February 17, 1999
BERKELEY - California head coach Mark Mallon today announced the signing of six talented recruits to letters of intent to play for the Golden Bears beginning with the 1999 season. The group consists of Jason "J.T." Thorpe, Blake Yarger, Patrick Fisher, Dru Hoshimiya, Dave Wilkinson and David Denning.
"I am very excited about this year's recruiting class," said Mallon. "We added a U.S. National Team forward, secured our goalkeeping for the next four years and provided depth in the midfield.
"The quality of this recruiting class, coupled with 18 returning players, should make us a favorite to return to the NCAA Tournament and challenge the No. 2 national ranking achieved by our 1996 squad that defeated UCLA, Stanford, Washington, Clemson and Santa Clara en route to a 12-5-2 record."
Headlining this year's class is Thorpe, a member of the U.S. Under-18 National team and a Soccer America Top 25 recruit. Thorpe, a 6-0 forward/defender from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., chose Cal over UCLA, Cal State Fullerton, and San Jose State. At Alta Loma High School, Thorpe was named All-CIF during his junior and senior seasons, All Mountain Baldy League his sophomore through senior year, as well as team MVP as a junior and senior. As a junior, Thorpe led his high school in scoring with 26 goals. He is the recipient of the 1999 Cal-adidas Rolling Thunder Scholarship. According to Mallon, Thorpe possesses excellent speed and size and has the potential to make an immediate impact next season.
Yarger, who played locally for Redwood High School in Tiburon and for the Central Marin Thrashers club team, is considered the goalkeeper of the future for the Bears. During April of 1998, Yarger competed with the Regional Olympic Team in Germany. He also has experience as a field player as a high school senior. Yarger chose Cal over other top soccer and academic schools such as UCLA, Stanford, and Santa Clara.
Fisher, a local product from Saratoga, was a WCAL all-league midfielder at Bellarmine Prep High School, where he played with current Bear J.V. Ganal. He also was a member of the Region IV Under-18 ODP team.
Wilkinson, a 6-1 goalkeeper from nearby Piedmont, was discovered by Mallon at a Cal soccer camp last summer and according to Mallon has the chance of developing into a big-time player. Wilkinson played soccer at Bishop O'Dowd High School.
Hoshimiya, a 5-11 midfielder from South Pasadena, Calif., played on the 1998 national runner-up club team, the Claremont Stars. Hoshimiya was honored with the state championship 1998 Fair play award. He also played soccer at Pasadena High School and was a member of the CYSA 1995 and 1996 state team.
Denning, a 5-10 midfielder from San Francisco, was a first team All-West Region and All-League selection as a senior after posting 15 goals and 16 assists.