CASTLETON, Vt. – Sixth-year men's soccer head coach John O'Connor is pleased to announce that eight players have committed to continuing their soccer careers at Castleton University beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year, including an NCAA Division II transfer, two who played club soccer locally, and five who played high school soccer together.
"Like last year, this is a class of quality that provides us with more competition at every position on the field", said O'Connor. "With our non-conference schedule and the competitiveness of the Little East Conference, it's important to have players who can push each other to be their best. Our newcomers can and will contribute to our goal of competing with the upper echelon of the LEC on a consistent basis."
DIATOUROU DRAME – Defender – 6'1" – 170 lbs – Burlington, Vt./Burlington HS/Blackwatch-Burlington SC.
Prior to Castleton: Four-year varsity letter winner and starting defender for Coach Fran Demasi at Burlington High School...Earned 2016 Burlington Free Press and VSCA All-State honors along with a first team All-Metro Division selection...Helped lead BHS to the 2016 Division I Vermont State Championship…High chool teammate of current Spartans Joel Atutor, Serpahin Iradukunda, Arun Karki and Abinash Rai…Selected to play in the 2016 Twin State Lions Cup game against New Hampshire…Played club soccer for Blackwatch Burlington…Undecided major.
O'Connor on Diatourou: "Drame has been our radar for several years after seeing him play in both high school and club soccer. He's an excellent athlete, has a great soccer brain and will fit in very well to the system we play. I'm confident that his experience in the game will make an immediate impact now and throughout his career."
RAMZI KORI – Midfield/Defender – 5'9" – 150 lbs – Burlington, Vt./Burlington HS/Synergy Football Club
Prior to Castleton: Varsity letter-winner and starter for Coach Fran Demasi at Burlington High School...Helped lead BHS to the 2016 Division I Vermont State Championship…High school teammate of current Spartans Joel Atutor, Serpahin Iradukunda, Arun Karki and Abinash Rai…Played club soccer for Synergy Futbol Club and coach Hugh Brown…Two-time USYSA Vermont State Champions and Region I Tournament participant…Has a twin brother Rida who is also attending and playing at Castleton…Undecided major
O'Connor on Kori: "Ramzi committed to us late in the process but brings with him a great soccer pedigree which will allow him to compete right away. He's played a bit in the shadows of his higher profile high school and club teammates but is a backbone of teams he has played on. We're excited to see him develop at the college level."
RIDA KORI – Midfield/Forward – 5'9" – 150 lbs – Burlington, Vt./Burlington HS/Synergy Football Club
Prior to Castleton: Four-year varsity letter winner and starter for Coach Fran Demasi at Burlington High School...Earned 2017 VSCA All-State selection along with a first team All-Metro Division honors...Helped lead BHS to the 2016 Division I Vermont State Title…HS teammate of current Spartans Joel Atutor, Serpahin Iradukunda, Arun Karki and Abinash Rai…Played club soccer for Synergy Football Club and coach Hugh Brown…Two-time USYSA Vermont State Champions and Region I USYSA Tournament participants…Played in the prestigious Surf Cup in San Diego, CA with the GPS/FC Bayern National team…has a twin brother Ramzi who will also be a teammate of his at CU…Undecided major.
O'Connor on Kori: "Kori is an exciting and creative attacking player who follows in the footsteps of current Spartans and former high school teammates Seraphin Iradukunda and Joel Atutor. He's a tremendous athlete with speed, agility and the kind of guile that will make him a handful in the Little East."
PETER MAKUNI– Midfielder – 5'8" – 150 lbs – Burlington, Vt./Burlington HS/Synergy Futbol Club/Franklin Pierce University
Prior to Castleton: A transfer from Franklin Pierce University, he was a four-year varsity letter winner and starting midfielder for Coach Fran Demasi at Burlington High School...did not play HS soccer his senior year due to his commitment to his training with Synergy FC and Coach Hugh Brown…High school teammate of current Spartans Joel Atutor, Serpahin Iradukunda, Arun Karki and Abinash Rai…Played club soccer for Blackwatch-Burlington SC and Synergy FC…2015 USYSA Region I Championships participant…Member of the Vermont Olympic Development Program state team who advanced to the 2014 Region I ODP Nationals…Undecided major.
O'Connor on Makuni: "Peter was a late but welcome addition to the team after transferring this summer from Franklin Pierce University. He was a top recruit for us a year ago who decided on FPU initially but found it made much better financial sense to attend CU. He will be a guy who will compete for time right away."
RYAN MCKAY – Goalkeeper – 5'11" – 160 lbs – Mendon, Vt./Rutland HS/Summit Futbol Club
Prior to Castleton: Captain and three-year varsity letter winner for Coach Ron Henderson at Rutland High School...Three-time Marble Valley League Champions…First Team All-Marble Valley League and 2017 Burlington Free Press Honorable Mention All-State, …Played in the 2017 Vermont Senior Classic and selected to represent Vermont in the Annual Lions Cup Twin State game versus New Hampshire along with CU classmates Ben Stewart and Noah Swainbank…Played club soccer Summit FC under Coach O'Connor…Two-time Vermont Olympic Development Program State Team member…Attended the Governors Institute for Engineering and spent his senior year taking classes at Castleton as part of the Early College Program…Double majoring in computer systems and business.
O'Connor on McKay: "Ryan is a guy who committed to us prior to his enrollment at ECP at Castleton. He's athletic and a real student of the game. Playing for our local youth club Summit FC, he's been able to train and develop his game to a level that we think will make him able to compete for time as a first year."
HASHIM MUSE – Midfielder – 5'7" – 145 lbs – Burlington, Vt./Burlington HS/Burlington-Blackwatch SC
Prior to Castleton: Varsity letter-winner and starter for Coach Fran Demasi at Burlington High School...Helped lead BHS to the 2016 Division I Vermont State Championship…High school teammate of current Spartans Joel Atutor, Seraphin Iradukunda, Arun Karki and Abinash Rai…Played club soccer for Blackwatch-Burlington SC and University of Vermont head coach Rob Dow…Originally from Kenya…Undecided major.
O'Connor on Muse: "Hashim decided late to attend Castleton but we are glad he is going to be with us. He's a quiet guy, loves the game and has a great upside. His technical and passing ability will be enhanced by the tactical knowledge he will gain in the college game which bodes well for the future."
BEN STEWART – Midfielder – 5'7" – 140 lbs – Dorset, Vt./Burr & Burton Academy/Summit Futbol Club
Prior to Castleton: Four-year varsity letter winner who played at Burr & Burton Academy (VT) for Coach Peter Mull...Named captain as a junior and senior...Scored 20 goals and added 14 assists during his high school career…2017 VSCA and 2-time Burlington Free Press All-State selection…Three-time Marble Valley League and 2-time winners of the John James Tournament…Was the winner of the 12th man award in the Twin State Lions Cup game where he played against New Hampshire along with Castleton classmates Ryan McKay and Noah Swainbank…Played club soccer for Summit Futbol Club under Coach John O'Connor…Brother Tim attends Castleton and played varsity soccer for two years…Plans to major in pre-law.
O'Connor on Stewart: "Ben is a dynamic and versatile player who has quite a few tricks in his locker. A competitor with a true love of the game, he brings us another creative attacking player who has a huge upside. His training with Summit FC while attending BBBA has made him a perfect fit for Castleton both athletically and academically."
Prior to Castleton: Four-year varsity player at Enosburg Falls High School for his dad Coach Randy Swainbank…Scored 30 goals and tallied 46 assists during his high school career… United Soccer Coaches All-New England and Top Drawer Soccer TeamSnap Fall State All-Star selection as a senior…2017 VSCA All-State and Mountain Division Co-player of the Year…Selected to play in the Vermont versus New Hampshire Twin State Lions Cup game along with Castleton classmates Ryan McKay and Ben Stewart where he scored the tying goal in a 1-1 draw…Was a standout three-sport athlete at EHS adding basketball and baseball to his sports resume…Majoring in kinesiology.
O'Connor on Swainbank: "Noah is a great three sport athlete who will grow and grow as a soccer player at the collegiate level. We first saw him play at our Fall ID camp as a junior and built a relationship which led him to Castleton. He follows fellow Enosburg grads Derek Blouin and Dallas Desrosches into the Spartan soccer family."
CASTLETON UNIVERSITY MEN'S SOCCER CLASS OF 2018
NAME POS. HT. WT. HOMETOWN/HIGH SCHOOL/PREVIOUS SCHOOL
Diatourou Drame CD 6'1" 175 Burlington, VT/Burlington
Ramzi Kori D/M 5'9" 150 Burlington, VT/Burlington
Rida Kori M/F 5'9" 150 Burlington, VT/Burlington
Peter Makuni M 5'8" 155 Burlington, VT/Burlington/Franklin Pierce University
Ryan McKay GK 5'11 155 Mendon, VT/Rutland
Hashim Muse M 5'7" 150 Burlington, VT/Burlington
Ben Stewart M/F 5'7" 140 Dorset, VT/Burr & Burton Academy
Noah Swainbank CD 6'2" 180 Enosburg Falls, VT/Enosburg Falls