Dominican announces 2010 men's soccer recruits

Two-time Sonoma County League Most Valuable Player David Mendez of Windsor leads an impressive and versatile 2010 men’s soccer recruiting class at Dominican University of California. The Windsor High School midfielder will join George “Yiorgo” Letsos of Carlsbad High School, Todd Mata of Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, Sam Vella of Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo and Jordan Rode of Arcata High School as incoming freshmen student-athletes this fall, Dominican director of soccer Jon Delano and athletics director Terry Tumey announced on Friday.

Mendez was league MVP his junior and senior years at Windsor High School, directing the Jaguars to a 31-3-8 record. He led the team with 43 goals in that span and helped Windsor win back-to-back SCL titles.  His Santa Rosa United club team was US Club champion 2006-08, National finalist in 2007, State Cup finalists in 2007-08 and Presidents Day Tournament champions in 2009 as the Boca Juniors Under-19 team in Phoenix.

“Getting David’s signature shows how aggressive and determined we are in building a strong program,” Delano said. “David is a dynamic player who has the potential to be a dominant player here. He has played in many high level tournaments and knows what type of commitment it takes to be successful on the field. We are very excited to have secured his commitment and we look forward to watching his growth as a player and person.”

Mendez joins his older sister, Eleanna, at Dominican. Eleanna completed her senior season with the Penguins women’s soccer team by being named second team All Pacific West Conference. She has a semester remaining at Dominican as a nursing major.

Letsos was the leading goal scorer last season at Carlsbad High School where he was a six-season scholar-athlete in soccer, cross country and track. He also was the starting midfielder for the Del Mar Sharks BU 19 Premier champions. Letsos, who is fluent in Greek and English and is a National AP Spanish Scholar, has competed in the Gothia Cup in Sweden.

“Yiorgo has tremendous pace and great service. We are hoping he can adjust quickly to the outside mid position because he has the ability to become a very dangerous attacking player,” Delano said. “Yiorgo has excelled in the classroom and on the field. He is a very technical-minded player who we are very excited to have at Dominican.”

Letsos’ Del Mar Sharks club teammate Mata has played center midfielder and defender. He averaged an assist a game his past two seasons with the Sharks and last month helped Cathedral Catholic appear in its sixth consecutive CIF Div. III final. Mata helped the Dons compile a 17-4-4 record this season. He also was chosen from California to represent the United States in the Zico Cup in Brazil.

“Todd is a very versatile player who can play a variety of positions,” Delano said. “Adding Todd to our class of 2010, reinforces the type of team we are trying to build here. Todd is an extremely technical player who reads the game and has the ability to take over games. His transition to Dominican should be expedited by having his former club teammate, Yiorgo joining him. Todd has great potential.”

After playing his junior season of high school for league champion JSG Hattenheim/Hallgarten in Germany, Vella finished his prep career at Serra, helping the Padres win the West Catholic Athletic League championship for the first time in 19 years. Serra advanced to the Central Coast Section semifinals. He plays club soccer for Redwood City Juventus

“Sam is an extremely technical player that has the ability to add to our program instantly,” Delano said. “We are extremely pleased with the fact that his academic pursuits always come first. He has always showed that he is willing to grow as a player and his year spent in Germany was critical in the development of his tactical and technical abilities.”

Rode is a 6-foot-3,  165-pound striker who played at Arcata High for four years. As a junior and senior, he accumulated 53 goals and 28 assists. He recorded a hat trick in seven of those games.

After finishing his junior year, Rode was honored as All-Big 4 Conference First Team and won both league MVP and team MVP in helping the Tigers advance to second round of NCS Sections. He was team captain his senior year when Arcata won the Big 4 title and earned another NCS playoff berth. Rode was named to the All-League First Team once again and the Big 4’s Co-MVP.

“We are extremely please to have received Jordan's commitment. Jordan is an extremely athletic forward that has an innate ability to put himself in goal scoring positions,” Delano said. “He has great size and pace for a forward and we look forward to seeing him come to Dominican and immediately compete for playing time.”

The new recruits join a Dominican team, 8-11-1 overall last season, that will return four players – juniors Alec Ziegler and Shane Huiberts and sophomores Rafael Garcia and Pedro Guevara – who received All Pacific West Conference second team or honorable mention recognition. The Penguins, in their inaugural year of NCAA Div. II and PacWest play, finished in sixth place in the conference with a 5-8-1 mark with four of those losses coming by just one goal.