This is part of a running series of features on Dons freshman athletes. Our first week will look at six freshmen joining the USF men’s soccer team. Director of Men’s Soccer Operations Jeff Jenkins has recruited a diverse group of young athletes from North and South America to assist in the team’s defense of the West Coast Conference title.
#3 Harrison Kepp
Kepp makes the move across the Bay to the Hilltop from Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, Calif., where he scored 17 goals in three seasons at the varsity level. As a senior, Kepp captained his team to a 20-2-3 record en route to the CIF North Coast Section Championship in Division III. Despite being listed as a defender on the Dons’ official roster, Kepp can play anywhere in the field, having scored nine goals and adding six assists at Bishop O’Dowd last year. Don’t be surprised to see him push forward in the attack to assume more of a box-to-box role, or as a deep lying playmaker in the midfield.
#6 Zyan Ferreira de Andrade
Andrade comes to USF from Brazil, where he spent five years in the youth academy of Botafogo de Futebol e Ragatas, a mid-table club in the Serie A, the top league in Brazilian soccer. He primarily played at left back in the Botafogo setup, but is listed as a midfielder on Coach Soto’s roster. This suggests the team will be using his ability moving forward as a winger. Andrade is an experienced crosser and an adept passer, easily able to pick out runners with penetrating ball control. Look for him to fulfill a wingback-style role in head coach Eddie Soto’s system as a wide midfielder or dropping back to play fullback.
#8 Cameron Martin
Cameron Martin is one of eight products of the Seattle Sounders FC Youth Academy to move to college teams this season. Martin will face off against two of them later this year (Rudy Stretch, University of Portland; Sakari Carter, Santa Clara University). Originally from Tukwila, Wash., Martin has made seven appearances for the Sounders’ second team in the United Soccer League, the second tier of the American soccer pyramid. In those appearances, Martin averaged 51.6 passes per 90 minutes to a clip of 85.4 percent success rate. Martin has already opened his account for the Dons, scoring a goal on his debut against San Diego State University on Aug. 26. Expect him to play an attacking role this year.
#12 Ashish Chattha
Chattha is a midfielder making the move to USF after playing at American High School in Fremont, Calif.. Chattha has been on the radar of the U.S. Men’s National Team since 2015 when he was selected for the U15 USMNT camp after impressing at Juventus Soccer Club of Redwood City, Calif. This past summer, Chattha prepared for his time with the Dons by playing for San Francisco City FC in the Premier Development League, where he scored one goal in 117 minutes. He will be competing for time in a very competitive midfield for the Dons.
#22 Jake Serpa
Serpa is joining the team after playing for Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif. Serpa is a well-rounded athlete: he also played both football and baseball in high school. On the soccer field, he can play in all three thirds. On the football field, Serpa played wide receiver, defensive back, was a kickoff specialist and dabbled in returning kickoffs and punts. As if that was not enough, he was also a utility player on the freshman baseball team in 2015. He is listed as a defender for the Dons, but at five feet nine inches, we may see him move into the midfield or even the attack over the course of the year.
#26 Diego Solano
Solano joins the Dons from Virginia, by way of the D.C. United Youth Academy. He also played at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Va. Solano can play as an advanced midfielder with good ball control and hold up play, slowing down the attack to distribute the ball. Solano’s career with the Dons is already off to a flying start, having appeared in both of the Dons’ first two games.