| @Towson_MSOC Adds Seven Standouts to Roster
Courtesy: Athletics Media Relations  
Release: 04/26/2012

TOWSON, Md. – A talented class of seven student-athletes has joined the men’s soccer team at Towson University, Coach Frank Olszewski has announced. A group of five freshmen and two transfer students will compete for the Tigers this fall.

“This is a recruiting class that will add versatility to our team. They are all players who epitomize a team first approach,” Olszewski said. “Some of the contributions will be seen sooner and some will be down the road. We feel we have identified a group of student-athletes who know how to win, know how to compete, and understand the hard working mentality that we expect on a daily basis in the classroom, on the field, and in the community.” 

The class is made up of three defenders, a group which includes transfer student Josh Danza and freshmen Pierre Mensah and Josh Toribio.

Danza, a graduate student who comes to the Tigers from Stevenson University, was a three-time Capital Athletic Conference all-academic selection and a 2010 NSCAA All-East region selection for the Mustangs. A Baltimore, Md. native, he played scholastically at Archbishop Spalding High School, where he scored 41 career goals.

Mensah starred for Walter Johnson High School, where he was a Washington Post All-Met honorable mention performer as a senior and earned second team All-State honors. The Kensington, Md. native led the Wildcats to the Maryland Public Schools Athletic Association state finals and a 17-1-1 record as a senior. He also played for the Bethesda Soccer Club.

“Pierre is someone who has a huge upside as a wide defender on the left side,” Olszewski commented. “He is a two way player who can shut down his direct attacking opponent and add to the attack with insightful passing. He is very quick off the mark in those tight areas which make all the difference during one-on-one battles, telling the tale for good defenders."

A native of Somerset, N.J., Toribio was a standout for Rutgers Prep, where he collected five career goals as a defensive midfielder, including two multi-goal efforts during his senior season.  Toribio was in the U.S. National Pool ’94 and is a three-star recruit, according to the website TopDrawerSoccer.com. The website also called Toribio a player to watch in the East region. He is a starter on the NJSA 04 squad, which is a part of the United States Soccer Development Academy.

“Josh is someone who has gained valuable playing experience under former U.S. National Team player and current U.S. U20 national team coach, Tab Ramos,” the longtime Tiger head coach said. “Josh can play on the left side in defense or in midfield. He has the ability to be both aggressive in his defending role while also providing a spark when his team has possession. Most impressive was how hard he works, and his understanding to not let his side down defensively."

Goalkeeper Sammy Bangura, a transfer from Louisburg (N.C.) Community College, will have two years of eligibility remaining with the Tigers after playing in six games with the Hurricanes. The Laurel, Md. native did not allow a goal. Bangura, who played at Laurel High School from 2006-2010, had 41 saves and posted a 1.40 goals against average during his senior season. He started four years in the net for Laurel.

Midfielder Chris White joins the fold after starting for three seasons at Perry Hall High School, where he helped the Gators win the state 4A regional championship. As a captain for the team in his senior season, White was named first team All-State and first team All-Metro by The Baltimore Sun. He played soccer for the prestigious Baltimore Bays club team, leading them to a national championship in 2010. His father is former Towson player Barry White, who competed for the Tigers in the late 1970s.

“Chris is high-energy and high-aggressiveness all the way,” Olszewski said. “He is a player that relishes doing the dirty work to get the ball back for his team and then turning that into a real opportunity in the transition phase. His physical level of conditioning and desire levels allow him to cover every blade of grass on the field. He has the ability to play in the midfield and as a wide defender.”

Nero “Trey” Cooper is a versatile defensive midfielder who played at Blake High School in Silver Spring, Md. During his senior season, Blake had a 10-4-2 record and made the regional semifinals. A first-team All-Gazette selection in 2011 by Gazette.net, Cooper played club ball for the Pachuca Dragons and will add a significant physical presence to the Tigers.

“Trey is a player that the staff feels will be able to bring a physical dimension to our team, which is necessary at this level,” the Tigers' head coach said. ”Along with that aspect of his game, he possesses a wide range of passing skills so that he can make contributions from central positions in the midfield and along the back line."

The recruiting class is rounded out by midfielder Diego Ramos, a teammate of Mensah at Walter Johnson. Ramos is also connected to Cooper, as Ramos also played for Pachuca. The Dragons won the 2011 Maryland State Cup with the help of Ramos, who Olszewski anticipates will bring a high-level work ethic to the team.

"Diego is a player who works his socks off for the team and adds technical ability, along with vision, to allow his team to keep possession of the ball,” Olszewski stated. “Additionally, his simple play also helps his team to get forward in good attacking positions. Diego will fit right in with our style of play."

With Danza and Bangura already enrolled in class at Towson, Olszewski has been able to work with his two transfers and get a feel for their abilities.

“It has been a huge plus to be able to work with Josh and Sammy this spring in preparation for the fall season,” Olszewski said. “They have been wonderful additions to our team chemistry. Josh will add valuable experience and his recent call-up to the Puerto Rican Under-23 National Team will add to his growth in the game. He is a player with a real drive to improve every day. Sammy brings enthusiasm and energy to our goalkeeping corps.”

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