After Maryland men’s soccer’s third-straight season without a national championship trophy, the Terps have brought in an 11-player recruiting class coach Sasho Cirovski feels brings a needed depth and balance to the team.
He believes the additions compliment a roster that has the most experience and maturity since 2018, when Maryland took home its fourth national championship.
“It’s a good, really nice blend of hungry, returning, mature talent and a lot of youthful energy and ability,” Cirovski said after the Terps’ exhibition game against American Aug. 13.
The class of nine freshmen and two transfers contains players in positions across the field, including five forwards, two midfielders, three defenders and a goalkeeper. The class was ranked seventh in the country by Top Drawer Soccer in its 2022 recruiting class rankings.
While Cirovski’s recruits usually hail from across the globe, the incoming group features a majority of local players. Five of nine incoming freshmen played for high schools or clubs in Maryland during their youth careers, while three others hail from neighboring Pennsylvania and Virginia.
“Our 2022 class has all the attributes we look for in our players, skill and drive on the field and great work ethic off it,” Cirovski said in a release. “This class has a distinct local flavor that highlights the quality of soccer in our region.”
One of two transfers in Maryland’s incoming class, Copetti and the Terps’ four other new attackers have an opportunity to make an instant impact after Maryland had six forwards leave at the end of last season.
He was Marist’s top scorer last season, notching a goal or assist during a 10-game stretch as the Red Foxes won the MAAC tournament and appeared in the NCAA tournament. The forward finished the year with nine goals and three assists, and he was named first team All-MAAC and third team All-East region.
“Stefan is an athletic forward that can play any of the front three roles,” Cirovski said in a release. “He is a capable playmaker and provider but what I really like is his will to score. He has two good feet and is a presence in the air.”
Copetti totalled 14 goals and nine assists in 41 games over two seasons at Marist and was called up to the U-15 Canadian national team camp in 2015. He has two years of eligibility remaining.
His father, Jack Copetti, played at Maryland from 1985 to 1988 and earned three All-ACC first team selections.
[No. 20 Maryland men’s soccer defeats No. 14 Marshall, 2-1, in final preseason friendly]
Copetti will link up with fellow transfer Giammattei in Maryland’s offense. Giammattei transferred to the Terps from Division III national finalists Amherst.
He scored 45 goals and notched 12 assists in 64 career appearances for the Mammoths. The forward led the team in goals and points during all three of his seasons at Amherst.
Giammattei’s goalscoring record helped the Mammoths to two straight DIII national championship appearances, in which Amherst fell to Tufts and Connecticut College. He is the only player to ever be named the Division III player of the year in consecutive seasons.
“German is a gifted goalscorer. He truly has a sixth sense as a finisher,” Cirovski said in a release. “The variety of ways in which he found the back of the net during his career at Amherst is really impressive.”
Griffith joined the Terps as their highest ranked recruit, slotting in at No. 71 in the Top Drawer Soccer/IMG Top 200.
He was named MLS NEXT MVP at the U19 level in July after scoring 28 goals in 18 games for Players Development Academy in New Jersey, helping the club reach the quarterfinals of the playoffs. He was selected to participate in the 2022 MLS NEXT All-Star Game.
“Colin is a gifted goal scoring striker that can also play the role of provider,” Cirovski said in a release. “He has a great feel of how to create space for himself and his teammates … What sets him apart is his balance, speed and guile on the ball, which poses a consistent threat for opposing defenses.”
The Pennsylvania native has represented Barbados’ youth national teams and appeared at the 2019 CONCACAF Boys’ U-15 Championship.
Riley is the only new addition to score in one of Maryland’s public preseason friendlies. He notched a goal in the Terps’ 2-0 victory against American on Aug. 13.
Cirovski said Riley can play any of the midfield or forward positions.
“Max is a versatile, clever and aggressive player,” Cirovski said in a release. “His gifted left foot allows him to play with flair, while his strong physical presence gives him the ability to be productive and compete in different roles on the field.”
The freshman played high school soccer at Urbana and helped the Hawks to a 4A state championship game appearance in 2018. Riley — born in Macclesfield, England — played club soccer for Bethesda SC.
[Three takeaways from Maryland men’s soccer’s 2-0 preseason victory over American]
Gregory played club soccer for Braddock Road Youth Club in Virginia, and Cirovski said the forward can play centrally or wide in any position along the front line.
He was named first team all-state while playing high school soccer at Oakton. The freshman was also a three-time district champion in track.
Ndrenika could feature in the midfield after impressing Cirovski during the spring semester, in which the freshman joined the team early.
“Albi, as a freshman, is way ahead of schedule,” Cirovski said after Maryland’s match with American. “He came last spring and was a bright spot last spring.”
Ndrenika played for Christos FC in USL League Two over the summer, scoring five goals and notching two assists in seven appearances. He was nominated for the USL League Two Young Player of the Year award.
He played club soccer for Baltimore Armour, helping the team win the 2021 Dallas Cup and top its 2021 MLS Next Fest group. The Maryland native was also ranked 128th in the Top Drawer Soccer/IMG Top 200.
“At Baltimore Armour, [Ndrenika] showed his advanced feel for the game, combined with his high-level skill set, which made players around him better,” Cirovski said in a release. “He has a strong shot and a creative flair, which causes him to be a dual threat as both a scorer and a passer.”
Matias de Jesus
Jesus is one of three players who played club soccer for Baltimore Celtic in the freshman class.
He was an All-Catholic League first team selection at Loyola Blakefield and won a state cup with Celtic in 2021.
“Matias is a technical and intelligent player that can play in any of the midfield positions,” Cirovski said in a release. “He is a player who has a knack for delivering on set pieces and can score and provide in the run of play.”
[Maryland men’s soccer releases 2022 schedule]
A late addition to the incoming class, Costabile is the only freshman to commit to the Terps from outside the U.S.
The Danish left back has played for FC Helsingör’s U19 team and joined AC Crema 1908 of Italy’s Serie D in 2021. He made 23 appearances for Crema last season, scoring once.
“He brings a lot of experience. Although he’s a freshman, he’s a little older, and I feel like he’s had a lot of time under his belt at [left back],” defender Nick Richardson said. “He’s very gifted technically, he has a very good head on his shoulders. Just getting to know him, he’s a great kid, he brings a lot of character.”
Cirovski is excited to see what Costabile brings in a position he wanted to fill, which could allow Alex Nitzl to feature elsewhere in Maryland’s back line or midfield.
“I’ve been really pleased with what we’ve seen with Luca right now, because we wanted a left-footed left back that can attack,” Cirovski said after Maryland’s game against American.
DeVries will bolster Maryland’s depth at center back after Brett St. Martin exhausted his eligibility last year.
“Mack is a physical and technical left-footed central defender,” Cirovski said in a release. “He is a natural leader who is comfortable playing out of the back. He has great range in his passing and is very strong in the air and takes pride in his set pieces.”
He ranked 104th in the Top Drawer Soccer/IMG Top 200 and played club soccer for PA Classics.
Brian St. Martin
St. Martin joined the Terps as his older brother, Brett, departed. Cirovski said the freshman can play at right back or in defensive midfield.
He won two state cups and three-straight national league titles with Baltimore Celtic during his youth club career.
Seger became the third goalkeeper on the Terps’ roster, adding depth behind Jamie Lowell and Niklas Neumann.
The Maryland native earned a number of accolades at the high school level atHenry E. Lackey, being named to the 2021 Washington Post All-Metro first team and a 2021 All-State honorable mention. He was ranked No. 108 in the Top Drawer Soccer/IMG Top 200.
He played club soccer for Baltimore Celtic and was called up to the U.S. U-15 national team in 2018.
“Mikah is a dominant presence on the field as a goalkeeper,” Cirovski said in a release. “He has outstanding communication skills and a solid command of his back line. He is very confident with both his feet and hands and can distribute the ball efficiently and effectively.”