Men's Soccer Adds Three For 2009
Feb. 11, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State men's soccer coach Damon Rensing has inked three student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. Kevin Cope (Plymouth, Mich./Salem), Ryan Thelen (Mason, Mich./Mason) and Nick Wilson (Fort Wayne, Ind./Canterbury) will all join the Spartans in the fall of 2009.
"We are really excited about the 2009 class here at Michigan State," said Rensing. "Kevin, Ryan, and Nick are not only good soccer players, but good students and quality individuals as well. This has been the foundation that has helped us win Big Ten Championships and these three guys fit that mold. All three will help the program in different roles and will each challenge for playing time right away."
Here is a look at all three signees in alphabetical order:
Cope became just the third defender to win the state's Mr. Soccer award when he took home the honor this fall. He helped anchor a defense that allowed just 12 goals in 27 games for coach Ed McCarthy at Salem. Cope is a 2008 NSCAA All-America selection and a three-time all-state honoree. He captained his club team, the Michigan Wolves, to a national championship in 2007. Cope is currently a member of the U-18 Derby County Wolves USSF Academy team and played with the Michigan ODP team for three years.
"Kevin is a proven winner and leader," said Rensing. "I think he is one of the top center backs in the Midwest - if not the country. The combination of his size, strength, skill, and leadership makes him an ideal center back."
Thelen is a two-time all-state selection and earned second-team honors this past season. The 2008 Lansing Player of the Year was also named regional MVP as a senior while playing for MSU soccer alum Nick Binder at Mason. Thelen is a member of the 1991 ODP regional pool and U-18 Vardar USSF Academy team.
"Ryan is a left back who can get forward well," said Rensing. "He has a great left foot. He has good pace and is a good 1v1 defender. We want to be able to get forward out of the back and having a left footed player like Ryan will help us do that. We have had a great tradition of Mason High players who have played here and we are excited to have Ryan continue that tradition."
Wilson is a four-year letterwinner for coach Greg Mauch at Canterbury where he led the team in scoring in 2007 and 2008. He earned all-district honors in 2008 and was named team MVP as a junior. Wilson has been a member of the Fort Wayne Fever PDL team since 2008.
"Nick has the ability to be an exciting offensive player here at MSU," Rensing said. "He has exceptional pace and a nose for the goal. He also has a very high work rate, which really appealed to us. I think the fact that playing in the PDL with college-age kids over the last two years will really help Nick with the transition from high school to college."
The Spartans won the 2008 Big Ten regular season and tournament titles.
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