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FGCU Men's Soccer Announces Class of 2012
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Florida Gulf Coast University men’s soccer program has announced the signing of seven National Letters of Intent for the FGCU class of 2012, joining one student-athlete who enrolled at FGCU this spring. Josey Portillo (Metairie, La./Grace King HS), Manuel Gonzalez (Pompano Beach, Fla./Northeast HS), Francesco DiStefano (Kissimmee, FL/Osceola HS), Nigel Blair (Lauderhill, Fla./American Heritage), Kevin Ante (Miami, FL/Varela HS), Brady Ondra (Cordova, Tenn./Houston HS) and Brandon Price (Melbourne Beach, FL/Melbourne Central Catholic) will begin their FGCU careers this fall, and Cristian Raudales (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee HS), who was NSCAA Florida High School Player of the Year, joined the team in January.
Portillo, Gonzalez and DiStefano who have played together with the Region III Olympic Development Program team – most recently in a March 2008 trip to Brazil – are creative, technical players. All three will complement Raudales’ athleticism and soccer savvy in the Eagle midfield. Blair is an athletic central defender/midfielder who brings presence and poise to the central part of the defensive unit, and Ante, a 2007 NSCAA Youth All-American, is a center back who organizes well, is a force in the air and sprays balls that will spring the attack. Ondra is a steady, left-sided player, who will battle up and down the flank while putting in precise services in the Eagle attack, and Price, also a lefty, provides pure speed and athleticism that will help him be successful in the college game.
“We are very excited about this class and the big step they will help us take as we build this program here at FGCU,” said head coach Bob Butehorn. “Increasing the talent level is an important part of what we are doing here, and this group of young men certainly does that. But more importantly they have the character to help us build FGCU men’s soccer the right way. They will be active members of the community and strong students in the classroom in addition to contributing on the field.”
Meet the Class of 2012
Josey Portillo (Metairie, LA/Grace King HS)
Portillo currently plays for the New Orleans Soccer Academy, but has also played for the New Orleans Shell Shockers of the United Soccer Leagues - Premier Development League for the past two years. Portillo has competed for the Region III and Louisiana state ODP teams for the past three years. In that time he has been the only player from Louisiana selected for the Region III team. He has also been to Holland on two occasions to train with the Excelsior youth team, and he has competed in Belgium. Portillo has been a four-year starter for Grace King High School in New Orleans.
Manuel Gonzalez (Pompano Beach, FL/Northeast HS)
Gonzalez was a member of the Region III and Florida state ODP team in both 2006 and 2007. He was also invited to the prestigious Adidas ESP camp in 2007, which selects the nation’s top high school players for a week of training and competition. He was named to the Adidas ESP All-Star team, and was a starter in the ESP All-Star game. Gonzalez is a member of the Weston Fury Soccer Club that won the Super Y League National Championship and finished second in the Dallas Cup in 2004. He also plays for Northeast High School in Oakland Park, FL, where was appointed first-team All-Broward County, and he competed in the Broward County Senior All-Star Game.
Francesco DiStefano (Kissimmee, FL/Osceola HS)
DiStefano was a member of the Florida State ODP team and the Region III Pool. He plays his club ball for Central Florida United, one of the top teams in Florida, based out of Orlando. DiStefano was a four-year varsity player for Osceola High School and was named First-Team All-Conference three times, in addition to being named the Osceola County Player of the Year as a senior with 30 goals and 25 assists. He was team MVP as a junior and a senior, and he represented Osceola in the FHSAA State All-Star Game.
Nigel Blair (Lauderhill, FL/American Heritage)
Blair captained his American Heritage team to its fourth overall and second consecutive Florida High School Athletic Association, Class 3A Championship this February. During his tenure, Blair won three state titles. He was named All-Broward County Defensive Player of the Year in 2006 and All-Broward County Midfielder of the Year in 2007 and team MVP in 2006 and 2007. His club soccer team, West Pines United, won the 2007 USYSA Florida State Championship, and competed in USYSA Southern Regionals. While competing for West Pines United, Blair was named to the Super Y League ODP National Pool.
Kevin Ante (Miami, FL/Varela HS)
Ante was named to the 2007 NSCAA Youth All-America Team and attended the Adidas ESP camp in 2005, 2006 and 2007. In 2007, he was named to the Adidas ESP All-Star team, and was a starter in the ESP All-Star game. He currently plays with Kendall Soccer Coalition, one of the top clubs in the country and a member of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. He has been selected to the Florida State ODP team and the ODP Super Y League National Team. Ante led Varela High School to back-to-back FHSAA Class 6A championships in his junior and senior seasons. Ante has also traveled to Italy to train with Serie A’s Cagliari.
Brady Ondra (Cordova, TN/Houston HS)
Ondra has competed for the Memphis Futbol Club for the past 11 years, captaining them to the state finals in 2005 and 2007. He traveled with MFC to Poland and Sweden in the summer of 2007, helping his team to a second place finish in the Gothia Cup, held in Gothenburg, Sweden. Ondra was invited to the Adidas ESP camp in 2006 and 2007. Ondra also earned four varsity letters while competing for the Houston High School soccer team in Germantown, TN.
Brandon Price (Melbourne Beach, FL/Melbourne Central Catholic)
Price has been a member of the Florida State ODP team since 2003, and was selected for the Region III Pool in 2007. He has twice helped his club team to the Final Four of the USYSA Florida State Championships, and has been a starter for his high school varsity teams for five years (three years with Westshore Junior/Senior High, and two years with Melbourne Central Catholic). As the captain of the Melbourne team, Price led the squad in goals as a senior and took his team to the FHSAA Class 3A championship game. For his efforts as a senior, Price was also selected to participate in the Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Classic and was selected to the All-Space Coast first team.
Cristian Raudales (Bradenton, FL/Manatee HS)
Raudales was a 2007 NSCAA High School All-American and was named NSCAA Florida Player of the Year. Only 80 high school players from around the country were selected to the 2007 NSCAA All-America Team and Cristian is one of only two from Florida. In addition to being named Player of the Year in Florida, Raudales has been an NSCAA Regional All-South First Team member three times, the Bradenton Herald Player of the Year twice, and an All-County selection twice. Raudales competed for Strictly Soccer on the club level, leading them to three consecutive trips to the Final Four of the USYSA Florida State Championships (2004-06). He played his high school soccer at Manatee HS in Bradenton, FL, finishing with 88 career goals, which placed him third all-time in Manatee High School history.