University of Pennsylvania men’s soccer team signs eight 2021 recruits
PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania‘s head men’s soccer coach, Brian Gill, has announced the Quakers’ recruiting class for the 2021 season, which is ranked 18th in the country by TopDrawerSoccer.
Eight young men — Tommy Altirs, Brandon Curran, Ben Do, Charlie Gaffney, Stas Korzeniowski, Aaron Messer, Nico Pereira and Cullen Scott — will join the Penn men’s soccer roster next fall as freshmen.
“It’s nice to be able to change the tone to one of excitement for the future as we announce the Class of 2025,” Gill said. “We are very excited to welcome this group to Penn and into the program! They are an accomplished and focused group of student-athletes with a bright future ahead of them, which is important for the program as we work to replace a hugely influential class of outgoing seniors. Personally, I would like to thank both Jonathan Delano and Steve DeMatteo for all of their efforts to help identify and assemble this class that has the potential to impact Penn Soccer on and off the field.”
High School: Academic Honor Roll from 2017-20
Club/Academy: Competes with Cedar Stars Academy MLS Next since 2011 … Team captain for two seasons of U18/19 team, as well as captain of U16/17 team in 2018-19 season.
Personal: Son of Elisabeth and George Altirs … Brother, George, plays soccer for Dartmouth … Brother, Alexander, is fencer enrolled at Durkan Fencing Academy … Brother, William, plays soccer for U15 Cedar Stars MLS Next team … Brother, Leonard, plays soccer for U13 Cedar Stars MLS Next team … Played with teammate, Josh Negrete, at Cedar Stars Academy … Will enroll in Wharton.
Why He Chose Penn: “Penn is the best fit for me academically and athletically. At Penn, I will be able to grow as a player and a person on and off the field. Penn’s campus is also a great enclosed environment with access to the city nearby.”
Coach Gill: “Tommy is someone who we think has a lot of good days ahead of him. He has a sound technical approach to the game and a lot of good physical attributes to work with, which could make him a pretty versatile player. Maybe his best trait is that while he is a quiet and humble person, he is also a very competitive player with a determined mentality for wanting to improve and help the team win. We are excited to get the chance to work with him through his college career.”
High School: Four-year letter winner at La Salle College, including two years as team captain … Two-time Philadelphia Catholic League and District champion … Guided team to state semifinals junior season … 2020 Regional All-America and All-State … Two-time First-Team All-League, All-Area and All-Region (2019-20) … Team Most Valuable Player … Fifth-highest single-season scorer in school history with 29 points … Part of team with most wins in school history, going 22-2 in 2019 … Lettered four years in volleyball, including two years as team captain … 2019 First-Team All-League … Four years of academic honors … National Honor Society … World Soccer Club … Spanish Conversation Club … Student Ambassador.
Club/Academy: Competes for Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals since 2015 … Team captain since 2017 … Three-time EPYSA State Cup champions (2016-18) … Jefferson Cup champions (2017) … Potomac Memorial Tournament champions (2018) … National League participants (2019-21).
Personal: Son of Karen and Joseph Curran … Mother ran track at Shippensburg University … Father played football at Lebanon Valley College … Sister, Madeline, is Division I rower at University of Delaware … Will enroll in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Why He Chose Penn: “Since I was young Penn has always been my dream school. Out of all the schools I was recruited by, I was impressed most by Penn’s coaching staff. Penn also has the perfect combination of high level academics and a top-tier soccer team.”
Coach Gill: “In every recruiting class, we try to take stock of the local Philadelphia area players that can hopefully bring good quality to Penn. Brandon checks a lot of those boxes. He is a competitive, athletic player who has a good amount of versatility to his game. He is someone who has been a leader on his teams and we look forward to seeing how he develops over these next couple of years.”
High School: Played from 2018-19 at Bellarmine College Prep … Team ranked No. 4 nationally by MaxPrep and CBS Sports … West Catholic Athletic League runner-up … Central Coast Section Region Open Division champion … NorCal State CIF Division 1 champion … All-WCAL Honorable Mention … College Board AP Scholar … Bellarmine Korean Club Ambassador … Bellarmine Shadow Guide and host of Shadow program … Big Brother program … President of Bellarmine Futsal Club … Photographer for online school newspaper … Volunteer at E-Soccer San Jose Earthquakes Outreach program … Alter Server at St. Angela Merici Parish … Tutor for Amigos de Guadalupe Tutoring program at local public schools.
Club/Academy: Competes with San Jose Earthquakes Development Academy since 2017, currently playing for U20 team … Team captain at U17 level … Three-star recruit by Top Drawer Soccer … Ranked No. 124 in IMG Top 200 … Ranked No. 35 defender in nation for Class of 2021 … Ranked No. 8 for Class of 2021 in Northern California and Hawaii region … Qualified for Final Eight in Development Academy Cup championship … U17 team ranked No. 5 nationally by Top Drawer Soccer (2020) … Prior to Earthquakes, competed for Santa Cruz Breakers from 2015-17 … 2017 US National Team Training Center Invitation.
Personal: Son of Anna Lee and Matthew Do … Sister, Samantha, played varsity tennis all four years in high school … Will enroll in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Why He Chose Penn: “I committed to Penn because of its strong balance in academics and athletics that is a team on and off the field.”
Coach Gill: “This is one of the more interesting stories in the class. Ben attended one of our camps the summer before COVID, because of his family friendship with one of our graduating seniors and fellow San Jose Earthquake Academy product, Amado Lozano. We were able to learn a lot more about his personality as well as see his quality as a player at the camp. Ben is a dependable fullback who uses his quickness and balance to his advantage in 1v1 defensive situations. He also has the ability to impact the game in the attack with both his passing and crossing ability.”
High School: Played for two years at The Bush School … Qualified for Washington State tournament … 2017 Bush Soccer Rookie of the Year.
Club/Academy: Currently plays for Portland Timbers Academy since 2020 … Played for Seattle Sounders Academy for a year prior … Competed at Liga MX International Youth tournament (2019) … Won DA Cup group, qualifying for Spring DA Cup … Prior to the Sounders, played for Seattle United from 2013-19 … 2017 Washington State Cup champion … 2018 USYS West Regionals quarterfinalists … 2018 Surf Cup champion … Two-time Far West Regional League champion (2018-19) … 2019 USYS National League Group champion … 2019 USYS National Championships Best XI … 2018 Region IV ODP team member at ODP Interregional event … Selected to represent Seattle United with Generation Adidas International … Trained and played at and against AFC Ajax.
Personal: Son of Amy and Thomas Gaffney … Played with teammate Leo Burney while with Seattle Sounders Academy … Will enroll in the School of Arts and Sciences.
Why He Chose Penn: “For me, Penn felt like the perfect combination of academics and athletics, and it also happens to be in a great city. I am ecstatic about the opportunity to be able to play and study at such an amazing university, and also to live in a different part of the country.”
Coach Gill: “Charlie is an exciting attacking player who can use his technical ability along with his natural dynamic qualities to influence a game. He has the ability to create or take chances himself while playing in a few different attacking positions. Over the last couple of years, his play has taken some very promising steps while being exposed to the game at higher levels. We are hoping that trend will continue as he transitions to our environment at Penn. ”
High School: Played four years for Pennington, including team captain his senior season … Three-time Mercer County Tournament champion (2017-19) … The Trentonian’s 2020 All-Prep Player of the Year and First-Team All-Prep and All-Area … Trenton Times 2020 Player of the Year and First-Team All-Area … Two-time Fall High School State Stars selection (2019-20) … Named Soccer All-Stars First-Team All-Prep (2019) … Scored 28 goals and 11 assists over high school career, including seven goals in three games senior season … 2020 recipient of “Robert Young ’70 Memorial Award for Scholar-Athlete” … Spanish Honor’s Society … Academic High Honors throughout high school, including two Dean’s List honors.
Club/Academy: Plays for Players Development Academy since 2016 … Team captain of U19 team … U16 ENPL National champions (2019) … Mentioned in DA standouts by TopDrawerSoccer five times … IMG Academy Class of 2021 Top 150 list since 2016.
Personal: Son of Emma Kruidhof and Kris Korzeniowski … Father was on Polish National Rowing team … Will enroll in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Why He Chose Penn: “I chose Penn because I wanted to be a part of a University that provides the best in academics and athletics. Penn fits this picture perfectly. I’m very excited to join a community that will provide me both excellent intellectual experience and athletic opportunities.”
Coach Gill: “We are very excited to have a player of Stas’ caliber joining the program. He has a nice blend of physical attributes to compliment a strong technical skillset and a keen eye for goal. Stas’ hardworking mentality is one of his best attributes as a player and we look forward to him continuing to help us evolve the look of our front running corps.”
High School: Led the Future Business Leaders of America club … Headmaster’s Honor Roll all four years.
Club/Academy: Competes for U19 North Carolina FC Academy since 2020 … U19 team captain … Selected to play with North Carolina FC first team in USL League 1 in spring 2021 … 2019 MIC Cup participant in Barcelona, Spain … Played for U17 North Carolina FC Academy from 2018-20 and U15 from 2017-18.
Personal: Son of Rosa and Terry Messer … Father swam at Franklin and Marshall College … Will enroll in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Why He Chose Penn: “The Penn soccer program has been improving every year and has all the tools to be a great team. After being on campus, I immediately wanted to be a part of the program, and the location only further sealed the deal for me. All of the teammates showed a brotherhood I desire to have in my college experience.”
Coach Gill: “Aaron is a prime example of a player that we recruited as much for his soccer ability as we did for his maturity and perspective as a person. He is someone that has been entrusted with leadership roles on his NCFC teams over the years and will hope to see that continue when he comes to Philadelphia. As a player Aaron embodies a lot of what we look for in a defensive central midfielder, he is competitive, positionally aware, and understands the value of the ball.”
High School: Mu Alpha Theta Math Honors Society … Spanish Honors Society … Principal’s Honor Roll for four years … AP Scholar.
Club/Academy: Plays for Miami Kendall Rush since 2020 … Invited to play with team in MLS Next League inauguration season … Competed for Inter Miami CF from 2019-20 … Played in Developmental Academy Cup (2020) … Played in Generation Adidas Cup in Philadelphia and Salt Lake City, Utah (2020) … Played club’s first-ever game in South Korea’s U19 K-League Youth tournament (2019) … Prior to Inter Miami CF, played for Weston FC from 2014-19 … 2016
ESPN Danone Nations Cup winner … Represented the US in Zinedine Zidane’s World Cup tournament in Morocco … One of just 16 US players chosen for Puma Elite Arsenal tryout in London, England (2016) … Played in Torneo Elio Serilli in Rome, Italy against professional youth teams Roma, Frozinone, and Racing Club Roma … Runner-up MVP of the tournament … Invited to US National Team first International Tournament in Croatia (2017) … U15 US National Team camp … Quarterfinalists of U17 US Developmental Academy playoffs in San Diego, California (2018) … U16 US National Team camp.
Personal: Son of Silvia Veronica Acevedo and Luis Carlos Pereira … Brother, Juan, played for Weston FC before playing for Belen Jesuit and won school’s first soccer state championship in 2016 … Will enroll in Wharton.
Why He Chose Penn: “I chose Penn because I believe that it is the best place in the world to develop both my academic and athletic careers.”
Coach Gill: “Nico has a creative mind for the game that we feel will complement our current players and continue to progress our program. He sees a pass very well and is a terrific ball striker, which has helped him become a highly impactful player through his career. We look forward to having his personality and experiences in our team.”
High School: Lettered at Jesuit College Preparatory School … Principal’s Honor Roll for three years … National Honors Society … Recognition of Excellence in Spanish … Jesuit Ambassador.
Club/Academy: Plays for Dallas Texans since 2009 … Team captain since U13 … Won the Dana Cup in Denmark (2016) … Second place in Spain Iber Cup (2017) … Invited to play for Fortuna Dusseldorf, VFL Osnabruck, and JFS Cologne in Germany.
Personal: Son of Maria and Larry Scott … Father played soccer at DePauw University … Brother, Garrett, currently plays soccer for Dartmouth … Brother, Griffin, played soccer at Washington & Lee University … Will enroll in Wharton.
Why He Chose Penn: “Penn offered me the chance to not only pursue the highest level of collegiate soccer, but also the ability to maximize my academic experience. After visiting the campus, and seeing first hand how driven yet welcoming the students were, I knew I had found the right environment. I’m eagerly looking forward to the opportunity to grow as a student, athlete, and person at Penn.”
Coach Gill: “We’ve learned quite a bit about Cullen over this recruiting cycle through watching him play with his Dallas Texans team as well as working with him at a number of camps. He is a versatile player who combines elements of being honest and hard working with intelligent attacking ideas that can help him provide for others or create his own chances. Cullen is very coachable and we are looking forward to working with him through his career.”