Men’s soccer lands twelfth-best recruiting class in nation


Jocelyn Moran

Redshirt-freshman midfielder Reagan Sherlock (left) celebrates with junior midfielder Spencer Madden (middle) and senior forward Damian German (right) during the Aztecs 2-0 victory over Brown on Sept. 15 at the SDSU Sports Deck. German had two goals during the match.

by Cristian Alvarez, Staff Writer

San Diego State men’s soccer is making waves in the Pac-12 Conference as head coach Lev Kirshner has put together the twelfth-best recruiting class in the nation, according to Top Drawer Soccer.

“We’re very proud and excited,” Kirshner said. “Those players need to come in here and prove why this class is ranked so high.”

Kirshner praised assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator Josh Hill for scouting top-ranked players.

“(Hill) is putting the right type of players in front of me,” Kirshner said. “He’s beloved by every player that we’ve been bringing into the program.”

A total of nine new players will make their way onto the pitch for the Aztecs this fall – four forwards, three defenders, one goalkeeper and one midfielder.

Kirshner aims to welcome the new players to be part of the SDSU family.

“Our expectations is for them to acclimate to the culture of our program,” Kirshner said. “Make sure that they’re putting their best foot forward every day.”

Kirshner said the priority in this year’s recruiting class was finding players who can score goals.

Last season, the Aztecs scored 16 tallies in all competitions at a mere rate of 0.89 goals per game.

“We needed to enhance our attacking presence and take some pressure off our defensive capabilities,” Kirshner said.

Some of the new attackers for the Aztecs are highly ranked on Top Drawer Soccer’s IMG Academy 150 college player rankings in the country – forwards Hunter George (No. 33), Ryan McCusker (No. 79) and Matthew Hoppe (No. 30 overall).

Although most of the recruits will not arrive until later this summer, freshmen defender Gísli Sigurdsson has already joined Kirshner’s squad this spring.

A native of Kópavogur, Iceland, Sigurdsson joins Swedish senior midfielders Hampus Bergdahl and Emil Kjellker as the only international players on Kirshner’s roster.

Sigurdsson played soccer at Íþróttafélag Reykjavíkur in Iceland’s second division where he was named the club’s top youth player while also having experience on the youth national teams.

“The coaches are bringing a lot of stuff to the table that I will learn from,” Sigurdsson said. “Being in another environment is going to help me not just as a player but personally as a man.”

Sigurdsson was sidelined in his first month at SDSU due to injuries but after recovering, earned some playing time during the team’s spring games.

The freshman hopes to land a spot in the starting lineup this upcoming fall.

“I just want to try my best to get into the starting eleven as soon as possible,” Sigurdsson said. “I want to try and make as much impact as I can.”

Kirshner said having a complete squad helps the team’s overall confidence heading into next season.

“The beautiful part of this spring was we had so many players returning that are going to be with us in the fall,” Kirshner said. “It’s going to put us in a very good starting position.”

Senior midfielder Pablo Pelaez, who was named the Aztecs’ most valuable player last season after scoring a team-high six goals, 15 points and tied for most assists (3), said the team wants to bring energy this season.

“That’s what this team can bring – energy, grit, passion and the need to win games,” Pelaez said.

Pelaez said the team, especially the seniors, want to make a run to be back into the NCAA tournament this year, a feat that has not occurred since 2016.

“We’re eager to get back into our final season and go into the tournament and win a game,” Pelaez said.

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