Luzzi Spans Country with First Recruiting Class



Feb. 3, 2010



DeKALB - Northern Illinois head men's soccer coach Eric Luzzi added seven players to his 2010 roster on national signing day, the first-year leader announced Wednesday.

"I am very excited to announce our first recruiting class," Luzzi said. "As a class, they possess the personality, character, and talent that will continue to move our program forward and help ensure that we continue to be competitive with the top teams in the nation."

From the back looking forward, the class starts with goalkeeper Miles Herbert. The Libertyville, Ill. native (Libertyville H.S.) played with Chicago Magic in the US Soccer Developmental Academy, and helped Eclipse FC to the State Cup Championship as a junior.

"I had worked with Miles for a few years with our state and regional ODP teams, and I knew early on that he would be a goalkeeper that I would want to have in our program," Luzzi said. "He is a very well rounded goalkeeper, who also has the ability to make the big save."

Luzzi also added two top-notch defenders. An early enrollee who is already practicing with the team, Sean Totsch (Oswego, Ill./Oswego) is a member of the Chicago Sun-Times All-State Third Team, and has impressed Luzzi early in the spring season.

"In the time we have been together so far in our spring season, Sean has shown that he will be a very good player for us," Luzzi said. "His ability to consistently connect passes, his physical strength, and his honest work rate has allowed him to step right in and compete with our returning players this spring."

The Huskies will also add North Carolina native Daniel Sassano (Gastonia, N.C./Forestview) to their backline. Sassano currently plays at the highest youth soccer level in the nation as a member of the US Soccer Developmental Academy with his club North Meck.

"[Danny's] understanding of how to play as a center back, his positioning and reading of the game, his communication, and his composure under pressure will serve him very well at NIU," Luzzi said. "We have always taken pride in our team's ability to defend, and Daniel will help ensure that very good team defending remains an important part of our identity as a team."

In the midfield, Luzzi brought in four players for 2010. As an attacking midfielder, Karim Darbaki will come to DeKalb from Shattuck St. Mary's in Faribault, Minn.

"Karim is a player who has an amazingly high ceiling," Luzzi said of the 6-2, 180-pound high school senior. "Karim has the technical ability, vision, and athletic potential to have a great impact on our team, and to eventually continue playing after college."

Batavia, Ohio native Will Walker (Batavia H.S.) will also help bolster the Huskie attack from the midfield. Walker is a first-team all-state selection and two-time conference player of the year. As a senior he scored 25 goals and had 24 assists.

"[Will] has a very good soccer brain, great technical range, and a very honest attitude and personality," Luzzi said. "Even more impressive is how he has improved since this summer. He has grown a few inches and added a few pounds which will help his transition to Division I soccer."

Rounding out the midfield are signees are Houston Hoffman (Sioux Falls, S.D./Lincoln) and Kenny Kranz (Champaign, Ill./Centennial). Hoffman was a key member of two state championship teams and a three-time first-team all-state selection.

"[Hoffman] is potentially one of the best players to ever play in South Dakota, and I suspect that he will surprise us and a lot of others when he arrives in the fall," Luzzi said. "His speed and quickness, work rate, ability to run at players one-on-one, and his personality fits our style of play very well."

Kranz joins the Huskies after one-year stints at Parkland College and Central College.

"Kenny also impressed us at our recent prospect camp with his energy, vision, and technical ability, and we knew that he is a guy that we wanted in our program," Luzzi said. "He will come in with two years of college under his belt, which will ease his transition to NIU."

Luzzi credited his coaching staff for helping him compile the 2010 class.

"Much credit needs to go to our assistant coaches, Scott Donnelly and Garrett Biller for their hard work in putting this class together," Luzzi said. "In their first year on our staff, they have developed a great eye for identifying and bringing in the type of player and person who will thrive at NIU -- players who are winners, players who work hard, players who understand the responsibility of being a Division I athlete, and players who possess the ability to care about their teammates as much as they care about themselves."

Overall, Luzzi expressed excitement about the seven newest members of the Huskie men's soccer program.

"This is a class that will help us achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves on and off the field," he said. "I am excited to add these players to our Huskie soccer family this fall, and I am excited to be a part of their development as people and as players over the next four years."

2010 Northern Illinois Men's Soccer Recuiting Class
Name Yr. Ht. Wt. Pos. Hometown High School/Last School
Karim Darbaki Fr. 6-2 180 M/F Faribault, Minn. Shattuck St. Mary's
Miles Herbert Fr. 5-11 175 GK Libertyville, Ill. Libertyville
Houston Hoffman Fr. 5-10 150 M Sioux Falls, S.D. Lincoln
Kenny Kranz Jr. 6-0 168 M Champaign, Ill. Centennial/Parkland College
Daniel Sassano Fr. 5-11 150 D Gastonia, N.C. Forestview
Sean Totsch Fr. 6-2 185 D Oswego, Ill. Oswego
Will Walker Fr. 5-7 150 M Batavia, Ohio Batavia



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