UCLA Signs Six Standouts In Men's Soccer

Feb. 14, 2005

UCLA men's soccer head coach Jorge Salcedo has signed six standout athletes to national letters of intent. The six players will join the Bruin squad for the 2005 season. Headlining the class are NSCAA/adidas High School Scholar-Athlete of the Year Jason Leopoldo and U.S. U-18 National Team member Sal Zizzo.

Leopoldo, a forward from Thousand Oaks, CA (Thousand Oaks HS) is not only the NSCAA/adidas High School Scholar-All-American but also a dual NSCAA/adidas All-American for high school and youth play. He has led his Thousand Oaks team to two Marmonte League titles and the 2004 CIF Southern Section Div. I title while earning first-team all-league honors. Leopoldo is a member of the U.S. Under-18 National Team pool and has been on the California ODP team since 1999 and the Region IV team since 2001. He played club soccer for SoCal United, which won the 2002 youth national championship.

Zizzo, an adidas All-American midfielder/forward from San Diego, CA (Patrick Henry HS) is a member of the U.S. U-18 National Team. Playing for the CalSouth State team, he won the Golden Boot Award at the 2003 ODP National Championships. He has also played on the ODP Region IV Team since 2001. Zizzo, who is also an All-CIF baseball player, is a former club teammate of Bruin freshman Marvell Wynne at Hotspurs USA.

For the first time since 2000, there are two out-of-state players in the recruiting class - 6-2 midfielder/defender Sean Alvarado of Newark, NJ (St. Benedict's Prep) and 6-4 defender Brad Rusin of Bradenton, FL (St. Stephen's HS). Alvarado comes from the prestigious soccer program at St. Benedict's Prep, which has produced some big-name soccer players such as national team members Tab Ramos and Claudio Reyna. Alvarado is a Student Sports High School Soccer first-team All-American and played on Casa Mia Bays' 2003 and 2004 U-16 National Championship club teams. Rusin is a State ODP team member.

Rounding out the group are two familiar names in Maxwell Griffin and Michael Meschures, who will be following family tradition in playing for the Bruins. The sleeper of the class is Griffin, a 6-1 forward from Palmdale, CA (Littlerock HS) and the younger brother of former UCLA first-team All-American defender and current Chicago Fire member Leonard Griffin (2000-03). Griffin is one of the top scorers of FC Arsenal, which won the 2004 U.S. club soccer national championship. Meschures, a defender from Beverly Hills, CA (Beverly Hills HS) is the younger brother of sophomore midfielder Eli Meschures and team manager Harry Meschures. The youngest Meschures has won regional and national championships while playing with the ODP CalSouth State team.

'This year's recruiting class is a very well-rounded class. With their speed and skill, power and strength and the technical ability that the group brings, they will be a great addition to our returning team,' said Salcedo.

'Jason Leopoldo and Sal Zizzo, with their national team experience, and with their great quickness and speed will help our depth in the attack,' Salcedo continued. 'Sean Alvarado and Brad Rusin bring a different player than we've seen here at UCLA. Both Sean and Brad possess a physical presence that will help us in our defense. Brad could become one of the most dominant players in the air that we've seen at UCLA in a long time. Maxwell Griffin and Michael Meschures come from two families that are familiar to the UCLA soccer program. It may be hard to believe, but Maxwell is more technically sound than his brother Leonard was. Michael Meschures, like his brother Eli, is a fierce competitor and is a feisty defender.

'Our spring season thus far has given us a great base for next season, and we look forward to incorporating these six players and hope to improve on the season we recently completed. All six are highly motivated and quality individuals and will be a welcome addition to our team.'

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