Maryland men’s soccer announces 2021 recruiting class

Maryland soccer coach Sasho Cirovski crouches on the sideline during his team's 1-0 loss to Georgetown on Oct. 14, 2019 at Ludwig Field. (Gabby Baniqued/The Diamondback)

Maryland men’s soccer Coach Sasho Cirovski has developed a reputation as a prudent recruiter during his 20-plus years at the helm of the Terps’ program. Reaching into local talent as well as far overseas, the three-time national champion has brought some of the top talent to College Park.

And the global nature of this year’s recruits is no different. Maryland announced its 2021 class Thursday, with a crop of 10 players hailing from seven states and three countries.

“I am very excited to announce our 2021 recruiting class,” Cirovski said in a statement. “We have players from great high school and club programs, and also with quality international experiences.”

The group is highlighted by a trio of overseas players with national-level experience. Defender Alex Nitzl hails from Neuried, Germany, and he’s the latest in a number of Germans to represent the Terps.

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He had an extensive club soccer education, tallying 84 appearances for Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich’s youth teams, and also spent time at Hoffenheim. Nitzl represented German youth national teams 21 times, including all five matches of the U-17 World Cup in 2017. He can play across the back line and also as a defensive midfielder.

“Alex is a very versatile, experienced and talented player,” Cirovski said. “He has a high soccer IQ, an advanced feel for the game and is very proficient technically and tactically.”

Maryland also enticed New Zealander Henry Hamilton to College Park. The midfielder has represented his country at the U-17 World Cup, and also has some experience in the New Zealand Premiership, suiting up for Wellington Phoenix. 

“Henry is a very polished box to box midfielder, capable of playing in any of the midfield positions,” Cirovski said. “He has a gifted left foot and is a great competitor.”

Rounding out that trio is Joshua Bolma. The Ghanaian attacking midfielder tallied numerous caps for its youth national team side. He played high school ball at national champions South Kent in Connecticut, where he scored 33 goals and added 27 assists in his career. 

“Joshua is a very gifted attacking player. His balance, agility and quickness combined with his vision and creative feel for the game make him a special dynamic player,” Cirovski said.

The Terps have also reached into some domestic talent. Midfielder Richie Nichols is the latest in a number of Baltimore-area recruits to commit to College Park. Captaining the competitive Baltimore Armour US Development Academy side, Nichols established himself as a highly regarded No. 8. He found the back of the net 21 times and assisted 25 others during his high school years. 

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Forward Caden Stafford is another highly-regarded prospect soon to arrive in College Park. A goal scoring striker with some creative chops, he has spent time in the Philadelphia Union Academy and made a handful of appearances for its USL II side, scoring twice. Stafford netted 42 goals and added 34 assists in a single high school season in 2018. 

Maryland’s class is rounded out by numerous other domestic players. Forward Kyle Brown also hails from the Baltimore Armour setup, scoring seven goals in Development Academy action. Caden Byrnes, the only goalie in the class, played for Real Colorado and only conceded three goals in a deep playoff run for his side.

Attacking midfielder Griffin Dillon captained the No. 1 club team in Utah. Forward Marcus Garcia was named an All-State talent in New Mexico in 2019. Midfielder Dalton Hass showed the propensity to play as a winger or full back, a versatile skill set poised to make him a useful attribute for the Terps.

“We have secured some of the best players locally as well as from many regions nationally and internationally,” Cirovski said. “Our fans will love watching and supporting this crop of highly talented players.”

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