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Temple adding 16 new players for fall season

Brian Rowland’s first recruiting class is a big one

Elias Hellgren Villegas, who joined the Temple program in the spring, is one of 16 in the incoming recruiting class
Matt Ralph

The coaching staff won’t be the only place will a lot of new faces for the Temple men’s soccer team this fall.

New head coach Brian Rowland’s first recruiting class, announced in early May, includes seven transfers and nine incoming freshmen for a total of 16 players.

“This is a large and extremely talented group of players, who we expect to have a major impact in the future of the program,” Rowland stated at the time of the announcement. “This class will address all areas and positions, and will allow us to build a competitive culture within our team.”

One recruit, 6-foot-3 target forward Elias Hellgren Villegas, joined the team in the spring from IF Brommapojkarna in his native Sweden. He’s one of six internationals in the class.

That includes two from Canada, freshmen midfielders Jalen Campbell and Andres Charles Barrera, Italian forward and Lindenwood transfer Michele Ganz and French goalkeeper Simon Lefebvre.

Five players in the class have experience playing in MLS academies, two locally with the Philadelphia Union. Midfielder Christian Contreras was a member of the Union Academy from 2014-17 before spending his senior season playing at Hightstown High School in New Jersey and midfielder Jake Silverstein was a member of the Union U14 and U16 teams after spending time with the New York Red Bulls Academy in 2012.

Other MLS academy alums include D.C. United Academy midfielder Danny Nugent and former D.C. United defender Prince Agyei, who is transferring from North Carolina after a redshirt year last season. Andres Charles Barrera has spent the last three seasons in the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency and has been called into the Canada U18 team.

Players with local ties include Gabe Harms, a defender from Berwyn who spent a redshirt year at Ohio State last fall and defender Virak Nhek from Harrisburg and the PA Classics Academy.

Rounding out the class are IUPUI transfer Tyler Gainer from Indiana, Florida Atlantic transfer Aaron Laranetto from Connecticut, San Diego native Santiago Majewski and defender Ben Silverstein.

The class includes a pair of forwards, eight midfielders, five defenders and one goalkeeper.

There are at least 11 departures from last year’s roster, which includes eight seniors and three underclassmen departures (Darri Sigthorsson, Thibault Candia and Alan Soto Camacho). Twenty-one of the 26 goals the team scored last season were scored by departing players.