Feb. 12, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. -
Northwestern head men's soccer coach Tim Lenahan has announced the signing of five individuals to National Letters of Intent to join the Wildcats for the upcoming 2008 season. Lenahan inked players from all over the Midwest - with two individuals hailing from Michigan and one each from Illinois and Kansas - as well as one from North Carolina.
The class consists of Jonathan Harris (Arlington Heights, Ill./St. Viator), Oliver Kupe (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston), Christian Ludtke (Wilmington, N.C./New Hanover), Peter O'Neill (Fairway, Kan./Rockhurst) and John Rogers (Birmingham, Mich./Detroit Country Day).
"I am very excited about this year's class," Lenahan said. "Over the past few years, we have been able attract some of the nation's top high school and club players and this year is no exception. All but one of our players have played for the Regional Team or attended Adidas ESP which usually is reserved for the top 75 senior players in the country. The one exception, Oliver Kupe, is an exceptional two-sport athlete who we are excited about his making a full-time commitment to soccer.
"We continue to get players from our Northwestern College Soccer Training Center, as both Peter O'Neill and Jon Harris attended the camp last summer and we were able to get a great feel for them and their personalities. We have added both size and speed in Ludtke, Kupe and O'Neill, while getting also a natural leader and great soccer IQ in John Rogers. Jonathan Harris has great presence and should push our existing goalkeeper group. All in all, I would say this is a very talented and balanced class that can help us to achieve our continued climb into the nation's elite soccer programs."
Hometown: Arlington Heights, Ill.
High School: St. Viator High School
Height: 5'10" Weight: 175
High School: Four-year letterwinner ... Co-captain and Most Valuable Player in senior and junior seasons ... Allowed only one goal in conference play during senior season and lead team to its first-ever undefeated regular season ... Selected the 2007 Soccer Player of the Year by Chicago Sun-Times
Club/ODP: Played on the U.S. National U-15, along with current Wildcats Drew Kotler and Lucas Swertloff, and was in the U-17 pool for two years ... Named an adidas All-American in 2004 ... Trained in summer 2005 in Glasgow, Scotland, with the Rangers FC ... Played club soccer with Sockers FC for 3 years, FC United for 2 years, and Rockford Raptors for a year ... State Cup finalist for five of those years ... Named to Chicago Tribune's all-area team in 2007
Personal: Born Jonathan K. Harris on July 2, 1990 ... Son of David and Michelle Harris ... Older brother graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point ... Grandfather, Don Guier, was a member of the Northwestern wrestling team in 1944 and 1945 ... Chose Northwestern over Creighton, Colgate, Marquette
Harris Says: "I wanted a top quality academic environment and a top quality soccer program. Northwestern combines those elements perfectly, and I am excited about becoming a Wildcat!"
Coach Lenahan's Comments: "Jonathan Harris has been at many of our games and at our camps over the last two years, so it is almost like he is already a part of the family. He is very athletic and powerful goalkeeper, has great presence and should give us great depth in goal. Having played on the field for a good part of his high school career shows he will do whatever it takes to succeed. He could be a good one."
Hometown: Clarkston, Mich.
High School: Clarkston High School
Height: 6'3" Weight: 185
High School: Second runner-up for Mr. Soccer in the state of Michigan ... First-team all-state selection as a senior and a second-team pick as a junior ... Four times named to the all-league , all-district and all-county teams ... 2007 Dream Team selection ... Twice named the team's Offensive Player of the Year ... Tallied 71 career goals ... Two-time league leader in scoring ... Named team MVP as a senior ... Led 2007 team to the State Championship ... Also competed in basketball, averaging 13 points per game as a senior.
Club: Played club soccer at Vardar ... Team was five-time State Cup champions, 2006 regional finalist and 2002 regional champions ... Squad won three Midwest Regional League titles ... 2005 Dallas Cup Finalists ... Named MVP of the 2006 State Cup Finals ... Teammate of fellow Northwestern signee John Rogers.
Personal: Born November 11, 1989 ... Son of Drs. Joachim and Anne-Marie Kupe ... Both parents are originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo and received their PhDs at the Technical University in Aachan, Germany ... Chose Northwestern over Georgetown, Duke, SMU, Brown, Connecticut, Cincinnati and Ohio State.
Kupe Says: "I chose Northwestern because most importantly it's an incredible educational institution. I know it will prepare for a very bright future. I also felt a connection with not only the school, but with the team. The tight knit family-based team philosophy made it the perfect soccer environment for me, along with its success on the national stage of college soccer."
Coach Lenahan's Comments: "Oliver really adds a missing dimension to our attack with his tremendous speed and athleticism. He is a phenomenal athlete as shown by his success in both soccer and basketball. Having split his training between two sports, we are really looking forward to Oliver committing full-time to soccer. He has only scratched the surface of the player we think he will become and he should cause havoc for defenses in the Big Ten."
Hometown: Wilmington, N.C.
High School: New Hanover High School
Height: 6'4" Weight: 185
High School: Four-year letterwinner and a three-year starter for the New Hanover Wildcats ... Junior Player of the Year in 2006 ... Senior Captain and Coaches Award Winner ... Team MVP ... Three-time all-conference and all-region selection ... National Honor Society member ... Honor roll student all four years.
Club/ODP: Played club soccer for the Jacksonville Coastal Crew in 2005 and 2006 and for the Cape Fear Breakers in 2007 and 2008 ... Played USL Club for the Wilmington Hammerheads in 2004 and 2005 and for the Wilmington Academy in 2006 and 2007 ... Team Captain in 2007 for the Wilmington Academy team which went to the 2006 U.S. Club Nationals ... All-region pick and attended USYL ODP National Camp in 2006 and 2007 ... Member of the North Carolina State ODP Program and attended Region III ODP Camp ... Invited to the adidas ESP Camp in 2007 for the nation's top 130 players.
Personal: Born Christian Matthew Ludtke on August 21, 1990 ... Son of Skip and Kristine Ludtke ... Sister Alex played collegiate soccer at Charlotte ... Chose Northwestern over Brown, Duke, Elon and UNC-Greensboro.
Ludtke Says: "Northwestern University to me is the obvious choice because I feel I am joining a family as opposed to any run-of-the-mill team. My sense of comfort with the program instilled in me by both Coaches Lenahan and (Andy) Fleming reassured me that I can have a great future, both athletically and professionally. I feel NU will afford me a great experience both on and off the field in my life's journey ahead."
Coach Lenahan's Comments: "Christian really caught our eye with his performance at adidas ESP when playing against the best players in the country. He has great size for a central defender and a great upside to his game. He could become one of the top central defenders in the Big Ten over the next four years."
Hometown: Fairway, Kan.
High School: Rockhurst High School
Height: 5'11" Weight: 160
High School: Three-year letterwinner ... Team captain as a junior and senior ... Posted 27 goals and 20 assists as a senior, including scoring the only goal in the state title game ... 2007 Western Region Player of the Year ... Two-time team MVP... 2007 1st Team All-Metro ... First-team all-state pick senior season ... 2007 NSCAA All-Midwest Region ... 2007 Missouri Offensive Player of the Year ... Helped guide the Hawklets to third-place state finishes in 2005 and 2006 ... High school teammate of current Wildcat Drew Pavlovich ... National Honor Society member ... Student Government Vice President.
Club/ODP: Six-year member of the Blue Valley Stars ... Five-time Kansas State Cup champions ... 2006 and 2007 Regional Team Selection ... Played with the Region II team France Intl Tour 2007 and Costa Rica 2008 ... Invited to adidas Elite Soccer Program in 2007 for nation's top 150 players and was named to the ESP all-star team ... 2007 NSCAA Youth All-American.
Personal: Born Peter Francis O'Neill on January 22, 1990 ... Son of Jim and Sally O'Neill ... Father played soccer collegiately at Rockhurt University and in the MISL with the Wichita Wings ... Chose Northwestern over Saint Louis, Loyola-Chicago, Creighton, Georgetown and Villanova.
O'Neill Says: "I chose Northwestern because I think that the academics will prepare me for whatever I choose to do in life. I really enjoyed the time I spent with the team and the coaches and Chicago is a great city."
Coach Lenahan's Comments: "Peter O'Neill is a winner. He is very athletic and versatile and has gotten better each time we have seen him over the past two years. His goal in the state final for Rockhurst shows that he can produce in the biggest games. He should add speed and athleticism to our attack."
Hometown: Birmingham, Mich.
High School: Detroit Country Day School
Height: 5'9" Weight: 155
High School: Three-time Division 3 all-state selection ... Scored the winning goal in the 2007 state championship game ... Helped guide the Yellowjackets to three Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 state titles ... Two-time team MVP ... Twice named to the Oakland County all-area team ... 2007 MHSAA Dream Team Member ... Four-year letterwinner ... Earned Magna Cum Laude honors status.
Club/ODP: Vardar team co-captain from 2003-08 ... Played with fellow Northwestern signee Oliver Kupe ... Guided the team to three straight Michigan State Cup championships ... 2006 Regional finalists ... 2005 Midwest Regional League Champions ... 2003-07 ODP '90 Michigan team member ... 2004-07 ODP Region II team member along with Wildcat signees Jonathan Harris and Peter O'Neill.
Personal: Born John George Rogers on January 5, 1990 ... Son of Mark and Stacey Rogers ... Chose Northwestern over Michigan, Penn and Louisville.
Rogers Says: "I chose Northwestern because I will be playing for a soccer program that is driven to be one of the best. At the same time, I will be educated at one of the highest-ranked universities in the country."
Coach Lenahan's Quotes: "We knew early in the process that John was a Northwestern guy. He is very intense, an exceptional student, a great leader and a very good soccer player. He seems to be the glue of every team he plays for, be it his high school team at Detroit Country Day, his club team at Vardar or the Region II team. He will be one of the team leaders at Northwestern before his career is over."