NEW YORK – Columbia head men’s soccer coach Kevin Anderson has announced that nine student-athletes will join the program beginning in the fall of 2009. Nick Ayers, Julian Bongiorno, Spencer Duhaime, Quentin Grisby, Brendan O’Hearn, Kevin Powers, Benjamin Santos, Nick Scott and Will Stamatis have all made commitments to attend Columbia University.
“With the help of my assistant, Tommy McMenemy, we are delighted to present the incoming class for the 2009 season,” Anderson says. “We have taken into account the attributes and experience of our returning players and complimented our team with a variety of talented, hard working and versatile players. We look forward to bringing this locker room together in August as we begin our preparation for the 2009 season.”
The Gatorade State Player of the Year in Arizona this past year, Ayers was a prolific scorer at Brophy Prep in Phoenix, tallying a school-record 86 goals over his four years. As a senior, Ayers led the Broncos to a No. 4-ranking nationally, was named The Arizona Republic Metro Boys’ Soccer Player of the Year and also earned recognition from ESPN Rise Magazine as an All-Arizona first-teamer. His junior year, Ayers scored 18 goals and registered a team-best 16 assists in helping Brophy to the Arizona 5A-I state championship. Ayers has played club soccer for the national champion Real Salt Lake ‘91 AZ travel squad and Sereno Soccer Club.
Bongiorno was a two-time letterwinner at Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was named the rookie of the year of his conference in 2005 and received honorable mention all-region accolades. As a senior, Bongiorno was named co-captain and led the Huskies to a 13-4 record while being named first-team all region.
Duhaime played midfield all four of his years at Edina High School in Minnesota, leading the Hornets in points as a junior and senior. As a senior captain, Duhaime earned ESPN Rise Magazine All-State and National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-Region recognition. The speedy Duhaime plays his club ball for the Minnesota Thunder U18 Academy. He is also an all-state track athlete and helped his 4x800-meter team set a school record.
Grigsby earned three letters in the midfield for Brophy Prep, helping to setup his teammate and future Columbia classmate Nick Ayers for his school record in goals. Also a teammate of Bongiorno’s and Ayers’ with Sereno Soccer Club, Grigsby helped the Real Salt Lake ’91 AZ Youth team to a U.S. Club National Cup Championship in the summer of 2008.
A fourth member of the Sereno Soccer Club to make his way to Morningside Heights, O’Hearn makes the cross-country trek after playing one varsity season at Cactus Shadows High School in Scottsdale. In that one season, the midfielder was named The Arizona Republic Scottsdale Boys’ Soccer Player of the Year and led the Falcons to the Class 4A Division I state semifinals.
A local product, Powers hails from Rye, N.Y., and played his prep soccer at The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut. A two-year starter at left back, he helped the Bearcats’ defensive unit allow fewer than 10 goals in two straight seasons as the team earned the 2008 New England Prep School Soccer League Championship. Also a standout track athlete, Powers became the first person in school history to captain two New England Prep School Championship teams as his track and field squad won the title in April.
Santos brings a wealth of international experience with him to the City of New York. A native of Bogota, Colombia, Santos is a central midfielder who has been a member of Colombia’s U18 National Team pool.
Scott comes to the Morningside Heights campus by way of Newcastle, England. He plays left wing for his high school team and his dominant left foot will help bring balance to the Lions’ squad.
Stamatis earned four varsity letters at The Pingry School in New Jersey, and comes from great soccer bloodlines. His father, Jim, was a two-time First Team All-American for Penn State in the late 1970’s and was the Hermann Trophy recipient as the top collegiate player in the nation as a senior. The younger Stamatis earned National Athlete of the Week honors from ESPN Rise Magazine after scoring a pair of goals in the Big Blue’s 3-0 win over St. Augustine for the Non-Public A state championship. He played his club soccer for the Player Development Academy in New Jersey, one of the elite youth development programs in the country.