Prior to start of the Fall 2016 season, Pitt’s new men’s soccer head coach Jay Vidovich talked about how he wished he had more time to build his roster — and help resurrect the Panthers program.
After a tough first season at the helm, which Pitt finished 2-13-3 overall, Vidovich has already begun to turn the page, and start putting his print on the program by bringing in a number of recruits.
On Friday, the University announced the addition of six mid-year student-athletes to the 2017 roster, all of which will be eligible immediately for spring competition.
Joining the Panthers are international players Joshua Gaspari, Javi Perez and Marcony Pimentel, while Robby Dambrot comes to Pitt from Akron and Pennsylvania natives Colin Brezniak and Chad Stout round out the incoming group.
“I’m excited to welcome these six young men to the Pitt soccer program,” Vidovich said.
“I believe it’s a group of players that will leave their mark on our program, the University of Pittsburgh and soccer in western Pennsylvania. I think it’s a group that we believe will advance the program.
“We have some young men with international flavor and experiences, as well as some local Pennsylvania men who have some great qualities that we think will develop over time. I want to thank my assistant Michael Behonick and the rest of our staff for identifying and committing ACC level players who are willing to accept both the opportunities and responsibilities of building the Pitt soccer program.”
Colin Brezniak / F / Hanover, Pa. / D.C. United Academy
Spent two seasons playing for MLS D.C. United Academy U18 squad … Netted a team-best 21 goals during his junior season while playing for the U16’s … Prior to joining D.C. United, Brezniak played for the MLS Philadelphia Union U16 and U14 team’s, while pacing the team in goals while playing with the U14’s.
Brezniak on why he chose Pitt:
“I’m trying to better the player I am on the field and the person I am off the field. With the coaching staff that Pitt has, I will do so and learn a lot about the game by taking my skills to the next level and ultimately breaking into the Major League Soccer.”
Vidovich on Brezniak:
“Colin brings a much needed talent to our team. He has a knock for scoring goals and brings a personality of grit, fight and winning mentality. He’s someone that we feel can grow tremendously in his tactics. For us as a coaching staff, to see a young man with his personality and desire to score goals, will be a big part of our future.”
Robby Dambrot / D / Akron, Ohio / The University of Akron
Had a standout junior campaign, appearing in 21 games including eight starts … Played a major role in the Zips’ 2015 run in the NCAA Tournament, as Akron fell in the College Cup to eventual champion, Stanford … Made NCAA Tournament appearance all three years at Akron.
Dambrot is the second Pitt recruit that Vidovich has brought in from Akron. Bryce Cregan transferred from Akron, and provided a stable presence on the Pitt back line in 2016. Now he’ll be accompanied by his former teammate, Dambrot at Pitt as both will be seniors in 2017.
Dambrot on why he chose Pitt:
“I chose Pitt because of the great coaching staff and the competition in the ACC. I think I bring a lot of experience after being at a very competitive program at Akron, so I know what it takes to build a competitive culture. I hope my experiences can help get things going here at Pitt and we can start something special.”
Vidovich on Dambrot:
“Robby is another player that brings experience after spending time at Akron, a highly respected program. He can get up and down the line, has a tremendous work rate and left foot. I think he will be a great help for us with the foreign players since he knows what college soccer is all about. He knows what it’s like trying to compete for the top trophy, what it’s like to train everyday with top players and play against the best teams in the country. He will be a big part of our future.”
Joshua Gaspari / M / Canberra, ACT, Australia / Daramalan College
Member of the A-League side Western Sydney Wanderers FC, as well as A-League side Sydney Olympic FC … As a youth soccer player, Gaspari was selected as a member of the Australian Capital Territory Academy of Sport.
Gaspari on why he chose Pitt:
“I came to Pitt to learn from the best coaches in the country. I aspire to be a professional footballer and couldn’t think of a better staff, university and conference to make that happen.”
Vidovich on Gaspari:
“Josh has ambitions of playing at the next level and that is why he came to America. He’s a midfielder with a lot of versatility. He’s quick, looks to combine with players, but yet has the ability to win his one-on-one battles and create and score goals. There’s a lot of different spots for him on the field and he brings a lot of qualities in terms of how I envision the game in being able to play with teams to get in behind and stretch defenders. He also has individual cleverness and improvisation to score goals.”
Javi Perez / M / Valencia, Spain / Cambridge House Community College
Grew up playing for Valencia CF, one of the top youth academies in Spain’s La Liga … Perez was a member of the team for 15 years while serving as a team captain for 12 of those seasons … MVP of one of the top youth competitions in the world in the Historics Tournament.
Perez on why he chose Pitt:
“I decided to come to Pitt because it is a great football opportunity for me and is also a great opportunity to continue my studies here. We talked about goals with coach Vidovich and the main goal is to build a great program, be hard to defend and play good soccer.”
Vidovich on Perez:
“Javi is a footballer through and through. He has a great vision for the game. His passing is very good and he brings other players into the game. He has a tremendous pedigree in terms of staying with one of the top clubs in Europe and training with Valencia during his time. He brings a type of play that I really enjoy and want to put into our game here at Pitt. His experiences and leadership will serve us tremendously.”
Marcony Pimentel / M / Juiz de Fora, Brazil / SC Freiburg
Spent six years playing for Bundesliga side SC Freiburg’s U23, U19, U17 and U16 teams … Was a member of the U16-U17 German national squad … U19 German Cup champion … Was a member of the U19-U16 all-state team … Six time all-state champion … Five time state champion.
Pimentel on why he chose Pitt:
“I chose Pitt because of the challenge of playing in the ACC. Coach Vidovich spoke to me about the program he is building here at Pitt and I couldn’t wait to get started. I’m really excited to be here and help build Pitt into a championship program. I’m also looking forward to the great studies here.”
Vidovich on Pimentel:
“Marcony has a tremendous story. He started as a Brazilian street player and ended up in Germany for the past five years gaining tactical knowledge of the German game. He is very excited to be here. He’s an attacking player and is going to be a threat that can play on either flank. I see him as being a great addition to our program and producing more goals for us.”
Chad Stout / M / Lewisberry, Pa. / Fusion FC
Played for Fusion FC Fire all four years of high school … EDP Summer and PA Classic Winter Showcase champion … Played at Red Land High School where he was a four-time all-conference team selection … Named to PA Coaches All-State team as a sophomore and senior … First team all-conference as a freshman … Was a four-year starter tallying 50 goals and 25 assists … Led the Patriots to their first playoff appearance as a senior.
Stout on why he chose Pitt:
“I’ve always wanted to play at the best possible place. The facilities at Pitt, the opportunity to play in the ACC and especially having one of the best coaches at the collegiate level made me feel like it was the perfect fit to continue my soccer career.”
Vidovich on Stout:
“Chad is another local guy that we’re excited about joining us. He just wants to be a Pitt Panther and I think that’s a tremendous quality. He’s another one that has a little something special about him and is coming in very raw and naïve to the college game. He has a tremendous upside that I’m really looking forward to working with and has a great personality.”