Four of the newcomers are from Major League Soccer academies, three from Albuquerque, and one is a tall midfielder from California who the Lobos jumped on early.
Three of the players are ranked in the top 75 by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
But rankings don’t mean a whole lot to Lobos assistant Paul Souders.
“What means something to me is the background of the player, the motivation of the player,” Souders said. “And that takes time.”
The key is the on-campus visit, he said.
“We don’t view the visit as an opportunity to just wow them,” Souders said. “It’s an opportunity to learn about that player, their background and their history.”
Souders said UNM has always had talent in the six seasons he has worked here. But he believes it’s the character of the team the last three or four years that has taken the program to another level.
“All these guys fit us on that end,” Souders said.
GABRIEL CAMERA (midfielder, Houston Dynamo Academy): He’s a smart, quick, third-generation soccer player, originally from Venezuela.
MATHEW DORSEY (defender, Houston Dynamo): A top-50 national recruit, the 6-foot-3 Dorsey was a captain for his academy team.
SAM GLEADLE (Midfielder, Real Salt Lake Academy): Gleadle, ranked in the top 70, has a lot of personality with a knack for scoring, UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein says.
DAVID GROS (midfielder, St. Pius): The Lobos have been following the academic honor roll student for years. He’s tough and creative, Fishbein says.
JUSTIN HIX (midfielder, Eldorado): Hix is the first second-generation member of the UNM program. His father Jason played for the Lobos from 1992-94 and was an academic All-American. Fishbein likes his tenacity.
PATRICK KHOURI (midfielder, FC Dallas Academy): Khouri, a top 50 player, has experience with the U.S. under-15 national team and has trained and played at the highest youth levels in England and Spain.
WAYDE SCIBILIA (midfielder, Escondido, Calif.): The 6-foot-4 Scibilia became a top prospect in the San Diego area playing on championship teams, but stuck with his early commitment to UNM.
CJ SLOUGH (defender, Volcano Vista): Fishbein expects the natural lefty to fit in quickly because of his mix of athletic and technical ability.
“All of our recruits come from different walks of life, and that’s what’s unique,” Souders says. “But they all have the same motivational level.”
MLS academies are relatively new to college recruiting.
“They’re essentially training and being coached by professionals on a par with what’s going on around the world,” Fishbein said. “They’re in an environment where only the strong survive. It’s a challenge for them, but that’s what these kids want.”
Meanwhile, UNM had a meeting Wednesday morning about the 2015 recruiting class.
Coach Freddy Delgado’s first New Mexico State recruiting class of five features Volcano Vista’s Shelby Thomas, one of the state’s top defenders, and Las Cruces’ Micaela Milavec, a midfielder who was one of New Mexico’s leading scorers last season.
“Micaela is a calm, stabilizing force in the midfield,” said Delgado, who added that Thomas is “a sure footed tackler and will consistently win air balls.”