PEORIA, Ill. - With back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2010 and 2011 in the rearview mirror, the Bradley Soccer program turned its attention to the future with the announcement of its 9-man recruiting class, which will join the Braves for the 2012 season.
As head coach Jim DeRose prepares for his 17th year at the helm of the Bradley program, he brings in a recruiting class that includes seven players with United States Soccer Development Academy experience and fills holes in all areas of the field. Bradley joins Wake Forest, SMU, North Carolina State, George Mason and High Point as programs that signed seven USSDA players. In addition to three players from the Chicagoland area, the class includes players from Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Texas and Wisconsin.
"We are very excited with the depth, quality and long-term potential of this class from top to bottom," said DeRose. "Coach (Devin) O'Neill and coach (Brian) Barnett have done a phenomenal job in the identification and recruitment of this class and we feel that they will be highly successful student-athletes for us.
"Losing such a strong 9-player senior class that led us to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, there are no doubt big shoes to fill, but we believe this group, coupled with our returning team, will achieve great things as well," DeRose added. "Many of these players have been in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy program and have played for great coaches who are among the best in the country, and they have displayed a level of commitment to the sport that is unparalleled. The personal sacrifices made by these young men to put themselves in position to attend Bradley University shows an academic and athletic commitment that hopefully will lead to cumulative success at the collegiate level."
Though the Braves lost 11 lettermen from their 2011 squad that finished 15-6-2 overall and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Bradley returns 15 lettermen, as well as a pair of players that redshirted last season.
For the complete biographical profile of each of the nine Bradley recruits, including player-specific quotes from DeRose, click their respective names below:
Grant Bell | D | 6'0" | 165 | Little Falls, Minn. | Little Falls Community H.S.
A two-time all-state pick, Bell set the Minnesota high school records for career goals (112) and single-season goals (33). Twice named the St. Cloud Times Player of the Year (2010 and 2011), he was a five-time letterman for the Flyers and a three-time team MVP (2009-10-11) and helped his team to the 2011 Granite Ridge Conference title.
In addition to his high school accomplishments, Bell plays club soccer for the Minnesota Thunder Academy and was a four-year participant in the Olympic Development Program, earning a spot in the regional pool in 2010. He helped the Minnesota ODP team to the 2009 regional title and a spot in the national tournament.
Andrew Brown | MF | 5'8" | 152 | Overland Park, Kan. | Saint Thomas Aquinas H.S.
Brown was a 2011 preseason All-American who helped Saint Thomas Aquinas to a 69-13-1 record in four seasons, highlighted by Kansas 5A state titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010, as well as the ESPN RISE/NSCAA/adidas high school national championship in 2009. A two-time all-state honoree and a member of the 2011 All-Midwest Region squad, Brown was the 2011 Eastern Kansas League Midfielder of the Year and the 2010 EKL Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
Brown also plays club soccer for Sporting KC in the United States Soccer Development Academy program. He was selected to play for the KCW Jrs. SUM Cup Team in 2009 and 2010 and helped his team to the USSDA Playoffs in 2010.
Jake Dudley | MF/F | 5'9" | 150 | Denver, Colo. | Cherry Creek H.S.
Dudley is a two-time all-state selection and helped Cherry Creek High School to the 2010 Colorado 5A state championship. Named the state tournament MVP in 2010, he was named his team's MVP in 2011. The four-year varsity letterman also helped Cherry Creek to three straight Centennial League titles from 2009-11.
Dudley plays club soccer for the Real Colorado Academy and has been a member of the Colorado delegation for Maccabi Soccer from 2009-11. He also earned a spot on the Colorado Olympic Development Program state team from 2006-08.
Logan Ketterer | GK | 6'2" | 165 | Racine, Wis. | The Prairie School
A four-year varsity starter and senior team captain, Ketterer ended his prep career as one of the most-decorated keepers in Wisconsin high school boys soccer history. Starting every game between the pipes the last two seasons, Ketterer led The Prairie School to consecutive Wisconsin D3 state championships in 2010 and 2011. During the 2010 title run, Ketterer became the only keeper in Wisconsin history to post shutouts throughout the entire playoffs and state tournament, finishing his junior season with an unofficial state record 19 shutouts, which also ranked third nationally according to ESPN RISE. In addition to his soccer achievements, Ketterer played up two grade levels on AAU basketball teams and went to the state tournament in tennis as a sophomore.
Ketterer has played club soccer for the FC Milwaukee Nationals United State Soccer Development Academy U18 squad the last two years. He was a three-year starter for the Wisconsin Olympic Development Program team and played in the 3v3 Nationals four times, finishing third in 2011 and earning the No. 1 ranking in 2012.
J.T. Kotowski | D | 5'11" | 160 | Keller, Texas | Keller H.S.
Kotowski is not playing soccer during his senior season at Keller High School so that he can focus his play with the Dallas Texans United States Soccer Federation Academy U18 squad. As a junior during the 2010-11 season, however, Kotowski led the Indians in assists while earning second-team all-region honors in the UIL Division 5A Region I. He helped KHS to the 2009-10 District 5-FA championship and the 2010-11 Bi-District title, as well as the 2011 area championship and a regional quarterfinal appearance.
With the Texans, Kotowski was named to the Manchester United Nike Cup team in 2009 and his 2010 squad was a USSF U16 national qualifier and Blue Division champion at the Disney U17 Academy Showcase. He also helped the Dallas Texans 95B Red team to five straight North Texas state championships from 2006-10.
Andrew Kovacevic | D/MF | 6'1" | 150 | Naperville, Ill. | Neuqua Valley H.S.
The younger brother of Braves sophomore defender Zach Kovacevi, Andrew earned honorable mention all-conference honors as a senior in 2011 after starting all 18 games as a team captain at Neuqua Valley High School.
At the club level, Kovacevic plays for the Ajax FC Chicago program and helped his team to a state championship and national runner-up finish, as well as a Disney championship. He contributed eight goals and 10 assists during the 2011 club season.
Jason Lesch | MF/F | 6'0" | 165 | Vernon Hills, Ill. | Vernon Hills H.S.
A four-star recruit according to TopDrawerSoccer.com, Lesch earned all-conference honors as a freshman at Vernon Hills High School before turning his attention to club soccer for his final three prep years. Playing for the Sockers FC Chicago program, he helped his team to the finals of the 2010 U.S. Soccer Academy U16 Nationals and a runner-up finish at the 2010 Disney Soccer Showcase.
Jerrin Moore | D | 5'9" | 150 | Country Club Hills, Ill. | Bishop Noll Institute (Ind.)
Moore is unable to play during his senior season at Bishop Noll Institute due to a knee injury, but was an all-conference performer as a junior in 2011. Named to the ESPN RISE Indiana Class of 2012 Top 8 list, Moore helped BNI to sectional championships in 2010 and 2011.
He currently plays club soccer for the Chicago Fire Academy and previously played for the Chicago Magic, helping his team to a U14 state championship.
Joe Morales | MF | 5'11" | 175 | Colorado Springs, Colo. | St. Mary's H.S.
A four-year varsity starter and four-time, first-team all-league selection, Morales was a first-team all-state pick in 2011 after earning honorable mention all-state honors in 2009 and 2010. He led St. Mary's High School to a progression of state tournament runs that began with a "Sweet 16" appearance in 2008, continued with a semifinal appearance in 2009 and culminated with a state championship in 2010.
At the club level, Morales plays for the Colorado Rush and has served as his team's captain since 2010. Morales was a member of the Colorado ODP state team from 2008-10 and was selected for the ODP regional team in 2010.
In addition to the nine players who signed with the Braves this winter, Bradley welcomed a 10th newcomer during the semester break: Johnny Contreras (Des Plaines, Ill./Maine West H.S.), who played in 15 games as a freshman at Duquesne in 2011. A 6-foot defender, Contreras recorded one assist during the season and earned his first career start Oct. 30 against St. Joseph's. He was a two-year varsity letterman at Maine West High School, earning all-conference honors as a junior in 2009, and he played club soccer for Sockers FC Chicago.
Contreras has been working out with the Braves during the 2012 offseason and will suit up for the team's spring schedule.