May 9, 2003
Tallahassee, FL - For the second time in three seasons Florida State head coach Patrick Baker has brought a Top 10 recruiting class to Tallahassee. Two years ago he landed the nation's eighth-best group according to Soccer Buzz in a class that featured two freshmen All-Americans in Camie Bybee and Katie Beal and three All-ACC rookie team members. This year his class was named the 10th-best in the nation by Soccer America marking the first time a Florida State recruiting class has been ranked by the prestigious soccer publication.
"We are very excited about the ranking. We work very hard to improve our team through development and recruiting and for a publication like Soccer America to feel that good about our group is quite rewarding," said Baker. "We want to recruit consistently and win consistently and recruiting is crucial. It is a large part of our jobs as college coaches. We feel fortunate to be able to attract another top class to Florida State.
"I always remind myself though that a lot of teams appear in national publications but for whatever reason they don't have great success. As long as we can continue to bring in talented recruiting classes and represent our conference and school in the NCAA Tournament and advance to Sweet 16's I think that is the most important thing. This group should help us continue that."
Florida State's 2003 class features two U-19 national pool players and four regional Olympic Development Program (ODP) players. For the second straight year Baker will bring in a player from California and the state's top senior as well as one of the top players from the state of Colorado. The class also includes two regional ODP players from Pennsylvania.
"We feel like this class fulfills a lot of needs like our 2001 class but is also extremely talented and we hope the can continue the traditions we have established over the last few years" said Baker. "We think on paper this class is comparable to the top classes in the country.
"There are a lot of talented attacking players in this class and some very creative central midfielders. Throughout this class there is a level of athleticism, speed and versatility that is going to earmark this class as being different from the rest. Four or five of the seven will be starting or challenging very early on for a starting spot. The rest will challenge for time all season. It has been a while since we had a class like that."
Since arriving at Florida State in 1999, Baker's recruiting efforts have revitalized the program, which has been to the Sweet 16 twice in the last three seasons and has made the NCAA Tournament three years in a row. Baker has landed four Gatorade Players of the Year in his five recruiting classes and four of his classes have been ranked in the top 25 including three in the top 12 in the nation. The Seminoles have played for the ACC title and been to the conference semi-finals in two of the last three years. In just three seasons, Baker's teams have recorded wins over 10 ranked teams including No. 3 North Carolina, No. 7 Texas A&M, No. 10 Florida and No. 9 Clemson.
For more information on the Florida State soccer program and profiles of the 2003 recruiting class, please log onto the official athletic website for Florida State University at www.seminoles.com.