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Feb. 8, 2006

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – – University of Virginia head men’s soccer coach George Gelnovatch has announced his 2006 men’s soccer recruiting class. Gelnovatch and his coaching staff signed one of the top classes in the country including the nation’s No. 1 soccer recruit. The three-member class consists of Jonathan Villanueva (Dallas, Texas), Matthew Mitchell (Boston, Mass.) and Chase Neinken (Roswell, Ga.).

Villanueva is rated as the nation’s top soccer recruit by School Sports magazine. A midfielder, Villanueva will be playing his first season at South Grand Prairie High School in Dallas, after transferring from Cedar Hill, where he scored 17 goals last season. He is a two-time National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American (2004-05), Adidas ESP Inivitee (2003-05) and Adidas All-Star (2005). He was voted Newcomer of the Year for private schools in his area as freshman in 2002. Villanueva played for one of the top club teams in the country, the Dallas Texans. He was a member of the ODP — Region III (2000-2002) team as well as a five-time Coca Cola Classic League Champion (2001-2005). He helped lead teams to the Region III Championship titles twice (2003, 2005) and to a third place at the national championship in 2003. He helped his team to a national championship in 2005. Villanueva was a US National Team member in 2003. He is a two-time Premier League Champion as well as a four-time state champion (2002-05).

“Jonathan is arguably the top recruit in the country, picked as such in a couple of publications,” Gelnovatch said. “It’s been a while since we’ve had someone with Jonathan’s playmaking ability. He’s a very talented player right now, but what I’m excited about is that he hasn’t reached his potential yet. We expect there to be a learning curve for him, but I also would expect some exciting things from him this fall.”

Mitchell, a forward who has played the last three years at Noble and Greenough School, is a two-time NSCAA Adidas High School All-American (2004, 2005). He was a two-time member of the Adidas ESP All-Star team in 2004 and 2005. He helped FC Greater Boston Bolts to the Massuchusetts state championship at the club level and helped Oakwood Soccer Club to five Connecticut State championships. He earned all-conference honors at Simsbury High School in two years before heading to Noble and Greenough where he was a first-team All-ISL selection in 2003 and 2004.

“Matt Mitchell is another type of player that we have not had here in a while,” Gelnovatch said. “The combination of his speed, athleticism and attacking ability will pose a dynamic that we feel we’ve been missing.”

Neinken is a forward at The Walker School in Marietta, Ga, where he has helped the Wolverines to back-to-back state championship games. He was named a NSCAA Adidas High School All-American in 2005 and was the Georgia High School Player of the Year (AA) in 2004 and 2005. He starts at forward for Concorde-Fire U-18 Team, who just won the Disney Showcase over Christmas as well as the Region III Premier League. He scored his 100th goal as a junior and is The Walker School’s all-time leading Scorer. He also was selected to GHSA All-State team as a kicker for football. He was an ESP Camp Attendee and played on the ODP Region III Team ’87. He selected UVa over Maryland, Clemson and Michigan.

“Chase is the Georgia State Player of the Year and a high school school All-American. He’s a forward that has set several scoring records. What I like about Chase is his all-around athletic ability, toughness and goal scoring capability,” Gelnovatch said.

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