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NCAA May 21, 2024

Princeton men’s soccer team brings in six new Tigers for the Class of 2028

PRINCETON, N.J. – The Princeton University men’s soccer team will welcome six newcomers as its Class of 2028, as announced by Head Coach Jim Barlow.

“The team and coaching staff are really excited to welcome these six talented and competitive individuals to Princeton Soccer,” said head coach Jim Barlow. “Coaches Maira, Totten and I have enjoyed watching them play and getting to know them off the field, and we expect all of them to make big contributions to Princeton Soccer and Princeton University. After a successful spring season, we can’t wait to add these guys to the returning group and get started. It should be a very exciting fall season.”

The Tigers welcome Cyrus Klinenberg, Nathan Salero, Roka Tsunehara, Kristian Kelley, Dash Papez and Garry Zhang.


Cyrus Klinenberg

Princeton’s soccer program gains a formidable asset in the talented midfielder/forward Cyrus Klinenberg for the 2024 season. Hailing from New York City and honing his skills at The Fieldston School and for Met Oval Academy, Cyrus has made waves in the soccer scene. Standing at 5’11” and weighing 160 pounds, Cyrus’s list of accolades speaks volumes about his abilities, having been ranked #74 in the nation by TopDrawer Soccer and earning the distinction of a two-time United Soccer Coaches All American in 2022 and 2023. His international exposure includes a notable trial with Scotland’s Aberdeen F.C. Academy.

Off the field, Cyrus exemplifies a well-rounded commitment to his community and academics. He dedicated three years to volunteering with DOROT. Additionally, Cyrus pursued academic enrichment through a summer research internship in social science at Northwestern University. With a family deeply rooted in academia—his parents are professors at New York University and his sister attends The Fieldston School—Cyrus embodies a blend of athletic excellence, community engagement, and scholarly ambition that promises a bright future both in sports and in his academic pursuits at Princeton.

Nathan Salerno

Nathan Salerno, a towering 6’3″ goalkeeper hailing from Chesterland, Ohio, brings a commanding presence to Princeton’s soccer roster for the upcoming season. Having earned his stripes at ASU Preparatory Academy and the Columbus Crew 2 MLS Next Pro team, Nathan’s achievements between the goalposts are nothing short of impressive. Notably, he played a pivotal role in securing home field advantage for Crew 2 in the MLS Next Pro playoffs with a crucial victory over Atlanta United. Nathan’s talent has also earned him the opportunity to train with the Columbus Crew First Team, showcasing his potential at the professional level.

Beyond his achievements on the field, Nathan’s academic and community engagement are equally noteworthy. Graduating Suma Cum Laude and a member of the National Honor Society, he exemplifies academic excellence alongside his athletic pursuits. Nathan’s commitment to giving back to the community is evident through his volunteer coaching with the PAL (Police Athletic League) for young children. His internship experiences with the Cleveland Force and Cleveland Professional Soccer further demonstrate a well-rounded dedication to both sports and professional development. With a strong academic foundation and a family legacy of athletic excellence—his father being a four-time Academic All-Big Ten and University Scholar Athlete—Nathan embodies the values of scholarship and sportsmanship that Princeton University holds in high regard.

Roka Tsunehara

Princeton Soccer welcomes a dynamic addition in Roka Tsunehara, a skilled forward standing at 5’9″ from Burlingame, CA. Roka’s soccer journey is defined by his impressive goal-scoring abilities and contributions to elite youth teams. Notably, he played a pivotal role in the DeAnza Force U16 team’s journey to the semi-finals of the MLS Next Cup in 2022, where he not only emerged as the top scorer but also earned recognition as the MLS Next U16 National MVP. His stellar performance earned him an invitation to the inaugural MLS Next All-Star Game. Roka continued to shine with the San Jose Earthquakes U17 team, leading them as the top scorer to the semi-finals of the MLS Next Cup in 2023.

Off the field, Roka demonstrates a commitment to community service, having volunteered at local food banks and served as a coach at a non-profit soccer camp. These experiences reflect Roka’s dedication to making a positive impact beyond the pitch. Currently playing with San Jose Earthquakes II (now The Town FC), Roka brings a blend of competitive drive and community spirit to Princeton. With a track record of success in youth soccer and a passion for giving back, Roka’s well-rounded approach aligns perfectly with Princeton’s ethos of excellence both on and off the field.

Kristian Kelley

Princeton Soccer gains a versatile midfielder in Kristian Kelley, standing at 5’10” and hailing from Dallas, Texas. Kristian’s experience with the Real Monarchs MLS Next Pro team extends beyond the field, where he participated as a coach for a refugee camp, showcasing his leadership and compassion. Additionally, Kristian’s initiative in organizing a winter coat drive for young kids in Dallas underscores his commitment to making a positive impact in his community.

Kristian’s soccer journey includes stints with renowned clubs such as RCD Espanyol and Paris Saint Germaine, highlighting his exposure to top-tier international competition and training. Notably, he has a family connection to Princeton Men’s Soccer through his older brother, Kevin Kelley. This familial tie speaks to Kristian’s familiarity with Princeton’s soccer program and its values, further emphasizing his potential to contribute both athletically and personally to the team. With a blend of international experience, community service, and a family legacy within Princeton Soccer, Kristian Kelley represents a promising addition to the Princeton roster for the upcoming season.

Dash Papez

Dash Papez, a standout center back towering at 6’1″ from McLean, VA, brings a wealth of experience and leadership to Princeton Soccer. Having honed his skills at The Potomac School and the prestigious DC United Academy since U13, Dash’s soccer journey is marked by consistent excellence and achievements. As captain of the DC United Academy Squad for an impressive five years, Dash exemplifies strong leadership qualities and dedication to his craft.

On the field, Dash’s accomplishments speak volumes. He played a pivotal role in leading his team to victory as U16 MLS NEXT Cup Champions and made deep playoff runs in both the U15 and U17 MLS NEXT Playoffs. Dash’s commitment to his development extends beyond youth soccer, as evidenced by his training stints with the USL Championship team Loudoun United. His rostering for a USL Championship match further underscores his readiness to compete at higher levels of play.

Dash has garnered recognition as one of the top defenders in the Class of 2024 by PrepSoccer, highlighting his technical proficiency and tactical acumen. With a combination of leadership, skill, and a proven track record of success, Dash Papez is poised to make a significant impact on Princeton’s defense, embodying the values of dedication and excellence that define the Princeton soccer program.

Garry Zhang

Princeton Soccer welcomes Garry Zhang, an accomplished midfielder hailing from Fairfax, VA. Garry’s exceptional talent on the field is highlighted by his impressive achievements, including winning the U16 MLS Next Cup in 2022 with D.C. United Academy, and representing Loudoun United in the USL Championship. His determination and skill were further demonstrated by reaching the quarterfinals of the U17 MLS Next Cup and qualifying for the U17 GA Cup in 2023. Garry’s dedication to excellence extends to his aspirations of playing professional soccer, fueled by his participation in US Youth National Team identification centers from 2019 to 2021.

Beyond his athletic prowess, Garry excels academically as a National Merit Commended Scholar and Valedictorian at Pearson Online Academy, showcasing his commitment to academic success alongside his athletic pursuits. Garry’s impact extends into the community, where he generously shares his passion for soccer by coaching young children aged 6 to 8. His multifaceted achievements and leadership qualities make him an exceptional addition to the Princeton Soccer team, embodying the values of scholarship, sportsmanship, and ambition that define the program.