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NCAA Jul 29, 2022

UMass men’s soccer announces 9-player recruiting class ahead of 2022 season

AMHERST, Mass. – University of Massachusetts men’s soccer head coach Fran O’Leary announced the addition of nine newcomers to the roster for the 2022 season.

The Minutemen welcome in seven newcomers from six different states in addition to newcomers from Canada and Northern Ireland.

Jack Anderson (Holyoke, Mass./Syracuse) comes to Amherst after spending last season at Syracuse as a freshman. The defender was a Connecticut All-State selection at Loomis Chaffee and was tabbed to the 2020 High School All-America watch list. Anderson played club soccer for Juventus West and earned an invite to the US Soccer National Team Futures Camp.

Matt Cence (Farmington, Conn./Farmington) joins the Minutemen by way of Farmington High School, where he was a two-year letterwinner while helping the River Hawks to a 2021 Class LL State Championship. The midfielder earned MVP of the state tournament and all-state and all-New England honors at Farmington after scoring 15 goals and dishing our 14 assists. Cence played club soccer for FSA FC, where he scored six goals with four assists.

A.J. Cucinotta (Dedham, Mass./Dedham) was a two-year team captain and four-year varsity team member at Dedham, where he scored eight goals and dished out 10 assists in 2021-22. The two-time Eastern Massachusetts All-Star was a team captain for club team New England Surf and helped the squad to four regional championships. Cucinotta was tabbed the State Cup Tournament MVP in addition to being named to the Best XI Team at the Under-17 National Tournament.

Aidan Kelly (Belfast, Northern Ireland/St. Malachy’s College Belfast) comes to Amherst from St. Malachy’s College Belfast, where he was named the St. Malachy’s Sportsman of the Year. Kelly was named the team captain of Northern Ireland’s u18 team and gained five international caps for the team. Kelly played club soccer with Cliftonville FC and was tabbed the Cliftonville Olympic Captain.

Aaron O’Malley (Germantown, Tenn./Houston HS) joins UMass from Houston High School in Tennessee and scored a goal in the Tennessee state final win. The midfielder was also tabbed a 2021 Memphis High School All-Metro Team selection. O’Malley also competed with Memphis 901 FC and captained the squad to five state championships and a regional title. He was part of a team that was named the USYS National League u18 Team of the Event in Orlando in 2021 and earned a contract with Memphis 901 FC’s USL Championship team.

Sefunmi Taiwo (Brampton, Ontario/Cardinal Ambrozic Secondary) attended Cardinal Ambrozic Secondary School and played club soccer for Athlete Institute FC. Taiwo was both a Honor Roll recipient and Ontario Scholar at Cardinal Ambrozic. The forward was a part of teams that won two OPDL Charity Shields and earned an invite to the Nigeria u17 National Team camp.

Nicholas Wilson (Selden, N.Y./Newfield) was an all-state, all-county, all-conference, and all-league selection at Newfield High School, where he was a Newfield Staff Scholarship recipient and President’s Award honoree off the field. Wilson played club soccer for Queensboro FC, where he helped the team to a United Premier Soccer League (USPL) Northeastern American Premier Championship in 2022 and helped the team to Northeast Division and Northeast Region titles.

Braeden Wright (St. Petersburg, Fla./Shorecrest Preparatory School) was a four-year letterwinner and three-year starter at Shorecrest Preparatory School, where he scored 15 goals and dished out 20 assists. The midfielder helped guide the squad to a FHSAA State High School Championship in 2019-20 and a no. 14 national ranking while the team earned a state runner-up trophy in 2018-19. Wright earned Pinellas County All-Star, MVP, and Shorecrest Golden Boot honors. Wright played club soccer with Clearwater Chargers SC, scoring 12 goals with 18 assists in 2021-22 while helping the team to a ranking as high as no. 6 nationally.

Matt Zambetti (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Virginia Tech) joins the Minutemen from Virginia Tech, where he earned 10 starts with two clean sheets during the 2020-21 campaign. The goalkeeper recorded a shutout against no. 15-ranked North Carolina with a career-high nine saves and helped the Hokies to the Sweet 16 as a sophomore. Zambetti was tabbed both an ACC Scholar-Athlete and All-ACC Academic Team selection in addition to being named to the Virginia Tech Athletic Director’s All-Academic Team in 2021. He was a three-time all-star selection at Cumberland Valley High School and helped the squad to a conference and district championship.

The Minutemen open the 2022 regular season on Thursday, Aug. 25 at Northeastern with the Rudd Field home opener scheduled for Monday, Aug. 29 at 4 p.m. against Sacred Heart.

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