NEW YORK - Columbia University head men's soccer coach Kevin Anderson has announced that six student-athletes have made commitments to join the Lions in 2010.
Michael Attal, Steven Daws, Dan Maldonado, David Najem, Henning Sauerbier and David Westlake will begin their Columbia careers this fall.
"We are extremely pleased with the incoming group of student-athletes for the 2010 season, as we strive to reach new heights in Columbia Men's Soccer," Anderson says. "My top assistant, Tommy McMenemy, and I have put together a young group that complements our returning players and strengthens our team physically, technically and tactically."
"We have added some keys ingredients in 2010 and six players who all are currently serving as captains of their respective teams," Anderson continues. "We have strengthened the depth of our roster and look forward to working with the entire group. Our locker room chemistry is at the core of our group. It will be the responsibility of the staff as well as our senior players to ensure that the class transitions and integrates with our returning players successfully and prosperously."
Rated as the No. 7 goalkeeper in the nation by TopDrawerSoccer.com, Attal was a four-year varsity starter at Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa, Fla. Also rated as the No. 75 prospect in the country regardless of position by TopDrawerSoccer.com, Attal was an Olympic Development Program Region III team member for three seasons and was selected to participate in ODP National Camp in Concord, Mass. in 2005. He has played for the Clearwater Chargers SC and USSF Development Academy club teams throughout his career.
Anderson on Attal: "We are very excited for Michael to arrive on campus for the 2010 season. Being rated as one of the top goalkeepers in the nation has been accomplished by his attitude and insatiable work ethic. A young man who is not afraid of challenges, Michael will certainly be pushed by his goalkeeping peers Alex Aurrichio and Zach Glubiak. The keepers will need to remain sharp and it will be fun to watch them battle it out in training each day."
A central midfielder from Troy High School in Michigan, Daws tallied 33 assists in his four-year career for the Colts and led them to an undefeated season and an Oakland Activities Association Division I championship as a senior. Daws was the only player from the state of Michigan named to the Region II ODP team in 2009 and was named to the Michigan ODP team in back-to-back years.
Anderson on Daws: "Steven is a hard-working central player who has gained invaluable experience with the Olympic Development Program. His work rate and unselfish approach to the game has gained him accolades and praise from his teammates year in and year out. We look forward to his arrival and watching him compete for his place within the team."
Maldonado was an All-Northern Hills Conference defender as a junior at The Delbarton School in New Jersey and helped the Green Wave to a Morris County Championship in 2009. He was a member of the New York Red Bulls U-15 club and more recently played his club soccer for Parsippany SC.
Anderson on Maldonado: "Danny is a very smart, technical central defender who organizes and reads the game extremely well. Danny's soccer brain is very well-versed and we look forward to him sharing that with our group. As his team heads off to the regional championships after claiming another New Jersey State title, Danny's leadership will be put the test as they look to their captain for reassurance and confidence."
Najem comes to Columbia following a decorated prep career that saw him earn National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) adidas High School All-America honors as a senior at Paramus Catholic in New Jersey. Also a Newark Star Ledger First Team All-State selection, Najem finished his standout career with school-records in goals (54) and points (146) while also contributing 38 assists. Najem plays his club soccer for prestigious New York Red Bulls Academy.
Anderson on Najem: "Everyone we have ever spoken to about David has nothing but great things to say about him as a human being. Accompany that with his abilities on the field and we have a very attractive young player. He makes everyone around him better with his simple approach and ability to play the game a step ahead of most. We are looking forward to working with David and are even more excited to watch him play in 2010."
Sauerbier makes his way to Morningside Heights with a wealth of international experience from his native Germany. A right wing player, Sauerbier was a member of the German U-17 National Team that took part in the 2007 World Cup in South Korea. The Dueren, Germany native recorded an assist off a corner kick in Germany's 5-0 victory over Trindad & Tobago. He has also served as the Vice Captain of the German Youth National Team.
Anderson on Sauerbier: "Henning's playing background and experience are very attractive but is shadowed by the integrity and core values that he possesses. As we continue to balance the diversity of our locker room and mirror the population of the student body and faculty at Columbia, there will most definitely be more international player additions in future years."
Westlake joins the Lions after earning three varsity letters at Millburn High School in New Jersey. The 6-0 holding midfielder helped the Millers to a state championship in 2008 and a runner-up finish in 2009. Westlake earned All-Super Essex County First Team and All-New Jersey State honors as a senior, and has played for PDA Academy club team for the last four years.
Anderson on Westlake: "David is a very talented, smart left-footed defender with the ability to play both centrally and on the left. We are looking forward to his arrival and working with him as he has the potential and mindset that is required for success. David is a player who is well aware of his strengths and organizes those around him to accent those qualities. We are very excited to have David and look forward to his career at Columbia."