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Men's Recruiting Jun 06, 2023

Northern Illinois University men’s soccer announces five-member signing class

DEKALB, Ill. – Northern Illinois University men’s soccer head coach Ryan Swan announced the signing of five players for the upcoming 2023 season.

Atahan Arslan (Ismir, Turkey), Sam Divis (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville), Amo Mashigo (Pretoria, South Africa/Juniata College), Caleb Pearson (Fort Worth, Texas/LD Bell) and Ben Suddeth (Winfield, Ill./Chicago State) will join the NIU program for the upcoming season.

Arslan is a goalkeeper from Ismir, Turkey, who plays in the Fenerbahçe Academy. Fenerbahçe is one of the leading clubs in Turkey, its first team having won the Turkish top division a record 28 times. Arslan helped the Fenerbahçe Academy win the U15 Turkish Championship in 2018-19 and is currently a member of the Fenerbahçe U19 team, where he has played 12 matches in 2022-23, recording six clean sheets.

“Atahan is a composed and athletic goalkeeper coming from a very prestigious level in Turkey,” said Swan. “He is quick off his line and is comfortable with the ball at his feet. We were impressed with his ability to deal with crosses and his distribution.”

Divis scored 11 goals and recorded 10 assists as a senior at Noblesville High School, helping to lead the Millers to their second consecutive Indiana Class 3A State Championships. Divis earned All-American and All-Region honors from the United Soccer Coaches, along with First Team All-State honors from the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association. Divis, who plays club soccer with Hoosier FC, was also named the Hamilton County Reporter Player of the Year.

“Sam has all the tools to be a very dangerous attacking player at the college level,” said Swan. “He is quick and strong and likes to get to goal. He comes from a great soccer background and will challenge for time in our attacking unit.”

Mashigo comes to NIU following two seasons at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. Originally from Pretoria, South Africa, Mashigo played in 29 matches in the past two seasons at Juniata, making 24 starts. This past season, the outside back recorded four assists while helping the Eagles to an eight-win season, the program’s most victories in nine years.

“Amo has the versatility to play in a couple of different positions for us,” said Swan. “He is comfortable on the ball and has a good range of passing. His athleticism will allow him to compete anywhere in the backline.”

Pearson, a goalkeeper from Fort Worth, Texas, joined the Solar U19 team in MLS Next during the 2022-23 season. He has appeared in 16 matches for Solar, recording nine shutouts. Prior to joining Solar, Pearson played with Lincoln FC and also was a member of the South Region Olympic Development Program (ODP). Pearson attends the same high school, LD Bell, as current Huskie women’s goalkeeper Sadie McGill.

“Caleb is a very brave goalkeeper and does a great job organizing his back line,” said Swan. “We were impressed with his communication and shot stopping every time we saw him play. He has the drive and mentality to excel here over the next four years.”

Suddeth joins the Huskies from Chicago State, where he played for two seasons. Suddeth started all 16 matches for the Cougars in 2022 and 17-of-18 games for Chicago State as a freshman in 2021. Suddeth attended West Chicago High School, where in 2019 he earned Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association All-State honors while helping lead the Wildcats to an Illinois Class 3A State Championship. He also played club soccer for Eclipse Select and the Chicago Mustangs.

“We have known Ben for a number of years and saw him play against us a few times for Chicago State over the last couple of seasons,” said Swan. “He is comfortable in several different positions and has the potential to be a great leader on our team.”

The quintet of signees joins Joe Hernandez (Bensenville, Ill./York Community), Kevin Kelly (Dublin, Ireland/Daytona State College), Luka Vasic (Maple, Ontario, Canada/Maple) and Ethan Wilson (Ajax, Ontario, Canada/Notre Dame Catholic Secondary), who were announced in February, to makeup NIU’s nine-man recruiting class for 2023.