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Putting the green in Green and Gold

The incoming class for the UVM men's soccer team includes five Vermonters
Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 9:22 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - There will be no season this fall, but that doesn't keep the UVM men's soccer team from working toward the future. Head coach Rob Dow announced the program's incoming recruiting class and there's a decided green tint to the newest group that will don the Green and Gold.

Five of the 15 newcomers, one third of the recruiting class, are Vermonters. Each of them took a unique path to arriving in Cat Country. The most traditional is probably Jami Lashua. The Williston native is coming to UVM after helping power CVU to back to back undefeated seasons and a pair of Division One state titles.

West Golver’s Riley Urie helped lead Lake Region to Division Two state crowns in 2016 and 2017, scoring 90 goals for the Rangers. He then spent the past two years at Herkimer Community College in New York, tallying 21 goals and 17 assists in two seasons and helping Herkimer advance to the 2019 National Junior College Athletic Association Division III National Championship Game.

Colchester native Leland Gazo was a star goalkeeper at Rice before heading to Division 1 Bradley, then transferred to St. Michael’s his freshman spring. He was a two year captain with the Purple Knights and ranked tenth in the country in saves per game. Gazo has a year of eligibility left, and joins his younger brother, Louis, who will be a sophomore at UVM this year.

Burlington native Cole Venner attended the Berkshire School prep school and then went on to play at Connecticut. After a redshirt season in 2017, Veener played in 34 games over the past two seasons for the Huskies, scoring three goals before deciding to transfer back home to Vermont. He'll have two seasons of eligibility left.

The final Green Mountain native is Antonio Pugliese from Charlotte, who attended youth soccer academies in Florida and Arizona and is coming to UVM after playing on the youth team for a professional soccer club in Spain.

These newcomers bring the total number of Vermonters expected to be on the roster this year to ten. Coach Rob Dow says having so many players from Vermont on a team that is expected to challenge for the America East title every season is a testament to the quality of player this state is capable of producing.

"There's great youth coaches, there's great youth clubs, there's opportunity for our youth soccer players to be prepared to play Division I soccer.", says Dow. "It's a great opportunity to play on Virtue Field, the reputation of playing in front of our amazing fans resonates and there's a strong desire to do so. And I think the quality of the program the community support and success is bringing these guys home."

Even though they know there will be no season in the fall, and there’s no guarantee there will be one in the spring either, Coach Dow says he’s impressed with the commitment and dedication his team has shown in the lead up to arriving on campus for the start of the fall semester.

“Our expectations are that we’re going to be competing for another championship and our team knows that and they’re coming in prepared.”, says Dow. “They’ve been training to play all summer wherever they’ve been around the country or the world and I think that’s the sign that this team is dialed in and already focused despite what is uncertain around the world. "

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