PASADENA (June 15, 2017) – Caltech men's soccer head coach Phil Murray has revealed the incoming Class of 2021 recruits, which include three defenders, three midfielders, two forwards and a goalkeeper.
Pavan Chitta (Bangalore, India / Greenwood)
Joe Como (Glen Cove, N.Y. / Friends Acad.)
Gianfranco DeCastro (Weston, Fla. / Cypress Bay)
Alfred Joseph (Lexington, Mass. / Lexington)
Andrew Larson (Portland, Ore. / Jesuit)
Rohan Mirchandani (Pleasanton, Calif. / Foothill)
Jacob Snyder (Edina, Minn. / Edina)
Chad Thut (South Berwick, Maine / Berwick Acad.)
JD Walker (Grand Blanc, Mich. / Grand Blanc)
Bangalore, India / Greenwood
Glen Cove, N.Y. / Friends Acad.
A member of the Albertson 98 Academy and Oceanside Fusion, Como also starred for his high school, Friends Academy, as an All-County honoree and All-State nominee. Also a Scholar-Athlete, he was named the Conference Defensive Player of the Year after leading all of Long Island with 119 saves and represented Nassau County in the Long Island All-Star Game.
"Joe is another product of the US Soccer Development Academy and will be a great addition to our goalkeeping group," Murray said. "He has good physical tools, sound shot-stopping ability and great match experience. He will be in a position to compete with the returning guys for the vacant #1 spot."
Weston, Fla. / Cypress Bay
A two-year captain of Weston FC, DeCastro also participated in the US Soccer Development Academy and Nike Premier programs.
"Gianfranco is a hugely experienced player, having captained Weston in a number of high-profile tournaments during the last three seasons," Murray said. "He has good physical tools, speed and stamina, and has played in a number of positions on the defensive side of the team."
Lexington, Mass. / Lexington
Joseph captained 2016 Division I state champion Lexington High School in his third year as a varsity starter, two of which saw him earn Middlesex League All-Star recognition. He also captained his club team – the top-ranked club in the state – for three years, leading the squad to the NPL National Championship semifinals.
"Alfred is a strong, athletic player who can excel at a number of defensive positions," Murray said. "He is a great athlete, quick and has good technical ability. His experience will certainly help us with such a large incoming class, and I am looking forward to seeing his impact on the current squad."
Portland, Ore. / Jesuit
A three-year varsity player at Jesuit High School, Larson earned All-Metro League Second Team honors, was a two-time Most Valuable Defensive Player and twice made the All-Metro Academic Team. He played 10 years of youth soccer with the Eastside Timbers Club, reaching the USYSA Region IV tournament semifinals in 2015 and the state cup finals three times in addition to winning the 2016 Presidents Day Tournament in Phoenix, Ariz.
"Andrew is a strong defender and has played in a number of positions throughout his career," Murray said. "We are delighted to have another outstanding defender in the squad, and with his good technical ability and tactical understanding, should make the transition to the college game with no problems."
Pleasanton, Calif. / Foothill
A member of Ballistic United Premier, the ninth-ranked team in Northern California and No. 27 in the National Premier League, Mirchandani became a varsity starter at Yokohama International School, captained his JV team as a sophomore and returned to the varsity starting XI for his final two years.
"Rohan could be described as an 'old fashioned winger' with great pace and technique and the ability to take players on in 1v1 situations," Murray said. "He has quick feet, scores goals and brings a terrific work rate on the defensive side of the ball. He brings a wealth of high-level club experience to Caltech and we are looking forward to the potential impact he will make on the program and the SCIAC."
Edina, Minn. / Edina
"Jacob will add depth to our squad and can function in a number of positions," Murray said. "He played both for his high school and for a number of club teams in his brief career. He is looking forward to competing and being challenged at the college level and continuing his development during his time at Caltech."
South Berwick, Maine / Berwick Acad.
A three-year varsity starter and two-year captain at Berwick Academy, Thut was named All-League Honorable Mention as both a junior and senior, ranking third in the league in goals scored as a junior. He also scored the game-winning goal in the Senior NEPSTAA All-Star game.
"Chad was described to me by his coach as the type of captain everyone wants to play for – an immense work rate and nose for goal," Murray said. "Not only is he all of the above, but he is also physically strong and able to play in a number of attacking positions on the field. His ability to play as a single striker or in a pair, even as a wide midfielder, give us lots of options moving forward. I am looking forward to seeing the impact Chad has on the group and how he imparts his personality on our young squad."
Grand Blanc, Mich. / Grand Blanc
Yet another member of the US Soccer Development Academy with Vardar Soccer Club, Walker captained his club team as well as Grand Blanc High School for two years apiece. He earned All-Conference Honorable Mention recognition as a junior and was named the Most Improved Player as a senior.
"JD comes to Caltech from the US Soccer Development Academy, having spent the last four years playing for Vardar," Murray said. "He has great experience against some of the top players in the country, which will help as he makes the jump into the college game. He is tenacious and a fearless tackler, quick, possesses a fantastic engine and is extremely versatile, allowing us to use him in a number of positions in the back four."