FORT MYERS, Fla. - The 2010 Atlantic Sun Conference champion FGCU men’s soccer team and head coach Bob Butehorn have announced the signing of four NLI’s for the fall of 2011. Representing the incoming recruiting class, the newest additions to the Eagles include midfielders Tomas Granitto (Weston, Fla./Cypress Bay HS) and Yianni Sarris (Mentor, Ohio/St. Ignatius HS), goalkeeper Nathan Ingham (Ontario, Canada/Keswick HS), and forward Xavier Silva (Boca Raton, Fla./North Broward Prep).
“Our staff is extremely pleased to announce the signings of these exceptional student-athletes,” said Butehorn, who will be entering his fifth season next fall. “Each player has the ability and potential to make immediate contributions to our program.”
Granitto will join the Eagles following a successful high school career. Granitto was invited to the U.S. U-18 Men’s National Team (MNT) training camp in Phoenix, Ariz. in February 2011, participated in friendly fixtures with U.S. U-20 MNT, and was invited to training camps in 2010 with Estudiantes de La Plata (ARG) and Club Pachuca (MEX). Additionally, the newcomer competed at the 2010 Disney Showcase Academy where he was crowned U-18 champion and was also a U-16 champion at the 2008 Disney Showcase Premier, both with Weston FC Academy. A captain at Cypress Bay High School, Granitto's teams made FHSAA Final Four appearances in his sophomore and senior campaigns.
“I think Tomas is an excellent box-to-box midfielder,” commented Butehorn. “He has great passing range and reads the game extremely well both offensively and defensively. The expectations are high for Tomas in our midfield.”
Ingham was selected as his high school captain and team MVP during his sophomore campaign, adding to the Eagles’ net-minder depth for the 2011 season. Ingham’s team claimed the 2009 Provincial Championship thanks in large part to his efforts in net. A 2009 National Bronze Medalist, the incoming freshman was also selected as Keswick High School’s Athlete of the Year.
“Nathan has all the qualities to become an outstanding keeper in our league” said Butehorn. “He will also benefit from having a fantastic mentor in Adam Glick this season. We expect Nathan to continue the tradition of exceptional keepers here at FGCU.”
A 2010 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Boys High School All-America Team selection, Sarris helped the St. Ignatius Wildcats win the 2010 Division I title, which gave him his second championship in three seasons. Netting 18 goals and adding seven assists this season, the midfielder was a key factor in the Wildcats’ perfect 23-0 record, en route to their fourth state title and second national championship. His stellar play earned him The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Boys Soccer Player of the Year award. Additionally, Sarris helped his team to the 2008 State Championship and a 2009 state runner-up finish, while earning an All-Greater Cleveland (GCSSCA) honorable mention in 2009.
“Yianni’s game is a great fit to our program,” added Butehorn. “He has a great presence on the field and proven leadership qualities. He’s competitive, technical, and extremely cerebral – all qualities that match up with our future needs in the midfield.”
A highly decorated addition, Silva was invited to the U.S. U-18 Men’s National Team training camp in Carson, Calif. in November 2010. Silva is listed nationally as the No. 36 recruit in College Soccer News’ Top 150 Recruits-Class of 2011. Silva played four seasons with the North Broward varsity squad and finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in goals (77) and assists (45). Ranked No. 8 in the 2011 regional top 20, Silva has helped his team to four District 14-3A Championships, as well as, a state runner-up finish. Additionally, the 2011 signee has been selected to the Broward County All-Star first team by both the Miami Herald and Sun Sentinel.
“Xavier is promising young attacking talent,” Butehorn noted. “He’s a proven goal scorer with an uncanny ability to bring the team forward in attack. We think he’s a great a compliment to our program.”
The promising four-member class joins an FGCU team that finished the year ranked No. 20 according to Soccer America. The Eagles wrapped up the 2010 season with a perfect 9-0 record in league play, outscoring their opposition 26-2 and bringing home their first Atlantic Sun Conference regular season championship. FGCU is set to return 24 players from last season’s championship team.