CHARLOTTESVILLE – Virginia’s men’s soccer recruiting class was rated No. 1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference by TopDrawerSoccer.com, the publication recently announced. The class, which includes Will Bates, Shane Cooke, Marcus Douglas, Sean Murnane, Ahkeel Rodney and Will Whorton, will play for the Cavaliers this fall.
TopDrawerSoccer.com rated UVa’s recruiting class as the best in the league, followed by defending national champion Maryland, Wake Forest, Boston College and Clemson.
“This class is well-balanced from top to bottom in terms of attacking players, defensive players and a goalkeeper,” Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch said. “Technically and athletically, there is a lot of versatility in this group.”
Bates (Chester, Va. / Thomas Dale), a 6-0 forward, has competed with the Under-15, Under-17 and Under-18 US National Teams from 2005-09. He played club soccer for the Richmond Strikers and was a four-year starter for two-time state champion Thomas Dale High School. Bates finished his high school career with 47 goals and 46 assists and was named to the first team all-state, first team all-region and first team all-central district teams.
“Will is a powerful, athletic forward with national team experience,” Gelnovatch said. “He comes from a very well-coached Richmond Strikers club team and is one of the top players in the state of Virginia.”
Cooke (Warrenton, Va. / Liberty), a 6-2 forward, is a product of DC United Academy and was a member of the Under-18 US National Team. He holds Liberty High School’s record for most goals in a game and season, and was nominated as the 2007 DC United Youth Player of the Year.
“Shane is another top player in the state of Virginia,” Gelnovatch said. “He is a left-sided, lanky player who is technical and has size.”
Marcus Douglas (Washington, D.C. / Gonzaga), a 5-11 forward/midfielder/defender, played for the DC United Youth Team and Potomac Cougars as the club level. For Gonzaga High School, he was a two-time first team all-conference (WCAC) selection and second team all-metro selection. Douglas also co-captained the Virginia state team that traveled to Germany.
“Marcus is an athletic, skillful player,” Gelnovatch said. “He has the potential to play several different positions for us.”
Murnane (Centreville, Va. / Westfield), a 5-11 forward/midfielder/defender, earned first team all-state, all-metro, all-region and all-district honors throughout his high school career. He led Northern Virginia in goals scored his junior year, en route to being named a Virginia State Gatorade Player of the Year nominee. Listed on TopDrawerSoccer’s Players To Watch in 2009, Murnane was captain of the Under-18 DC United Academy team.
“Sean is extremely versatile and can probably play any position on the field,” Gelnovatch said. “He is another one of the top players in the state of Virginia.”
Rodney (Elmont, N.Y. / Elmont), a 6-1 forward, was a 2008 All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and ESPN RISE. A first team all-state and all-region selection on Long Island, Rodney was chosen as Newsday’s Player of the Year in 2007 and 2008. A member of the Under-20 US National Team that competed in Mexico, Rodney finished his high school career with 74 goals and 52 assists.
“Ahkeel is a powerful, athletic forward out of Long Island,” Gelnovatch said. “He has experience with some of our youth national teams and is also very versatile in that he can play several different positions.”
Whorton (Atlanta, Ga. / Northview), a 6-1 goalkeeper, played for the Norcross Fury on the club level. He was a member of the 2008 Georgia State Under-17 champion and Region III semifinalist team. His team is currently ranked No. 1 in the state of Georgia.
“Will is a technically sound, athletic goalkeeper out of Atlanta, Ga.,” Gelnovatch said. “He comes from a very good club team.”
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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