Jay Vidovich has steered the Pitt men’s soccer program in the right direction in his three years at the helm culminating last Fall, when the Panthers earned their first ever ACC playoff win.
This week, Vidovich announced this fourth recruiting class, a class that he hopes will help keep moving his program forward.
It’s not a large group, with five student-athletes joining the Pitt men’s soccer program for the 2019 season. With three transfers that have played nearly a hundred college matches, plus two talented, play making freshman, Vidovich is banking on quality and experience in adding these pieces to a roster that will be returning a bulk of starters.
The Panthers will welcome transfers Arie Ammann, Matt Bailey and Braden Kline along with freshmen Luke Mort and Veljko Petković.
Ammann, Bailey, Kline and Mort will all be competing for Pitt in its upcoming spring season.
“It’s great because we’ve been able to have most of them come in early and we’ve had the opportunity to work with them all spring,” Vidovich said. “We’ve had time to fit them into what we are trying to do here. We’re very excited to be working with them and they look promising and seem like they know how we want to play.”
Mort, who excelled with Greensburg Central Catholic and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Developmental Academy, is the lone local player among this group of new additions.
As he began his high school playoff run last October, Mort announced his commitment to Pitt.
“It just felt right,” Mort said at the time. “I believe I’ll grow as a player and person, all while receiving a great education.
Mort is looking forward to playing under a coach that has won a National Championship at Wake Forest, and has been slowly building Pitt’s program as a contender in the toughest college soccer conference in the country.
“I chose Pitt because of the competition the ACC entails along with the privilege of playing under coach Vidovich and the rest of the staff all while receiving a great education at a university with diverse academic programs.”
Mort also had scholarship offers from Holy Cross, Robert Morris and Dartmouth. At GCC he scored more than 130 goals in four seasons, but it was his play making abilities as a midfielder that Vidovich covets.
“He has tremendous pace, ability to shoot from the corner, and I think he has a tremendous upside that we are looking forward to working with,” Vidovich said.
We will get a chance to see Pitt in action during the spring season — which begins when they host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on Friday night at Ambrose Urbanic Field (7 p.m. kickoff – free to public).
In addition to Mort, here’s more on Pitt’s other new recruits.
Arie Ammann / Goalkeeper / Round Hill, Va. / Penn State / Woodgrove High School
In three years at Penn State, Ammann played ten matches in his three years, including three shutouts. He did miss the 2017 season due to injury, and will have two years of eligibility remaining at Pitt. In 2016, Ammann was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after earning wins against James Madison and Oakland. Attended Woodgrove High School. Played for DC United 16U in sophomore year …Team ranked first in the country … Last two years of high school played club soccer for Watford DC for U18s and U21s.
VIDOVICH ON AMMANN
“He’s a transfer from Penn State who also has experience playing with a great DC United program. He’s also the son of Mike Ammann, who was a longtime goalkeeper in the MLS, so that background should be great for us.”
AMMANN ON PITT
“I chose Pitt because I saw an opportunity to work under a great coaching staff who will make me a better a player and will put me back on track to my goal of playing at the next level.”
Matt Bailey / Midfield / Kent Island, Md. / UMBC / Saints Peters & Paul High School
In two years at UMBC, Bailey played in 34 matches with 19 starts … Recorded 11 points on the season with five goals and three assists. His five goals were tied for first on the team, including three game-winners. In his freshman year, he was named to the America East Conference (AEC) All-Rookie Team. Attended Saint Peters & Paul High School and competed in the MIAA “B” Conference. Led team in goals and assists in both seasons … Helped team reach the MIAA “B” Conference Finals his senior season … Two-time First Team All MIAA “B” Conference selection. MIAA League MVP in his senior year.
Played for Baltimore Bays U-14 Academy in 2013-2014 … Competed Baltimore Armour U-16 Academy 2014-2016 … Played for Pipeline Soccer Club 2016-2017 … Joined Baltimore Celtics in summer of 2018 … Team won the US Youth Soccer U-19 National Championship … Scored the game-winning goal in the match.
VIDOVICH ON BAILEY
“We love his personality. He is a competitive player who will bring that edge to the team. We will see how he adapts to us and see what he brings to the program moving forward. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to the speed of the ACC.”
BAILEY ON PITT
“I chose Pitt because I feel that this is a program in which I can grow and get better every day. It is filled with players and coaches who have a similar goal as me: winning a national championship and playing professional soccer. I also chose Pitt due to the high standard of academics, especially regarding the business program.”
Braden Kline / Midfield / Lancaster, Pa. / Providence / Manheim Township High School
Like the other transfers, Kine also brings a wealth of collegiate experience, having played 54 matches while starting 43 of those. Among his accomplishments, Kline was part of Providence’s Big East Regular Season Championship squad in 2016, helping them advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Kline attended Manheim Township High School where he was a team captain for a program that had three PIAA Runner Up finishes. Kline played for PA Classics Academy and FC Delco and has been a seven-time national training center invitee.
VIDOVICH ON KLINE
“This is a player who brings the history of local ties. He played on the same club as (former Pitt defender) Bryce [Cregan]. He’s an attacking piece who has a great feel for the game. We will see how he adjusts to the ACC and what he will bring to the game.”
KLINE ON PITT
“I chose Pitt for the competition in the ACC along with the great coaching staff. After coming from a winning program at Providence, I feel I can bring a winning mindset to the Pitt program.”
Luke Mort / Forward / Greensburg, PA. / Greensburg Central Catholic High School
Attended Greensburg Central Catholic … Team went 64-13-1 over four years … Team was the WPIAL Runner-Up and PIAA State Semifinalist in senior season … Three-time All-Section and All-WPIAL selection … Was nominated for National Gatorade Player of The Year in senior season … Finished his high school career with 133 goals and 61 assists … Was also a member of the track team, where he holds the school record for the 100 meter … National Honor Society member and high honors all four years.
Played for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds’ academy team and trained with the first team.
Veljko Petković / Midfield / Hiš, Serbia / Maspeth High School
Attended Maspeth High School and played for the New York City FC youth team. His brother, Bratislav, plays soccer at Lehigh.
VIDOVICH ON PETKOVIĆ
“He has the potential to be one of those special players. He has a great feel for the game. He brings such a competitive edge to the team. I think he is one of those guys that can make an immediate impact coming in.”