UD soccer winning with international presence

Dayton men’s soccer coach Dennis Currier knew he couldn’t compete on a yearly basis with the traditional powers for recruits and had to get creative if he wanted to build a top program.

Instead of sticking with the usual hotbeds for prospects, Currier has found a pipeline for talent by going to lands beyond the U.S. borders.

The Flyers’ five leading scorers are all international players — Abe Keller (Switzerland), Greg Estone (England), Amass Amankona (Ghana), Brian Richards (Jamaica) and Maik Schoonerwoerd (Netherlands).

Ten of UD’s 31 players are foreign born.

Currier, who is in his ninth year at UD, had a connection from the beginning of his coaching career in England with a former college teammate, and that’s helped him cultivate other relationships to where Dayton is a recognizable name for players looking to combine soccer and a college education.

The strategy has been paying off. The Flyers finished their nonleague schedule 10-0 and were ranked 19th in the NSCAA national poll this week. They lead the nation with 2.8 goals per game.

“Dayton is a tremendous place for international student-athletes,” Currier said. “It’s just a matter of getting in touch with them, communicating and watching some video. Sometimes, we get the opportunity to go over there and see them play. But, really, the school sells itself.”

Currier still tries to pluck talent from the soccer-rich regions in the U.S., but the battles for those players are more intense.

“There’s not as much competition overseas — though you’re getting more and more as teams are becoming successful overseas and are adding that international flavor. But when you go to a recruiting event here, you’re looking at maybe 300 or 400 schools at those sites, and that’s a lot of competition,” Currier said.

“I think we’ve found a very good mix with both U.S.-based student-athletes and overseas student-athletes, and it’s worked out well for us.”

The Flyers opened Atlantic 10 play with a pair of ties — 0-0 against George Washington and 1-1 against Fordham.