FORT MYERS, Fla. – With just two days remaining before their first official practice as members of the FGCU men’s soccer program, a trio of incoming freshmen saw their club teams finish in Top Drawer Soccer’s final top 50 boys ranking for the 2011-12 season.
FC Dallas, the 2012 U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy (USSDA) U-17/18 National Champions, topped the poll at No. 1 as defender Aaron Guillen (El Paso, Texas/Coronado HS) made a team-high 33 starts for the club in 2012. Fellow incoming defender Daniel Stanese (Pitt Meadows, British Columbia/Pitt Meadows Secondary) was part of the Vancouver Whitecaps club, who ranked No. 2 in the poll. Vancouver fell to FC Dallas in the USSDA title game. Defender Jourdan Gooden (Fort Myers, Fla./Lake Forest Academy (Ill.)) played eight games with the Chicago Fire Academy team, helping the squad finish No. 9 on the list.
The trio is part of a talented 12-member freshmen class that FGCU will usher in to combine with 15 returners, including six starters, which helped the Eagles win the A-Sun regular season championship for the second year and earn the league’s automatic NCAA Tournament bid by winning the conference tournament.
Guillen helped anchor a deep FC Dallas defensive unit that gave up just 0.61 goals per game – the lowest total among all U-17/18 teams. FC Dallas won the Texas Division with a 20-3-1 record and posted an overall regular season mark of 24-4-3 before advancing through group play and winning the USSDA U-17/18 national title. Guillen joined FC Dallas from his affiliate club FC Dallas El Paso. He earned Defensive MVP honors from the El Paso Times following his senior season at Coronado HS.
Stanese was a mainstay in the starting lineup in his second season with the Whitecaps FC Residency program, helping it advance to the USSDA final in its first season as a member of the Development Academy. Born in Queens, N.Y., Stanese also brings international experience to FGCU, as he helped Canada’s U-17 national team to a runner-up finish at the 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship and Canada’s first U-17 World Cup appearance in Mexico since 1995. Last winter, Stanese joined current FGCU goal keeper Nathan Ingham (Ontario, Canada/Keswick HS) in a 10-day training camp with Canada’s U-20 national team in Sunrise, Fla.
Originally from Fort Myers, Gooden joined the Chicago Fire Academy team after playing his senior season at Lake Forest Academy in Chicago, Ill. The Fire won the Great Lakes Division in 2011-12 with a 13-0-3 mark, but was knocked out in the USSDA Academy Playoffs. Gooden earned All-State second team honors from the Chicago Tribune in 2011 and was previous selected to the U.S. U-15 National team.
FGCU officially opens its 2012 campaign on Thursday with a 7:30 a.m. training session.