Cal Inks Seven Players for 2002

Feb. 6, 2002

BERKELEY - The University of California men's soccer team signed seven players to national letters of intent Wednesday, head coach Kevin Grimes announced.

Pieter Berger, Justin Delacruz, Andrew Felder, Nick Hatzke, Matt Holtrust, Sam Peters and Tyson Wahl will join the Golden Bears for the 2002 season.

'We are extremely pleased with this year's recruiting class,' said Grimes. 'These players were recruited specifically to fill the roles of the players that graduated last season. I couldn't have asked for a better group of players and individuals. Not only are they outstanding players, but they bring a high degree of integrity and character to the program. Some of them will have an opportunity to contribute immediately this fall.'

A pair of club teammates come to Cal as Berger and Wahl hail from the Irvine Strikers, joining four other current Cal players from the Irvine-based club.

Tyson Wahl, out of Newport Harbor High School, is a classic two-way player with excellent skill and tenacious defending ability. He was selected his team's Most Valuable Player as a freshman and sophomore. With his club side, the Irvine Strikers, he has won several major tournaments, including the prestigious Surf Cup in 2000 and 2001. He missed his junior year to join the U.S. under-17 National Youth Team in residency in Bradenton, Fla. Wahl, a defensive midfielder, competed with the U-17's this past September in the FIFA U-17 Youth World Championship in Trinidad and Tobago.

Wahl's club teammate, Pieter Berger, is the team co-captain for nationally ranked Woodbridge High School in Irvine. The prolific goal scoring forward is currently the league leader with 26 goals. Berger earned All-Sea View League first team honors the last three years and is gunning for his fourth selection this spring. He was also selected All-CIF-SS Division II first team and All-Orange County first team his junior year. In other competition, Berger has been involved with the State Olympic Developmental squad the last two seasons.

Elk Grove native Justin Delacruz is both a decorated athlete and student. On the field, Delacruz is the team captain of the No. 4 high school team in the country at Jesuit. On the club scene, he led the San Juan Force (NorCal) to its third Snickers Regional Cup competition last season and the Cal-North State Cup Championship. Delacruz has been involved with the Olympic Developmental Program since 1997, making the West Regional Team Pool in 2001. In the classroom, Delacruz currently carries a GPA above 4.0 and has been on the Dean's List four semesters.

A four-year letter winner at Harvard-Westlake school, Andrew Felder was the team's leading goal scorer in 2001, earning first team All-Mission League honors. As a central defender, Felder is adept in the air and is a good tackler. With the West Valley Samba, he led his team to the Cal-South State Cup championship and the final in the Snickers Regional Cup championship in 2001. A player with great leadership skills, Felder was team captain for Harvard-Westlake his junior and senior year and was also a five-year captain with the Samba.

Nick Hatzke, a San Jose native, is the captain of Bellarmine Prep, currently ranked No. 1 in the nation. Bellarmine Prep recently won the Puma Invitational in Tampa, Fla., this past December. Hatzke, a creative and skillful midfielder, recently won the U-18 Northern California Premier League with his club team, the DeAnza Triumph. Previously, Hatske has been to the Snickers Regional Cup competition in 2000 and 2001 with the Almaden Clash soccer club, which made the semifinals in 2001. He will be competing in the prestigious Dallas Cup this April with the Palo Alto Pumas.

Matt Holtrust hails from Santa Margarita High School, where he helped lead the team to a CIF championship in 1999. He has a goal scorer's touch and mentality, leading both his high school team and club, the San Juan Mustangs (SoCal), in scoring the past two years. Holtrust, a forward, propelled his San Juan Mustangs team to a first-place tie in the under-19 CSL Premier Division and a first place finish in the prestigious Nomads Tournament.

Sam Peters, out of Davis, was a member of the River City Rush club team this season, helping the squad to a runner-up finish in the Under-19 McGuire Cup National Championships. At Davis High School, Peters and the Blue Devils garnered a Top five national ranking all through his career at the school and helped Davis to a 65-1 record CIF-CCS championships in 1998, '99 and '00. Peters, a creative and quick forward, was active in the ODP program in the under-14, under-15 and under-16 levels.

The seven signees join a resurgent Golden Bears soccer program that went from a 6-13-1 squad in 2001, to a 10-9-1 NCAA-qualifying team in 2001 under the guidance of second-year coach Grimes.

'Our coaching staff and returning players are looking forward to having this outstanding recruiting class join the Cal soccer program this fall,' said Grimes. 'With the success that the team had last season, we're looking forward to another great year in 2002.'

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