Hagerstown Community College men’s soccer coach Brian Eichelberger has found a common denominator in all 11 Washington-Frederick County recruits who signed letter of commitments with the Hawks.
“Group-wise, this is probably one of the more blue-collar player groups that we’ve had, which is what we want,” Eichelberger said on Monday. “They’ll work. That’s what I’m most excited about.”
Eichelberger is trying to build on the Hawks’ 6-9-2 record of 2011, but only seven players will return from that team. He’s adding players who could contribute immediately.
“Last year we were talented, but we didn’t jell as a team,” Eichelberger said. “We wanted guys that would come in and work hard. If you can work a team, you will have success.”
Of the 11 players, five are county products: Osman Ramizov and Jazier Mauricio of North Hagerstown, Clayton Stottlemyer and Kofi Owusu of Smithsburg, and Aaron Rodgers of South Hagerstown.
All of them seem to have what Eichelberger wants for the HCC program.
“I saw that the coach had a vision and I saw the players he recruited, so I trust him and his vision,” said Mauricio, a midfielder. “They called me and told me about the players they signed, so I said this is the way to go. I’m trying to help the team with skill, morale, everything to go to the national tournament and represent Hagerstown and Washington County.”
“I’m hoping the team will work together so we can go far in the competition,” Rodgers said. “I’m hoping my defending skills can bring a lot to the team.”
“I want to win and fulfill what Eichelberger said. I want to take my soccer career as far as I can, and I think HCC is a good program to continue it,” said Owusu.
Rounding out the 2012 class are Fourkoko Chaw, Daniel Alvarado, Brian Hernandez and Jesus Santiago from Thomas Johnson, Bradley Coblentz from Middletown, and Bobby Matusek from Tuscarora.
The NJCAA playoffs have expanded to include two teams from each region in the national tournament, and Eichelberger has his players focusing on one of those spots.
He believes that his system will only make his already talented team even better.
“Usually players respond well to our system. It’s possession-based,” Eichelberger said. “I think we can make these kids more well-rounded. They have the skill, but we have to get that high school mentality out of them. I think they’ll flourish right away.”