University of New Mexico men’s soccer announced Wednesday that 12 players had signed national letters of intent.
The signing class includes a trio of US youth national team representatives and five star local players. The class welcomes two accomplished goalkeepers, three combative defenders, four influential midfielders and three tenacious strikers.
“I want to thank (assistants Mike Graczyk and Kelly Altman) for their tireless efforts in bringing in an incredible class,” head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. “These players share the values of our program and are all great students from wonderful families. They will mature into impactful leaders in their communities.
“In sharing the values of our program: academic, community and athletic excellence, these players represent what our state, university and athletic department stand for.”
Peter Chang – 5-10 – Forward – Parker, Colo.
Chang comes to UNM from Parker, Colo., where he competed at Legend High School and for Real Colorado USSDA. While playing for Real Colorado, Chang helped lead his squad to several state championships, a pair of regional championships as well as a national runner-up honor.
Chang on why he chose UNM: “I chose this school because I believe UNM will give me many opportunities to help me succeed in life and become a man.”
Fishbein on Chang: “Peter is a dynamic and athletic attacking player that currently plays for former Lobo Danny Bills at Real Colorado on their developmental academy team. Once I spent time on campus with Peter and his family, I knew this was a kid I wanted to coach. His family values will pave the way for great success. I think his potential is untapped and our environment is going to bring out the best of him.”
Alex Fetterly – 6-4 – Goalkeeper – The Woodlands, Texas
Fetterly joins the Lobos from The Woodlands, Texas where he graduated from The Woodlands College Park High School in 2017. Fetterly also competed for the Houston Dynamo USSDA at the club level, as well as Texas Rush USSDA. In addition, Fetterly was called into camp with the U18 US national team in Bradenton, Fla. in 2017.
Fetterly on why he chose UNM: “UNM is a great place for me to grow as a player and as a person, and to compete every year for a national championship.”
Fishbein on Fetterly: “Alex is one of the most talented goalkeepers in the country. He has been involved in the US national team youth program and took a gap year this year to refine his skills. He is an excellent student, a leader and a hard worker. Alex comes across as a quiet kid, but once you get to know him, you quickly get a feel for his wit and intelligence.”
Julian Garcia – 5-11 – Forward – Albuquerque
Garcia, a local from Albuquerque, comes to the Lobos as an extremely decorated New Mexico player. Garcia competed for St. Pius X High School under head coach A.J. Herrera where he was a Gatorade Player of the Year finalist and was named 5A First Team All-State and District 5A Player of the Year as a senior. He also earned Albuquerque All-Metro First Team honors in 2017 helping lead his squad to a pair of district championships (2016, 2017), four state tournament appearances and one state runner-up honor (2016).
A three-time District 5A First Team honoree and two-time 5A All-State Honorable Mention, Garcia amassed 120 career points, including 51 in 2017 alone, on 50 goals and 20 assists in his high school career. The two year captain collected 22 goals and seven assists in his senior season alone. Garcia also competed for AUFC 99 and Rush 00, helping the team to 2017 New Mexico State Cup Finalist status.
Garcia on why he chose New Mexico: “I grew up a Lobo and wanting to represent Albuquerque and New Mexico. The UNM soccer program has great coaches, a winning history and a drive for excellence.”
Fishbein on Garcia: “Julian is one of the most prolific scorers in recent New Mexico history. He is tenacious in the box and has a knack for scoring goals. Julian is a Lobo through and through and he is going to bring pride and passion to our program.”
Carlos Gutierrez – 5-8 – Forward/Midfielder – Albuquerque
Gutierrez is a 2017 New Mexico Gatorade Player of the Year finalist who will remain in his hometown in joining the Lobos. The Albuquerque native will graduate from Albuquerque High School in 2018 and finished his senior season the District 6A Top Goal Scorer with 26 goals under head coach Lucien Starzynski. While at Albuquerque High, Gutierrez was named Soccer Player of the Year in 2017 and helped lead his team to state championships in 2015 and 2017.
At the club level, Gutierrez also played for Elite FC 99s and Rio 00s, helping lead his teams to a pair of state championships in 2013 and 2016.
Gutierrez on why he chose UNM: “UNM has a really good academic program, it’s (Division I), and it’s a really good soccer program as well. It’s very exciting. I grew up watching college soccer here; being able to play here is a dream come true.”
Fishbein on Gutierrez: “Carlos is a proven game winner who led his team to the 2015 and 2017 New Mexico 6A title. He is a proven goal-scorer, dynamic on the ball, a leader and a winner. Carlos is a quiet warrior and I’m really excited to see him compete against players from around the country and the world.”
Miquel Maynez Jr. – 5-11 – Forward/Midfielder – El Paso
Maynez joins the Lobos from El Paso, Texas where he was a three-time Academic Excellence Award winner in high school. Maynez competed for Lone Star High School and Eldorado High School in Texas, as well as FC Dallas under head coach Scott Dymond. Maynez joins former club teammate Nick Barreiro on the Lobo squad, who he competed with at the youth level in El Paso.
While at Lone Star High, Maynez helped lead his squad to the round of 16 in the 2016 season.
Maynez on why he chose UNM: “I wanted to be surrounded by an atmosphere of people that will help me improve my soccer abilities, but also enhance my life in every possible aspect.”
Coach Fishbein on Maynez: “It’s great to have another player from our region join our program. Miguel is a smooth, crafty attacking player with a great feel for the game and is capable of scoring from range. He comes with an excellent soccer background with FC Dallas and is an outstanding student. Miguel is going to bring skill and flair to our program.”
Glademir “Pichu” Mendoza – 5-11 – Defender – Phoenix
Mendoza comes to UNM from Phoenix, Ariz. where he was a standout for Real Salt Lake Academy. While with the academy, he was a two-time U16 Best Starting XI honoree for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. In 2017, Mendoza was called into the U18 US national team camp in Argentina and has represented the US youth national teams both at the U18 and U20 levels.
Additionally, Mendoza recently went to preseason training camp with the MLS Real Salt Lake first team, which former Lobo Aaron Herrera currently plays for.
Mendoza on why he chose UNM: “It’s an amazing school with a great atmosphere. The soccer quality is good and it develops players for a successful career on and off the field.”
Fishbein on Mendoza: “Gotta love a player named Pichu! Pichu is one of the top players in the country having recently been at camp with the U20 US national team. He will be a joy to coach and a pleasure to watch as he joins a long list of Real Salt Lake Academy alumni to represent the Lobos.”
Anthony Muñoz – 6-0 – Goalkeeper – Albuquerque
Another decorated Albuquerque native, Muñoz comes to UNM after playing four seasons at La Cueva High School. Muñoz completes his career as the all-time leader in career minutes (4,805), single-season shutouts (13) and career shutouts (26) at La Cueva. He is a two-time All-State honoree, District Player of the Year in 2017, two-time First Team All-Metro and 2017 All-District. He was also named a 2017 Pre-Season All-American.
He helped lead his La Cueva squad to a state championship in 2016, four straight district championships and two metro championships. Team captain in 2016 and 2017, Muñoz also earned a pair of academic letters. He competed for Rio Rapids SC 99s, helping his squad to state championships from 2015-2017.
Munoz on why he chose UNM: “The reason I chose UNM is because I’m a very close-to-home person and I’ve been following the Lobos since I was really young. I always imagined being a part of the soccer program there – I’m excited to be a Lobo.”
Fishbein on Munoz: “Anthony is a local goalkeeper that we’ve had the pleasure to watch for several years. If you had to describe him in three words they would be: leader, intense, demanding. We are excited for him to join our program, he will make our team better every day we step on the field.”
Larsen Rogers – 5-7 – Defender/Midfielder – Albuquerque
Rogers, an Albuquerque native, comes to UNM after playing for Volcano Vista High School, earning 2016 First Team All-State and 2017 Second Team All-State honors. The team captain was also a state semi-finalist, 2016 District Player of the Year, First-Team All-District and earned back-to-back VVHS MVP honors. He was also named VVHS 2017-18 Male Athlete of the Year for the fall sport season. Rogers will join the Lobos following a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The four-time Academic All-District honoree also played for Rio Rapids SC 99s where he helped his team to the New Mexico State Cup Championship three years in a row. In 2016, Rodgers also helped lead his team to the Far West Regional Quarterfinals and the Dallas Cup Quarterfinals. In 2015 his squad was a Mayor’s Cup Finalist and a Far West Regional Semi-Finalist.
Rogers on why he chose UNM: “UNM has a great business program and an excellent soccer program. I feel that I will be able to excel in both academics and athletics here at UNM.”
Fishbein on Rogers: “Larsen is a driven, enthusiastic player with an outstanding work rate who loves to compete. We’ve watched Larsen for several years and we feel that he is going to be an impactful player for our program in the future. His leadership and competitive nature makes everyone around him better. He won’t be joining our team until Spring 2020, but we’re really excited for him that he is able to fulfill his mission over the next two years.”
Ben Shepherd – 5-9 – Midfielder – Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Shepherd, born in Chertsey, United Kingdom, comes to the Lobos by way of Highlands Ranch, Colo. where he competed for Mountain Vista High School. In his freshman season, Shepherd played for Houston High School in Germantown, Tenn. where he helped his squad to the 2015 State Championship. Shepherd is a member of the National Honor Society and has garnered all-state accolades twice.
At the club level, Shepherd has played for Real Colorado USSDA (Colo.) under former Lobo Danny Bills, Solar SC USSDA (Texas) and Lobos Rush (Tenn.). He helped his teams to three-time club state championships and was ranked in the Top 25 players in the class of the 2018 Southwest Region. In 2014, Shepherd also led his teams to USYS National Runner-Up and Far West Regional Champion status.
Shepherd on why he chose UNM: “I felt welcomed at UNM and loved the culture both on and off the field. The facilities are great and the people are all motivated.”
Fishbein on Shepherd: “Ben will be joining his Real Colorado teammate Peter Chang as a Lobo. Ben’s desire, work-ethic and leadership qualities are going to make us a much better program. He is as driven as any player we’ve brought into this program, isn’t afraid of hard work and he is going to prove to be a leader down the road for UNM.”
Erik “Gallo” Virgen – 5-9 – Midfielder – Sandy, Utah
Virgen comes to the Lobos from Tucson, Ariz. and competes for Real Salt Lake Academy. The experienced midfielder has competed with the US U15 and U18 national teams. The three-time RSL USSDA captain was named Generation Adidas MVP in 2014.
Virgen recently went to preseason training camp with the MLS Real Salt Lake first team, which former Lobo Aaron Herrera currently plays for. He also competed for Fort Lowell Gunners.
Virgen on why he chose UNM: “The coaches at UNM have always been good to me and it has always been a dream of mine to go to college. That has been the dream for my family as well and I really felt like UNM was the right place for me.”
Coach Fishbein on Virgen: “Gallo is joining his club teammate Pichu as a Lobo and is another RSL Academy alum. A true leader and relentless midfielder, he’s got an engine, knows how to find the ball and is an incredible two-way player with the heart of a lion. This is a wonderful kid who oozes passion and I can’t wait to see Gallo in a Lobo uniform.”
Elijah White – 5-10 – Midfielder – Portland, Ore.
White comes to the Lobos after competing at Sunset High School in Portland, Ore. He also competed for Westside Timbers, Metros and FC Portland. White comes to UNM with championship experience, having helped lead his teams to a pair of Oregon State Championships in 2015 and 2017.
White also competed for Portland Timbers USSDA in 2015-16.
White on why he chose UNM: “I think UNM will help me become a better soccer player, a better student and a great individual.”
Fishbein on White: “Elijah has been coming to our camp for several years as his mother is a native of Silver City, New Mexico. We’ve seen him grow over the last few years and his game has really exploded. Off the field, Elijah is kind and caring but once he crosses the lines, he is a tenacious, dynamic, attacking threat. He is explosive, knows how to score goals, can play any attacking position and is a player to watch.”
Nick Williams – 5-11 – Defender/Midfielder – Albuquerque
Williams comes to UNM from Albuquerque Academy where he was a standout, all-around performer. He was a 2015 All-State Defender, 2016 All-State Midfielder and 2017 All-State Forward. He helped lead his team to a pair of New Mexico 5A State Championships (2015, 2016) and a pair of New Mexico 5A Runner-Up finishes (2014, 2017). In 2015 he also helped his team to a 12th-place spot in the nation in the USA Today/NSCAA rankings.
Williams also competed for Rio Rapids SC 00s and was a four-year letterman in both soccer and baseball. He helped his Albuquerque Academy baseball team to the 2014 5A State Championship, a 2017 5A State Runner-Up finish and was also named an All-State Outfielder in 2017.
Williams on why he chose UNM: “I grew up watching Lobo soccer, football, basketball and baseball and always dreamed of representing the cherry and silver on the men’s soccer team.”
Fishbein on Williams: “We’re excited to have another great local player added to our roster. Nick is a natural leader, competitor and athlete that we have coached at numerous camps. Nick is a versatile player who can play across the back and midfield. He is going to rise to the level of competition and will bring leadership and toughness to our team.”
Other newcomers to UNM men’s soccer include transfers Colin Brezniak (Pitt) and Matthew Puig (Tulsa), who have already arrived at UNM. For full release on Brezniak and Puig, click here.