Cal Soccer Adds 8 Newcomers for 2009

Feb. 4, 2009

BERKELEY - The California men's soccer program has signed its 2009 recruits and added two other newcomers, Golden Bears head coach Kevin Grimes announced today. Midfielders Steve Birnbaum, Jeff Cosgriff Riley Kovatch, Anthony Salciccia, Chris Ortega, goalkeeper Nick Shackelford and forwards John Fitzpatrick and Kyle Marsh will make their debut next fall. Birnbaum has already enrolled for this semester at Cal, and Cosgriff is a transfer from Santa Clara. Grimes' signees all hail from the state of California.

Cosgriff will join the Bears as a senior in 2009, after playing in 64 matches through three seasons as a Bronco. He has nine career goals, three of which were game-winning goals, and a total of 20 points overall. He was an All-West Coast Conference honorable-mention selection in 2008 and made the WCC All-Freshman team in 2006. His three goals in 2008 tied for the team best. Cosgriff also finished second on the squad in points with eight.

Birnbaum has competed for the U.S. U-18 and U.S. U-20 National team squads in tournaments in Portugal and Mexico in 2008. He was a finalist in the 2008 Milk Cup last year, facing Manchester United in the final. He was also named to the Southern California Starting XI for the USSF Development Academy. For nine years, he was the captain of the premier team for the Irvine Strikers and Pateadores. Birnbaum was also a member of the Cal South ODP team in 2007.

Currently a member of Marin FC, Kovatch was a member of the champion U-19 club that won the Surf Cup last summer, and was a semifinalist in the fall Surf Cup. He was also a part of the 2007 Las Vegas Coaches Showcase championship team. As a member of Santa Rosa United, Kovatch's team won the California Cup four times (2001, 2002, 2004, 2006).

Salciccia was a member of the U.S. U-18 National team in 2008 and 2009. He was also an NSCCA All-American, and selected to the adidas ESP camp in 2007. He was also named one of Soccer America's Top 100 Players. Currently a member of the Deanza Force Academy, Salciccia played with the Cal North State team from 2004-08, including trips to Costa Rica in 2006, Argentina in 2007 and Italy in 2008. Salciccia is the all-time leading scorer for his Prospect High School club.

Ortega currently plays for Arsenal FC. Like Salciccia and Birnbaum, Ortega was invited into the U.S. U-18 National team in 2008 and 2009. Along with Salciccia, he was part of the adidas ESP camp in 2007. He was also a member of, and was part of the Cal-South ODP team from 2005-07. Ortega played for the 2002 Cal-South state championship squad and was a Far West regional finalist in that same year. Ortega is an Honor Roll student at Eastlake High School in Chula Vista, Calif.

Shackelford was a teammate of Birnbaum on the Irvine Strikers and Pateadores. He started for the U-18 Pateadores club in the inaugural season of the U.S. Soccer Academy League. He previously had been named the Freshman League MVP while playing for his Villa Park High School club. His club team was the U.S. Club regional champions in 2006 and were a national finalist in 2007. Shackelford was a Cal South ODP player for three seasons and a member of the 2007 championship squad.

Marsh, like Kovatch, has been a member of the Marin FC and Santa Rosa United club teams. He was also a member of the Region IV ODP team. He and Kovatch were teammates on the 2007 championship team in the Las Vegas Coaches Showcase, and on the Santa Rosa United team that won the California Cup four times (2001, 2002, 2004, 2006). Marsh was a back-to-back finalist in the CYSA Nor Cal State Cup (2005, 2006). He was also a finalist in the 2006 Las Vegas Premier Cup.

A member of the San Diego Surf Soccer Club for eight years, Fitzpatrick played on the U-18 Surf Academy team the last two years, and was on the 2007 state championship team. He was invited to a U.S. U-18 National team camp in 2008. He played with Birnbaum in the 2008 Milk Cup, reaching the finals against Manchester United. Fitzpatrick also played for the Cal-South and Region IV ODP teams, and won the Golden Boot Award at the 2007 ODP national championships.

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