Watts, Sharks Add Seven Newcomers to 22 Roster

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Looking to build upon the momentum from last year’s trip to the Final Four, head coach Matt Watts and the Nova Southeastern men’s soccer program have worked to restock the cupboard with the signing of seven players in the 2022 recruiting class, welcoming in Sam Allardyce, Eduardo D’Avino, Noah Holtschoppen, Tommy Maguire, Santiago Marengo, Theo Oherwall and Manuel Ploner.
Sam Allardyce (Sophomore, Defender) Georgia Southern
Player Profile: Across two seasons at Georgia Southern, Allardyce started seven matches for the Eagles and logged 669 minutes of action. Allardyce was named to the Sun Belt Conference All-Tournament team in 2020.
Allardyce on why he chose NSU: “I chose to come to NSU because of the opportunities available to me. At NSU, I will have the opportunity to play for a conference-winning team, and therefore, will be surrounded by great players all with a common goal of becoming NCAA national champions this upcoming fall. A strong mentality in the locker room and a winning team is a dream for any player. At NSU, I will also be given the knowledge and facilities needed for myself to become a confident and strong professional within the health professions field, as NSU is notorious for it’s prowess in health and medicine.”
Eduardo D’Avino (Graduate Student, Goalkeeper) Young Harris
Player Profile: D’Avino joins Nova Southeastern after two seasons at Young Harris, where he appeared in 24 matches, making 22 starts. During the 2021 season, D’Avino recorded 33 saves and five shutouts, while posting a 15-0-1 record and was a First-Team All-Peach Belt Conference selection.
D’Avino on why he chose NSU: “I chose NSU because I think the soccer program is one of the best in the country. When Coach Watts showed interest in me, I didn’t hesitate to take this opportunity.”

Noah Holtschoppen (Sophomore, Defender)
Player Profile: Holtschoppen comes to Nova Southeastern and the United States from Germany. Holtschoppen plays for Sportverein 1919 Straelen and during the 2021-22 season he appeared in 12 games.
Holtschoppen on why he chose NSU: “The first impression I got of both the soccer program and of the school itself really convinced me to choose NSU. Coach Watts and the rest of the guys on the team seemed very supportive from the beginning. Furthermore, the academic reputation was very important for me. NSU offers a wide range of degree programs that I think will work well for me. Lastly, NSU is located in a region that I’ve always wanted to visit. Staying in the south region of the United States gives me a chance to explore a lot of interesting places nearby and will also provide me the opportunity to improve my English-speaking skills.

Tommy Maguire (Graduate Student, Midfielder)
Player Profile: Maguire, another international transfer for the Sharks, comes to NSU from Northern Ireland after having most recently played with the Warrenpoint Town Football Club. Maguire has made over 100 appearances in the Irish League (NIFL Premiership) and played for both the u17 and u19 Northern Ireland clubs against Norway, Israel and Cyprus. 
Maguire on why he chose NSU: “I chose NSU after speaking with the Gaffer (Watts). Once he outlined the recent success and ambitions of the team, I knew this school was right for me. We will be looking to kick on this year, and I know NSU will provide me the platform to improve as a player while also earning a degree.”

Santiago Marengo (Sophomore, Midfielder) 
Player Profile: Santiago appeared and started in 16 matches during the 2021 campaign for Lindenwood, scoring a pair of goals amd adding four assists. Santiago scored the game-winning goal against Missouri S&T on Oct. 8.
Marengo on why he chose NSU: “I chose NSU because it has a very professional soccer program. I can see the discipline and hard work within the program, it was shown last year by the team reaching the Final Four. I came here to win and do my best. I want to take a step forward in my soccer career, and this is the right place for me.”

Theo Oherwall (Sophomore, Midfielder) 
Player Profile: Theo earned the second Freshman of the Year honor in Carson-Newman program history and earned All-SAC First-Team honors. Oherwall scored four goals and led the Eagles with 13 points in 2021.
Oherwall on why he chose NSU: “I chose NSU because it’s a program that is fighting for a championship. I also wanted a new challenge in my career and feel like NSU has what I’m looking for.”

Manuel Ploner (Junior, Goalkeeper)
Player Profile: Finished as the NJCAA D3 championship runner-up and national semi-finalist with Camden County College.
Ploner on why he chose NSU: “I decided to become an NSU Shark because I think it will provide me with the best environment to grow and succeed both academically and athletically. The opportunity to represent and play for such a successful program is a great honor.
NSU will kick off the 2022 regular season on the road at Anderson (S.C.) on Aug. 25.
To stay up-to-date with the Sharks, visit NSUSharks.com or follow them on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_MSoccer.

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Defending Super Region 2 Champions Release 2022 Schedule

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – With eight starters back in the fold from last season’s Final Four squad, the Nova Southeastern men’s soccer team will hope to replicate some of its 2021 magic when the 2022 season gets under way on the road against Anderson (S.C.) on Aug. 25.

The Sharks will play back-to-back contests on the road to begin the season, with a 2021 NCAA Tournament opening-round rematch at Coker set to follow on Aug. 27, before facing Lenoir-Rhyne in the year’s home opener on Sept. 1.  

In all, seven of the Sharks’ 15 regular-season matches will be played at the friendly confines of the NSU Soccer Complex, including five against Sunshine State Conference opponents.

“We are excited to compete against some of the best teams in the country,” said NSU head coach Matt Watts. “Our schedule is as strong as ever. Our out-of-conference games (Anderson, Coker and Lenoir-Rhyne) are challenging, but should put us in good shape for the NCAA Tournament if we take care of business, as two of those clubs made the postseason in 2021. On top of these tough regional games, we face the gauntlet of the SSC, which I anticipate will be as strong as ever. It’s always a test, but one we relish.”

NSU will kick off SSC action on Sept. 10 against Florida Southern, the first of eight straight SSC matches for the Sharks. Among that stretch features a trip to Lynn on Sept. 14, later followed by a road contest at Tampa on Sept. 24 that sets the stage for a rematch of the 2021 SSC Championship – one in which the Sharks captured by a 4-1 margin.

NSU will celebrate Senior Night on Oct. 19 versus Maine-Fort Kent before wrapping up the regular season with a home tilt against Eckerd on Oct. 22 and a road clash at Palm Beach Atlantic on Oct. 25.

The 2022 SSC Tournament will be held this fall from Oct. 31–Nov. 6. The opening round of the NCAA Tournament is slated for Nov. 10.

For a complete look at the 2022 schedule, click here. To stay up-to-date with the Sharks this season, visit NSUSharks.com or follow them on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_MSoccer.

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Adam Reakes Joins NSU Men’s Soccer Program as New Assistant Coach

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The pen was officially put to paper Thursday, as head coach Matt Watts and the Nova Southeastern men’s soccer program announced the hire of Adam Reakes as its new assistant coach. Reakes joins the staff following a head coaching stint with Apotheos FC of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL).

“I am extremely excited to be joining the NSU family,” said Reakes. “I feel fortunate to become a part of such an amazing program at such a fantastic school with some of the best players, coaches and staff in the country. I am looking forward to getting started. I can’t wait to help the program and players reach the next step of their journey and hopefully have a very successful 2022 season.”

A native of Colchester, England, Reakes has extensive experience at the youth, collegiate and professional levels, most recently serving as the head coach of Apotheos FC while also holding assistant coaching and lead recruiting positions at Reinhardt University in Georgia in addition to acting as Director of Coaching for Academy Juniors of Inter Atlanta FC. Prior to his latest roles, Reakes spent time as an assistant with the Georgia Revolution of the NPSL, along with acting as the Elite Youth Coach and Technical Advisor for Colchester United FC from 2016-17 before taking over as the Elite Development Coach for Inter Atlanta FC from 2017-19.

“I am excited to add someone to our staff that has the experience and knowledge that Adam is bringing to the table,” said Watts, who guided the Sharks to the Final Four in 2021. “Adam is passionate about the game and has come from club cultures in the past that have a similar culture and work ethic to ours. He will be a fantastic addition to the program.”

Reakes played professionally both in the United States and in the UK. He spent time in the NPSL as a member of both the Knoxville Force and Chattanooga FC before moving on to USL League Two, where he played with Peachtree City MOBA. In the UK, Reakes earned stints with a handful of organizations including Brightlingsea Regent, Stanway Rovers, Brantham Athletic and Colchester United.   

Reakes played collegiately at Reinhardt University and Clayton State.

To stay up-to-date with the Sharks, visit NSUSharks.com or follow them on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_MSoccer.

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NSU Men’s Soccer Finishes at No. 3 in Final United Soccer Coaches Poll

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – On the heels of its memorable run all the way to the Final Four, the Nova Southeastern men’s soccer team has wrapped up the 2021 campaign ranked No. 3 in the nation, according to United Soccer Coaches.

The ranking marks the highest finish to a season in program history.

“The team had a phenomenal season,” said NSU head coach Matt Watts. “Although it’s not No. 1, it should be celebrated as a great season. To finish the year ranked No. 3 in the country shows just how far this program has come. We want to be considered as a top team in the country. This season has raised the bar for the upcoming years. We now know what it takes to get there, and we hope to be back in the mix in the years to come.”

This past fall featured a handful of program firsts, as the Sharks earned their first-ever Sunshine State Conference Tournament title, their first-ever berth into the NCAA Tournament, and as a result, their first-ever run to the Final Four in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Despite being knocked out of the NCAA Tournament via penalty kicks by eventual national champion California State Los Angeles, NSU closed the season on a 14-game unbeaten streak, good enough for an overall record of 17-3-3. The 17 wins are also a single-season, program best.

Additionally, the Sharks finished a combined 11-0-1 in matches away from home and collected five victories against programs that landed in the season’s final Top-25 poll.
NSU is expected to return roughly 80 percent of its starting lineup in 2022.

Rightfully so, Cal State LA captured the top spot in the final rankings, followed by national runner-up Charleston (W. Va.). Fellow Sunshine State Conference programs, Palm Beach Atlantic and Tampa were slotted at No. 13 and No. 21, respectively.

To stay up-to-date with the program throughout the offseason, visit NSUSharks.com, or follow the Sharks on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_MSoccer.

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Sharks’ Memorable Run Ends in Final Four

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. –  A season that featured numerous program firsts, including the very first Sunshine State Conference Tournament title and the very first NCAA Tournament berth, the Nova Southeastern men’s soccer team had its memorable season come to a close in the Final Four on Thursday, falling 3-1 in penalty kicks to top-seeded California State Los Angeles.

Score: Cal State Los Angeles 0, Nova Southeastern 0 (Cal State LA Advances 3-1 in PKs)
Records: Cal State Los Angeles 17-2-3, Nova Southeastern 17-3-3
Location: Weidner Field | Colorado Springs, Colo.  
Get Social: Twitter & Instagram – @NSU_MSoccer, Facebook – NSU Sharks Men’s Soccer 


  • The Golden Eagles proved pretty early on that they were going to be content sitting in defensively, forcing the Sharks to earn each and every attacking opportunity.
  • NSU keeper Alberto Ciroi made the first of his four saves on the night in the 10th minute.
  • With a handful of shot attempts already under their belt, the Sharks pushed forward again in the 17th minute, only for Michael Lawrence’s chance to sail high.
  • NSU held Cal State LA without a single shot for the final 35:33 of the half, yet entered the locker room knotted at 0-0 following Odei Arrieta’s high attempt in the closing minutes.
  • The Sharks forced more pressure at the start of the second half, tallying three shots in a span of 4:53. Tobias Pellio’s attempt was saved, however, while both Arrieta and Tino Miguez missed off target.
  • The Golden Eagles nearly snuck one past the NSU defense, though, in the 68th minute when a Ryan Candelario shot struck the crossbar and bounced straight down before being sent off the line. Upon video review, the call was confirmed that the shot did not clear the goal line.
  • A second crossbar strike went in favor of the Sharks in the 81st minute, keeping the match still tied 0-0.
  • Pellio had another shot drift high in the 88th minute, as both sides soon headed to extra time.
  • NSU outshot Cal State LA by a 4-0 margin in the first OT, with Henrik Berg’s strike in the 94th minute nearly putting the match to bed.
  • Ciroi showed up in crunch time, notching three saves in the second OT.
  • Aleks Berg was turned away by Golden Eagles keeper Alvaro Unanua in the 105th minute, with Matty Cornish narrowly missing wide right following a relatively clean look in the 108th.
  • In penalty kicks, Ciroi stoned the first two he saw, as Pellio found the back of the net to give the Sharks the early edge.
  • However, the momentum would instantly shift, with NSU’s ensuing three attempts stopped before the Golden Eagles came away with the 3-1 penalty kick advantage.


  • The shot totals finished 19-10 in favor of the Sharks.
  • NSU also won the corner kick battle, 4-3.
  • Cornish and Pellio each registered a game-high four shots.


  • NSU closes the year with a record of 17-3-3, marking the program’s single-season record for wins.
  • The Sharks went unbeaten away from home, combining for a record of 11-0-1 in road and neutral-site games.

To stay up-to-date with the program, visit NSUSharks.com, or follow the Sharks on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_MSoccer.

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Henrik Berg Earns Elite 90 Award at Men’s Soccer Final Four

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Selected among the four programs competing at this week’s NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Championship, Nova Southeastern’s Henrik Berg has been recognized as the recipient of the Elite 90 award.

Berg is the first NSU student-athlete to receive the honor since former women’s basketball player Megan Piggott did so back in March of 2019.

A graduate student, Berg completed his bachelor’s degree in Management with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.96, and is now pursuing his graduate certificate in Finance.

The ELITE 90, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 90 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 90 championships.

Eligible student-athletes must be at least a sophomore academically and athletically in the sport for which they are being nominated, and in at least his or her second year (in any sport) at his or her current institution.

For more information on the Elite 90 award winners, click here.

Berg and the Sharks will look to continue their historical NCAA Tournament run when they square off against California State Los Angeles in the Final Four on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. For complete coverage, visit the schedule page on NSUSharks.com, follow the Sharks on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_MSoccer.

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Postseason Magic Continues, as Sharks Roll to Super Region 2 Title

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. –  And then there were four. Using three goals by three different players in the second half, including the break-through score by Alberto Rentero in the 54th minute, the seventh-seeded Nova Southeastern men’s soccer team continued its magical postseason run, cruising past Auburn Montgomery 3-1 to capture the NCAA Super Region 2 Championship. The Sharks will now advance to the Final Four in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Score: Nova Southeastern 3, Auburn Montgomery 1
Records: Nova Southeastern 17-3-2, Auburn Montgomery 11-5-4
Location: YHC Soccer and Lacrosse Field | Young Harris, Ga.  
Get Social: Twitter & Instagram – @NSU_MSoccer, Facebook – NSU Sharks Men’s Soccer 


  • The Sharks set the tone from the get-go, forcing pressure on the Warhawks backline just moments into the match.
  • The only problem, though, was that AUM keeper Alexander Kraus stood in the way. NSU outshot the Warhawks by a 13-2 margin in the first half, yet was held off the board.
  • Kraus made a finger-tip save in the 32nd minute on a shot attempt by Rentero, and then two more in the 34th minute on back-to-back shots by Nick Brisevac and Tobias Pellio.
  • With the Sharks already in control, momentum shifted even further in their favor in the 40th minute when AUM’s Arnaud Baron was whistled for his second yellow card of the match, resulting in a red card and an automatic ejection.
  • Held off the scoreboard in the opening 45 minutes despite numerous chances, NSU final cashed in in the 54th minute after Aleks Berg played a ball on the ground from right to left into the box, finding Rentero for the one-touch score.
  • Nearly four minutes later, a similar ball was played in, only this time its was Manuel Cukaj linking up with Manu Schwarz to give the Sharks a 2-0 advantage.
  • AUM caught NSU on its heels in the 63rd minute, slipping behind the Sharks defense to cut the margin in half.
  • The hero in NSU’s Sweet 16 victory on Thursday, Michael Lawrence put the finishing touches on Saturday;s match as well, taking a beautiful feed from Henrik Berg in the 76th minute and burying a right-footed strike into the back of the net.


  • NSU finished with a 23-6 advantage in shots, including 10-4 in shots on goal.
  • NSU keeper Alberto Ciroi recorded three saves in the effort, while AUM’s Kraus registered seven on the day.
  • The Sharks won the corner kick battle by a margin of 9-4.
  • A. Berg collected two assists, moving into a tie with H. Berg for the team lead with five.


  • Following Saturday’s win, the Sharks are now unbeaten in their last 13 matches, dating all the way back to Oct. 13.
  • Since the start of the SSC Tournament, NSU has outscored its opponents by a combined 17-5 margin.
  • Lawrence has scored four goals over the past five games.
  • Prior to this season, the Sharks had never even qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

The remaining field will be reseeded prior to next Thursday’s Final Four round. To stay up-to-date, and for coverage throughout the postseason, visit the schedule page on NSUSharks.com, or follow the Sharks on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_MSoccer.

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Man Down, No Problem! Sharks Overcome First-Half Red Card to Advance to Elite Eight

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. –  The Nova Southeastern men’s soccer team had been in the situation before, and handled business as such, overcoming a red card early in the 28th minute to defeat Chowan 1-0 Thursday to advance to the Elite Eight. Michael Lawrence recorded the game-winning goal in the 51st minute, setting the Sharks up with a date with either Auburn Montgomery or Young Harris on Saturday.

Score: Nova Southeastern 1, Chowan 0
Records: Nova Southeastern 16-3-2, Chowan 13-4-2
Location: YHC Soccer and Lacrosse Field | Young Harris, Ga.  
Get Social: Twitter & Instagram – @NSU_MSoccer, Facebook – NSU Sharks Men’s Soccer 

NSU will await the winner of top-seeded Young Harris and Auburn Montgomery with a chance to reach the Final Four. Kickoff is set for Saturday at 3 p.m. For complete coverage of the Elite Eight matchup, visit the schedule page on NSUSharks.com, or follow the Sharks on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_MSoccer.

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NSU Men’s Soccer Named South Region Staff of the Year

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – As a bi-product of guiding the program to its first very first Sweet 16, and NCAA Tournament for that matter, head coach Matt Watts and the Nova Southeastern men’s soccer staff has been recognized as the 2021 NCAA Division II South Region Staff of the Year, announced by United Soccer Coaches on Tuesday.

“We are humbled and honored to be recognized as Staff of the Year by our fellow talented coaches in the region,” said Watts. “We are lucky to coach such talented, hard-working players, who have gotten us to this point. This award really is a STAFF award. There are so many people that have been involved in the success of the program this season. Michael (Donald), Guiseppe (Weller), Dustin (Gatens), Logan (Polen), Rachel (Fineberg) and many others, thank you! Their dedication and work ethic has been incredible. Let’s keep this going!”

Since sitting at 5-3-1 following consecutive losses in early October, the Sharks have gone unbeaten in 11 straight matches to advance to this Thursday’s Sweet 16 matchup vs. Chowan in Young Harris, Ga. NSU ripped off three wins in a span of seven days, including back-to-back on the road at No. 2 Palm Beach Atlantic and No. 9 Tampa, capturing the program’s first Sunshine State Conference Tournament title to earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Selected as the No. 7 seed in Super Region II, the Sharks collected their first-ever NCAA Tournament victory with a 3-2 triumph over Coker before upsetting Palm Beach Atlantic on its home turf for the second time in 11 days to keep their magical postseason run alive.

The NSU staff will be recognized at the College Coaches Awards Ceremony at the United Soccer Coaches Convention on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022.

In addition, Watts and company have been placed on the ballot for United Soccer Coaches National Staff of the Year consideration within Division II.

For complete coverage of Thursday’s Sweet 16 contest, visit the schedule page on NSUSharks.com, or follow the Sharks on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_MSoccer.

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Arrieta, Cornish Earn D2CCA All-South Region Nods

JACKSON, Tenn. – In the midst of the program’s historic NCAA Tournament run, a pair of Nova Southeastern men’s soccer players have earned recognition by the Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA), as both Odei Arrieta and Matty Cornish have been named to the All-South Region second team.

Voting was conducted by the region’s sports information directors.

The team captain, Cornish has proven to be the leader of the Sharks in 2021, helping guide NSU all the way to the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history. Starting all 20 matches this fall, the forward has registered a team-high 10 goals to go along with a team high-tying four assists. Cornish had a stretch of five straight games with a goal during the regular season, and later added one in NSU’s Sunshine State Conference Tournament final win over Tampa, securing the tourney’s Most Outstanding Player award in the process.  

Slighted of any All-SSC awards, Arrieta cracks the All-South Region second team thanks to a notably strong season at left back for the Sharks. The Spaniard has started in 18 of the 19 matches in which he’s appeared, totaling one goal and four assists, two of which have come in postseason play. Arrieta ranks third on the team in minutes played with 1.617, and has been a huge factor in the Sharks’ seven clean sheets.

Tampa’s Omar Thali was selected as the D2CCA South Region Player of the Year.

The Sharks will head to Young Harris, Ga. next week, where they’ll square off against Chowan in the Sweet 16 on Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. For complete coverage of the action, visit the schedule page on NSUSharks.com, or follow the Sharks on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_MSoccer.

For a complete list of the D2CCA All-South Region teams, click here

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