo High School football team prior to attending De La Salle and plays his club soccer for the Derby County Wolves as a defender.
"James is a defender with good strength and skill," said Pogue. "He was developed at great soccer programs at Warren De LaSalle and Derby County Wolves, so he knows what it takes to be winner and to be successful."
Messer currently resides in Clarkston, Mich., and attends Clarkston High School. He concluded his senior season as a goalkeeper and was named team captain. Messer was tabbed all-state in each of his final two seasons and plays for the Vardar club team.
"Scott has unlimited potential with his size and athleticism and shot stopping ability," said Pogue. "He is next in line of great Oakland goalkeepers."
Tatti is enrolled at Port Huron High School completing his senior season. He earned three varsity letters in soccer and four in football. Tatti garnered all-state honorable mention honors in both football and soccer.
"Chris a great athlete that was a standout football player at Port Huron High School," said Pogue. "We believe that once Chris commits to playing soccer year-round, he has the athleticism and work ethic to be a key player here at OU."
Zech is a three-time all-state selection at Canton High School. He was team captain as a senior and earned a total of four varsity letters as a defender. Zech also lettered for three seasons in track and field and played his club soccer for the Derby County Wolves.
"Scott is cut from the right mold to be a great defender here," said Pogue. "Hard working, blue collar, tenacious, and tough to get by. Scott will be a great player and leader for us on and off the field."
Zenas is a senior at Dexter High School where he was a three-year letterwinner in soccer. He led his team to a MHSAA Division 2 State Championship as a sophomore and runner-up finishes in his junior and senior seasons. Zenas earned all-region honors as a defender in his final two seasons and was elected team captain during his senior campaign. He plays his club soccer for the Derby County Wolves.
"Steve will add depth to our backline immediately," said Pogue. "He is extremely hard working, brings great intensity and understands the game at a high level."