Spartanburg, S.C. – Looking to build on its best season ever on the Division I level in 2012 but also having to fill several holes left by departing seniors, USC Upstate head men's soccer coach Dr. Greg Hooks has announced his recruiting class for the 2013 season.
Hooks and the men's soccer program have added nine new players to the program who will join a solid core of returning players and two players who transferred to Upstate last spring and will see their first regular season action in a Spartan uniform in 2013.
Rinaldi Alphonse, Sam Cheshier, Julian Feneberg, Marco Figueroa, Adam Hemati, Kyle Juell, Sam Moss, Deon Rose and Mills Sproull have all signed to play at Upstate beginning this coming fall. They join Westin Lendon and Michael Schwindl as newcomers this season. Lendon and Schwindl were enrolled at Upstate last spring and will suit up for the Spartans for the first time this fall.
"I am really excited about this recruiting class and look forward to getting them on campus to start preseason workouts in a month," said Hooks. "All of these players have had success prior to coming to Upstate. I believe, as a group, they will come in and help fill spots we need to fill after the departure of a solid group of seniors from last year. We want to build on our successes from last year and I believe this group of new players will help lead us in reaching our goals."
Alphonse (Palmetto, Ga.) was a standout varsity player for four years at Trinity Christian School. He also spent time training with the Haitian U-20 National Team prior to his senior year and played in two friendly matches against Cuba as well as playing U-20 World Cup qualifying games against Bermuda, Barbados and Puerto Rico. As a senior at Trinity Christian, he was an all-state and all-region selection, leading Trinity to its first ever appearance in the Elite 8 of the state tournament. He led the region with 28 goals. In all, he was a two-time all-state and all-region selection and scored 54 goals in his high school career. In addition to his time at Trinity Christian, he played club soccer for the United Futbol Academy in the Region II Premier League. A solid student in the classroom, he was a member of the National Beta Club.
Cheshier (Spartanburg, S.C.) is the son of former Upstate all-time great and member of the Upstate Athletics Hall of Fame, Bob Cheshier. Cheshier was a four-year standout at Broome High School. A three-time all-region selection, he helped lead Broome to the region championship as a sophomore in 2011. He earned the Impact Award as a freshman and sophomore at Broome, was team Most Valuable Player as a junior and the captain of the team as a senior. In addition to his play at Broome, he played club soccer for Spartanburg Arsenal in 2011 and 2012, leading the squad to a third-place finish in the State Cup in 2011. Solid in the classroom, he graduated with a 4.01 GPA.
Feneberg (Durach, Germany) transferred to Upstate after spending his first year of college at nearby Newberry. He started 13 games for the Wolves, finishing the year with four points on a goal and two assists playing in the midfield. Prior to his time at Newberry, Feneberg had a solid club career in Germany. He made steady progress throughout his club team, notching a goal and 17 assists as team captain of the U17 Landesliga for FC Memmingen, earning Bavaria State All-Star honors in 2010. He was promoted to the U17 Bayernliga later that year and was a State-All-Star selection as well. He was promoted to the U19 Bayernliga in 2010-11 and finished the season with eight goals and 14 assists. He participated in the South German Championships with the U19 State All-Star team. He studied at FOS Kempten.
Figueroa (Austin, Texas) is a transfer from Greensboro College and will have two years of eligibility with Upstate. He played defender and defensive midfielder while at Greensboro and posted two assists in his 35-game career with the Pride. Prior to his stint at Greensboro, he was a team captain at Anderson High School from 2008-10, highlighting his career with eight goals and 21 assists as a junior. In addition to his play in high school, he played club soccer for the Lonestar Football Club under Upstate Athletics Hall of Fame member Victor Pace, who is the club's South Director for Player Development, and for coaches Bruce Talbot and Sean Bubb.
Hemati (Aurora, Ontario) had a standout club and high school career as a central midfielder in Canada. He was a member of the Ontario Provincial Team that advanced to Nationals and finished second in 2011. He currently plays for the Vaughn (Power) FC alongside fellow Spartan signee Deon Rose. Prior to his time with Vaughn FC, he was a member of the North Toronto Nitros from 2008-12. He was team captain and in the top three scorers on the team each year. He was named team Most Valuable Player after leading the Nitros to the league championship in 2011. He also spent 14 months playing for the Toronto FC Academy. He was a standout player at ESC Renaissance where he was a three-year team captain and team MVP on his high school team. He led the team to three straight Conora Cup titles from 2011-13 and four consecutive AESD Cup championships from 2010-13. A standout in the classroom, he received the Math Award for having the highest average in 2012.
Juell (Fort Mill, S.C.) has been a standout player at Nation Ford High School the past two years. He played in 30 games over the last two seasons and finished his prep career with 30 points on nine goals and 12 assists. In addition to his high school career, he has played soccer the last two years for the Carolina Elite Soccer Academy (CESA) along with fellow incoming recruit Sam Moss. The team was the Region III champion and advanced to Nationals in Edmond, Okla. In addition, Juell helped lead the team to the 2012 ESPN Disney U-18 championship. CESA is ranked 14th in the nation in U-18 club soccer.
Lendon (Peachtree City, Ga.) transferred to Upstate last spring after spending his freshman season at High Point. He played in three games for the Panthers. Prior to his stint at High Point, he was a four-year letterman at McIntosh High School. He helped guide the team to three straight appearances in the state finals. He was named one of the top players in the Class of 2012 as well as a top defender to watch in Georgia by ESPNHS. He was rated as a three-star prospect by TopDrawerSoccer.com. He was just one of 16 players in the history of the McIntosh program to letter as a freshman. In addition to his high school career, he had a solid club background playing with the Concorde Fire of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. He helped lead the team to first place in the Southeast Division with a 20-2-3 record, the second-best mark in the nation in 2011.
Moss (Williamston, S.C.) capped a standout prep career at Wren High School by scoring the winning goal in the North-South All-Star game, lifting the North squad to a 3-1 victory over the South team in June. Moss was a strong offensive player at Wren and led the team to the 3A Upper State championship game as a senior. He scored two goals in the Upper State semifinals to push the squad to victory over Belton-Honea Path and just one step away from playing for the state title. He earned all-state honors from the South Carolina High School Soccer Coaches Association. While a standout at Wren, he also turned in a strong career for the Carolina Elite Soccer Academy (CESA) which is ranked 14th in the nation in the U-18 ranks. He led the team to the Region III championship and an appearance in the Nationals in Edmond, Okla., while also taking home the 2012 ESPN Disney U-18 title.
Rose (Brampton, Ontario) has turned in a strong junior/club career in Canada. He has spent time with the Toronto Football Club and is currently playing alongside fellow Spartan signee Adam Hemati with the Vaughn (Power) FC. A steady defender, he trained with the U-19 Canadian National team.
Schwindl (Munich, Germany) enrolled at Upstate as a true freshman last spring and has four years of eligibility remaining. He had a standout career in the German Junior Bundesliga for team TSV 1860 Munich. He helped lead the team to a third-place finish in the U-19 German Championships in 2011 and the title at the 2011 Bavarian Indoor Championships. He closed out his career playing with the TSV Aindling club in the Bayernliga prior to coming to Upstate.
Sproull (Birmingham, Ala.) is the highest rated player by TopDrawerSoccer.com to ever sign at Upstate. He is a four-star recruit and the sixth-ranked South Region player in the TDS rankings. He scored seven goals for the Vestavia Steamers 95 Black RPL/SPL League club team, leading the squad to the State Cup championship and the Region 3 championship in 2012. Prior to his stint with Vestavia, he played for the Birmingham United Soccer Club from 2009-12. He scored seven goals and notched six assists on the U-18 team in 2011-12, tallied six goals and seven assists on the U16 team in 2010-11 and helped lead the team to the state championship and an appearance in the Dallas Cup in 2009-10. He was a member of the Alabama '94 ODP squad that traveled to Guadalajara as well. He was also a stellar player at Oak Mountain High School where he led the team to the 6A state championship in 2011 and back-to-back 6A state finals appearances in 2012 and 2013. He was an Alabama High School State All-Star selection in 2013.