UB men's soccer adds two international recruits for 2015 season
Buffalo gets first-ever recruit from Real Madrid Academy
After two seasons of large recruiting classes, men’s soccer coach Stu Riddle expected the 2015 recruiting class to be small, but to also “fit the positions needed.” And with his international background, Riddle looked to recruit a standout foreign player to bring to Buffalo for the start of the 2015-16 season.
He found two: a national player from his native country of New Zealand and the other from one of the best soccer academies in the world.
UB Athletics announced two new additions to the men’s soccer teams’ 2015 recruiting class in forward Pablo Fernandez-Paniagua Juez of Spain and defender Nick Forrester of New Zealand on Wednesday. The international standouts will join the Bulls roster for the upcoming 2015-16 season.
“Obviously, we’re really excited,” Riddle said. “The first two years I’ve been here, we brought in two large classes of incoming freshman, to be able to get two guys – one guy with NCAA experience under his belt and another coming from one of the best academies in the world, we’re really excited about the signings.”
Fernandez-Paniagua Juez is coming to Buffalo after playing the last seven seasons with the Real Madrid Academy in Spain, one of the premier clubs in Europe. When Fernandez-Paniagua Juez makes his debut for the Bulls this fall, he will become the first player from the Academy to play for the Bulls as well as in the Mid-American Conference.
Riddle praised the former Real Madrid standout about his style of play and hopes he will be a “big player” for the team once he learns his role in a new country.
“Pablo has the potential to be one of the top players in the country,” Riddle said. “Whether it’s the first year of whether it’s going to take a bit of time to understand the college soccer landscape, I have no doubt he’s going to be a big player for us at some point.”
Forrester also has playing experience overseas, playing on the New Zealand National team in 2013. He has experience on the college level as well, as he played as a member of Butler University last season.
Forrester is the fourth player on the team that hails from New Zealand, joining sophomore forward Scott Doney, sophomore goalkeeper Cameron Hogg and sophomore defenseman Fox Slotemaker.
Forrester will have three seasons of eligibility at Buffalo. Riddle said he was “excited” to have Forrester on the roster this upcoming season.
“With Nick joining the roster, having that year in college soccer, understanding the expectation and what’s it all about, it makes the transition much easier coming into the season,” Riddle said. “I believe Nick is going to be a really good for us. Very excited to have him as a part of our program.”
Fernandez-Paniagua Juez and Forrester were standouts overseas, but Riddle may be concerned if their skill set and work ethic can translate to the American game.
“There are differences between the college game and the international game,” Riddle said. “That will be a ton for our players. They’re entering a new country for the first time, they have to balance soccer and academics and we play on Friday, Sunday every week. It’s really difficult.”
The Bulls are entering next season with high expectations. Riddle’s last two large recruiting classes seemed to start developing this past March when the Bulls finished their 2014-15 spring season with a record of 8-1-1 while playing clubs in Europe.
The additions of Fernandez-Paniagua Juez and Forrester are what Riddle called the “right ones” for this current roster.
“We felt really good about the players we have here playing for us and working for us this past spring,” Riddle said. “We knew we we’re having a small recruiting class and wanted to find players, the right type of players at the position we needed. ”
The new Bulls will showcase their skill for the first time during three exhibition matches before the start next season. The first exhibition game will take place in Oneonta, New York when the Bulls travel to face Hartwick on Aug. 16.