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NCAA Apr 18, 2019

Cornell men’s soccer program unveils 7-player recruiting class

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ITHACA, N.Y. (Via Cornell University) John Smith, the head coach of the Cornell men’s soccer team, has announced seven newcomers to the program.

William Citron, Connor Drought, Griffin Garrard, Kurt Lehmkuhl, Brady McSwain, Brandon Morales and Noel Ortega will be suiting for the Big Red in the upcoming 2019 season. The seven student-athletes hail from six different states and consists of two backs, four midfielders and a goalkeeper.

“We are thrilled to be able to finally announce our 2019 class,” Smith said. “An incredible amount of work has gone in over the last year or so, to shape what we believe to be a class which will represent this program exceptionally, both on and off the field. As good as the staff feels this group is, we couldn’t be happier in the realization that they will have a battle on their hands with a group of talented returners who have bought in from day one, and completely understand what it means to be part of Cornell Men’s Soccer. It is always fun to welcome a new set of players and their families to our program, and we all look forward to seeing this group set foot on campus in August.”


William Citron – CB – Iona Preparatory School                  
(NYCFC) Eastchester, N.Y.
Smith on Citron
Will is a very gifted central defender. He is tough, pacey, technical and has a great understanding of the game. I am always looking for my central defenders to have strong leadership skills, and Will certainly does not disappoint in this area—he is a natural leader. Will has the model mentality. What he has on the inside, you can’t coach.

Prior to Cornell

  • Attended Iona Prep in New Rochelle, but played club for NYCFC, an MLS academy team.
  • Led his club team to being crowned the U19 DA National Champion.
  • Team also claimed the U16 Generation Adidas Cup Premier Division Championship.

Connor Drought – LB – 5-6          
(Seattle Sounders Academy) Mukilteo, Wash.
Smith on Drought
Connor is a modern-day fullback—while being able to lock down his side defensively, he also has the desire and the ability to be a huge threat going forward. He has a comfort level in possession in both halves of the field, and has a very good end product when he finds the ball in the final third. I want our fullbacks to be point-getters, and Connor certainly falls into that category.

Prior to Cornell

  • Attended Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, Washington, and played club for Seattle Sounders Academy.
  • Led team to GA Cup U17 Premier Division title and to the USSDA U17 title in 2018.
  • Additionally, his club team earned the Youdan Cup claimed the U15 championship in England.
  • A member of the honor roll and dean’s list all four years, he was also the Kamiak HS student of the month in April 2016.

Griffin Garrard – CM/WM – 5-10
(PA Classics) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Smith on Garrard
Griffin has the ability to play both as a box-to-box central midfielder and also a winger. He has the physicality, the technical ability and the confidence to be a dominant midfielder who is capable of helping make us better on both sides of the ball. Ultimately, Griffin couples his abilities with the kind of feistiness, and determination which will help him become a huge success.

Prior to Cornell

  • Attended Shade Side Academy in Pittsburgh, but played club for PA Classics of the United States Soccer Development Academy, which he captained from 2015-17.
  • Was named to the ODP East Regional Team in 2015.
  • Three-year member of the varsity squash team, which he captained his senior year.
  • Recipient of the Science Award for Chemistry in 2016.
  • Participated in Shady Scribe, a program where he would work with younger students to help them with papers and help them become better writers.

Kurt Lehmkuhl – CM – 5-10
(Columbus Crew) Dublin, Ohio
Smith on Lehmkuhl
Kurt has been a consistent performer at the highest level of the USSDA for a long time now. In terms of what you would hope to see in a central midfielder, Kurt possesses a skillset which would likely tick the right boxes—He has great feet which affords him a wide range of passing, and he has a level of rangy athleticism which allows him to cover the ground extremely well.

Prior to Cornell

  • Attended Dublin Coffman HS in Dublin, Ohio, but played club for the Columbus Crew.
  • In 2018, he was named the captain of the U16/U17 team and was named a co-captain of the U18/U19 team the following year.
  • Was named the Generation Adidas Cup Top Performer in 2018.
  • Tabbed to the 2018 Boys DA U16/U17 Playoffs Best XI and playoff standouts.

Brady McSwain – GK – 6-4
(YSC Academy/Penn Fusion Soccer Academy) West Chester, Pa.
Smith on McSwain
Brady has the potential to be a formidable goalkeeper. He has great size which allows him to be a commanding presence in the box. He is a very good shot stopper, with the kind of positional awareness that makes him extremely difficult to beat. He also has good feet which he puts to great use helping his Philadelphia Union team build from the back.

Prior to Cornell

  • Attended both B Reed Henderson HS (2015-17) and YSC Academy (2017-19) where he played goalkeeper.
  • At B Reed Henderson HS, he was a two-year starter and was named an All-Ches Mont League performer.
  • At YSC Academy, he was a member of the team that ranked third in the nation in 2018. In all 10 regular season games he played in, McSwain did not allow a single goal.

Brandon Morales – CM/WM – 5-7
(IDEA College Preparatory/RGV Toros) Pharr, Texas
Smith on Morales
Brandon is another dynamic attack-minded player who, outside of his exciting offensive skills, also possesses a very good work ethic. He has an excellent first touch which is one of the reasons he is so dangerous in the attacking third of the field. He can both finish and set up equally well, and is one of the more two-footed players I have seen. Brandon’s experience playing at the USL level for the last two seasons ought to set him up nicely.

Prior to Cornell

  • Four year member of the varsity soccer team at IDEA Toros College Prep in Edinburg, Texas, where he played midfield and served as a team captain.
  • Played club for RGVFC Toros, which he also captained.
  • Morales was an AP Scholar.

Noel Ortega – WM/ACM – 5-5
(Birmingham Charter HS/Real So Cal) Van Nuys, Calif.
Smith on Ortega
Noel is an extremely exciting attacking midfielder, who could play both centrally and out wide. He has fantastic feet which makes him dangerous in 1 v 1 situations, and has the ability to both score and create. What is equally impressive about Noel, is his desire and his incredible work ethic, which you don’t always see in players with the kind of skillset he has.

Prior to Cornell

  • A two-year member of the varsity soccer team at Birmingham Charter High School in Lake Balboa, California.
  • Also played two years of club for Real So Cal.
  • Led his team to being crowned the LA City Champions in 2019.
  • Was the recipient of both the LA City Player of the Year award and the Daily News Player of the Year.
  • He was named to the West Valley All-League First team, in addition to being tabbed first team all-city and all-area.

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