Aug. 14, 2009

FAIRFAX, Va. - George Mason men's soccer head coach Greg Andrulis announced today a pair of recruits that will join the team for the 2009 season. The addition of Benny Barshai and Laurent Newsome to the team's roster brings the total number of recruits to seven.

A forward/midfielder, Barshai trained at the IMG Soccer Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Barshai was a starter last season for the U-18 team at the academy that finished in third place in the nation.

"Benny is a quick, athletic and relentless player with an outstanding attitude," Andrulis said. "He came highly recommended by former MLS Colleague and Director of IMG Soccer Academy Tom Durkin, who does a tremendous job preparing his guys to be successful in college. I love Benny's enthusiasm for the game and his eagerness to prove himself at our level."

Newsome, a 2009 All-Met Boys' Soccer Selection by The Washington Post, played defense for Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria, Va. After wrapping up his senior season as the Hawks' Defensive MVP, Newsome was named to the All-District, All-Northern Region and All-State Teams. Newsome, a three-sport star in high school, played club soccer with MPS 90, a team ranked in the top-15 in the nation.

"Newsome is a physical presence who we believe can develop once he joins our program and focuses solely on soccer," Andrulis said. "He has great size, strength and agility, and his technical ability on the ball and decision making will only get better as he moves away from basketball and football and dedicates all of his time into becoming a full-time soccer player. He has the ability to be a dominating presence on the backline as his game in the air is second to none."

Barshai and Newsome join a recruiting class that was recently ranked the 15th-best in the country by College Soccer News. In addition to Barshai and Newsome, the class includes Cooper Barham (Odessa, Texas), Michael D'Arrigo (Tucson, Ariz.), Victor Freeman (Bowie, Md.), Alex Herrera (Arlington, Va.) and Ryan Reichmann (Hicksville, N.Y.).

Incoming Player Bios Benny Barshai Height/Weight: 5'8"/155 Club Team: IMG Academies High School: Pendleton School Position: Forward/Midfield

Andrulis on Barshai: Benny is an incredibly hard worker and will only get better in our program. He can play out wide or as a striker and will give us another attacking option this fall. Benny is a quick, athletic and relentless player with an outstanding attitude. He came highly recommended by former MLS Colleague and Director of IMG Soccer Academy Tom Durkin, who does a tremendous job preparing his guys to be successful in college. He was a starter this past year for the U-18 IMG Soccer Academy team which finished third in the country so I know he has the competitive drive to be successful in our program.

Barshai on Mason: George Mason has all the resources to improve and further strengthen their squad. The high level of play creates constant competition which will help me improve individually. It is a privilege to be a part of the Mason Soccer family.

Laurent Newsome Height/Weight: 6'4"/210 Club Team: MPS 90 High School: Hayfield Secondary School Position: Defense

Andrulis on Newsome: Newsome is a physical presence who we believe can develop once he joins our program and focuses solely on soccer. He has great size, strength and agility, and his technical ability on the ball and decision making will only get better as he moves away from basketball and football and dedicates all of his time into becoming a full-time player. He has the ability to be a dominating presence on the backline as his game in the air is second to none. Newsome's club coach Sean Lanigan, a Mason alum, has done a wonderful job teaching him the game and helping him develop. We are excited Newsome joined our program and we look forward to helping him reach his potential here at George Mason.

Newsome on Mason: I chose George Mason University because I wanted to compete against a high level of competition. With Mason being highly ranked on a national level, the competition will be at the highest level. Also, I want to continue a tradition of success in soccer at the collegiate level, while excelling academically, and I feel that all of my goals can be accomplished at Mason.