NEW YORK - After closing out the 2010 season on an impressive four-match Ivy League unbeaten streak, the Columbia men's soccer team will look to build on that momentum heading into the 2011 campaign.
Head coach Kevin Anderson has announced that four student-athletes - Michael Abraham, Andrew Celsus, Jack Gagne and Greg Gudis -- have committed to join the Lions in the fall.
"Tommy McMenemy and our staff has worked tirelessly to construct a recruiting class that will complement our returning group, and also has the individual and collective quality to continue the team's climb to the top of the Ivy League and to obtain national recognition," Anderson says.
"Each individual possesses the integrity and quality to be great at Columbia and it is their responsibility, along with that of our senior leaders, to integrate successfully to the program this fall."
Abraham was a team captain at Scarsdale High School as a senior, helping the Raiders to sectional and regional championships in 2010 and a berth into the Class AA State Semifinals. A member of the FC Westchester club team, Abraham was named All-Section I as both a junior and senior, and earned ESPN Rise New York All-Star Team honors as a senior. The midfielder was also a member of the gold-medal-winning team at the 2009 JCC Maccabi Games.
Anderson on Abraham: "Michael is a very technical player that will increase our overall soccer I.Q. upon his arrival. I'm very excited to see him combine his talents with those around him, as we look to elevate our ability as a team on the ball."
A four-year letterwinner at Plano West High in Texas, Celsus was also named team captain as a senior and was named to the Dallas Morning News Top Ten Players to Watch in 2011. Celsus, a member of the Andromeda Club team, was named to the Region III Olympic Developmental Program for two seasons and the North Texas ODP team for four years (2006-09). Also a standout student, Celsus was named a finalist for the Davey O'Brien High School Scholar Athlete Award and will enroll in the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science in the fall.
Anderson on Celsus: "Andrew comes to us with a solid playing background and the experience of being with one of the best youth organizations in the country. I'm eager to see him translate that onto the playing field."
Rated as the No. 10 recruit in New York State by TopDrawerSoccer.com, Gagne comes to Columbia after four seasons at UN International School in Manhattan. A Brooklyn native, Gagne has served as a co-captain for his Cosmos Academy East club team and has also been a part of the Red Bull New York squad. As a senior at UN International, Gagne scored 17 goals and helped the team to an ACIS league championship.
Anderson on Gagne: "Jack's focus, determination and quest to succeed are only complemented by his ability to read the game and his distribution. He is a very talented defender who embraces his strengths and makes those around him better. I'm very excited for him to join our team in the fall."
A three-year starter and four-year varsity letterwinner at Staples High School in Connecticut, Gudis scored 49 goals and registered 41 assists and earned first team All-Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference honors as a senior. In 2009, Gudis helped the Wreckers to a Connecticut State Championship. Named one of the Top 30 Players to Watch by ESPN Rise Magazine, Gudis led Staples in scoring in each of his final three seasons on the varsity team.
Anderson on Gudis: "Greg's athletic ability, work rate and focus are all outstanding, and he has the ability to score goals! I look forward to seeing him embrace these qualities upon his arrival."