Three Local High School Standouts Join Women’s Squad
They’re coming from near and far, with varying degrees of soccer experience, to blend into what arguably has become the University of New Mexico’s most successful athletic program.
Eight players (seven freshmen) – two from Albuquerque, two from New Zealand, two from California, one from Utah and one a transfer from Wake Forest – have signed letters of intent to play Lobo men’s soccer.
“We lost some great players,” said UNM coach Jeremy Fishbein, who had three Lobos taken in the recent MLS draft. “We wanted a real balanced class. We had to fill some holes. (This class) leans more to the attacking side.”
One of the more intriguing signees is goalkeeper Michael Lisch, who will be a senior for the Lobos. He graduated from Wake Forest and will work on his master’s at UNM. He started two years for the Demon Deacons, and had a 0.68 goals against average last season in 16 games.
“Michael did very well in the ACC,” Fishbein said. “I think what attracted him here was the competitiveness of the team. We have a tremendous goalkeeping coach in Savva Biller. He wanted to be part of something.”
The Lobos, who have made two back-to-back Sweet Sixteen appearances, graduated goalkeeper Victor Rodriguez, but return ‘keeper Patrick Poblete, who will be a junior.
“I think it’s going to be quite a dogfight,” Fishbein says of Lisch vs. Poblete. “It’s great to have another veteran guy in the net.”
The Albuquerque products are Josh Goss, who played a season at La Cueva, and Lucas Seligman, who played a couple of years at Rio Rancho High. Both are midfielders and come from MLS team Real Salt Lake’s academy in Casa Grande, Ariz.
Goss started classes at UNM in January and has spent the past 2 1/2 years in Arizona, “basically playing in a professional setting,” Fishbein said. “He’s left-footed, a really intelligent player, just passionate about the game.”
Seligman, Fishbein said, “followed Josh to Arizona to be in a little bit different environment. He’s a real ambitious player, full of energy, a tremendous player, tremendous attitude.”
The New Zealanders, forward Caleb Hilbron and forward/midfielder James Wypych, follow in the footsteps of former Lobo All-American Andrew Boyens. The New Zealander, who was a Lobo from 2004-06, was on the roster of the MLS champion Los Angeles Galaxy last season.
Both Nick Thiros of Layton, Utah, and Steve Manios of Woodland Hills, Calif., are among the nation’s top 150 prospects according to College Soccer News and TopDrawerSoccer.com. Thiros also started classes at UNM in January.
Fishbein credits assistants Paul Souders and Brandon Moss who “put in a lot of time and scoured the country and the globe a little bit for these guys.”
UNM WOMEN: La Cueva’s Emily Chavez and Shayla Malecki and Volcano Vista’s Ruth Bruciaga signed with the Lobos. Chavez scored the game-winner in the 5A title game in 2011, while Malecki and Bruciaga both contributed critical playoff goals last season.
— This article appeared on page D5 of the Albuquerque Journal