Feb. 4, 2009
DeKALB – Northern Illinois head men’s soccer coach Steve Simmons signed four recruits to National Letters of Intent Wednesday, bringing in a diverse group to bolster the 2009 roster.
Simmons’ latest additions hail from four different states: Illinois, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas.
The group starts with Allen, Texas native Andrew Van Woesik, who attends Plano Senior High School where he has appeared in 71 matches. He has led his team to a 13-1 record so far this season. Van Woesik’s résumé is equally impressive on the club side. Competing with the AYSES, Van Woesik led his team to the North Texas State Cup championship in 2006 and 2007, and finished third at the 2008 Disney National Showcase. Simmons was especially impressed with Van Woesik’s accomplishments given the competition in the Dallas area.
“He is from an environment, where, very similar to Chicago, if you make it in that in environment, it’s saying something because it is so competitive,” Simmons said. “Over the years we have had freshmen make serious runs for playing time, and Andrew is in a position to do it this year.”
Much like the 2008 class, which saw three freshman start the Mid-American Conference Championship game for the Huskies, Simmons noted that all four members of the 2009 signing class have the capability to get on the field in their first season. One of the most intriguing freshmen to watch will be Ocean Springs, Mississippi native Jordan Godsey.
Godsey played forward at Ocean Springs High School, tallying 69 goals and 21 assists, but will play goalkeeper, his club position, for the Huskies. Godsey was converted into a goalkeeper while competing for the Mississippi Fire Juniors, an affiliate of the Chicago Fire. In that role, he was picked up by the Chicago Fire U-20 team that won the U-20 national championship. Godsey is a four-year member of the Mississippi Olympic Developmental Program, and also competes with Gulf Coast United.
“Jordan, a couple years ago, was converted into a goalkeeper,” Simmons said. “Then, as a high school player, he started in the U-20 national championship game. He came out of nowhere. He is an athlete. With his reflexes, his quickness, his instincts, and his judgment, it’s no wonder he could play in the field.”
While Godsey will play between the pipes, the Huskies have no shortage of field players in the 2009 class. Midfielder Mike Mascitti, the only Illinois native of this year’s group, comes to Northern Illinois from Downers Grove South High School in Downers Grove, Ill., the alma mater of former first-team all-conference Huskie Chris Rufa.
Mascitti, a consensus all-state selection, played in the Illinois All-State All-Star Game after scoring 13 goals and tallying five assists during his senior campaign. He garnered Great Midwest Classic Most Valuable Player honors and helped the Mustangs to a 16-6-3 record and to the Naperville Central Sectional finals. Though Mascitti sat out his junior season with an injury, he scored four goals and tallied an assist for the 14-5-4 regional champion Mustangs as a sophomore. For all his accomplishments on the field, Mascitti’s 4.3 grade point average on a 4.0 scale make it a toss-up whether he is a stronger student or athlete.
“Mike Mascitti, to me, is the total package, when you talk about student-athlete. Athletically, he is a winner. Academically, the grades speak for themselves.” Simmons said. “And after he had a pretty harsh knee injury last year, what came out of it was a young man who was not going to be denied his opportunity to play at the next level.”
Rounding out the 2009 class is midfielder Stefan Vaziri, a native of Birmingham, Ala. With his senior season still in progress, Vaziri has already competed in 72 matches. As a junior, he captained Oak Mountain High School to its second consecutive Class 6A AHSAA Championship, totaling 10 assists and one goal. His performance garnered first-team all-state and NSCAA All-South Region accolades, and he was selected to play for the North in the Alabama All-Star Game. Vaziri will arrive at NIU with high-level club experience, as well. He helped the Birmingham United Soccer Association to four consecutive State Cup Championships, from 2004-07, and the team also won the title in 2001 and 2002. One of eight players to participate with the UANG Tigers in Monterrey, Mexico, Vaziri is a member of the Alabama Olympic Development Program and was a Region III Team alternate selection.
“Stefan is a top-notch person, very committed and dedicated,” Simmons said. “He wants to be at the peak of his game at all times and be a team player. Since he is so driven, it’s hard to find out where exactly he will play, but it will be hard for me not to play him.”
Similar to the 2008 class, Simmons looked far and wide for players that could compete for time on next year’s squad.
“We ended the season against the number four team in the country starting three freshmen, so that says a lot about the class before this one,” Simmons said. “There is no doubt that the returning players are going to provide a whole lot of competition for these guys. We believe that this new class will challenge those players to make our team better.”
2009 Men's Soccer Signing Class
||Hometown (High School)
||Downers Grove, Ill. (Downers Grove South)
||Ocean Springs, Miss. (Ocean Springs)
||Birmingham, Ala. (Oak Mountain)
|Andrew Van Woesik
||Allen, Texas (Plano)