Feb. 11, 2009
Los Angeles - The Loyola Marymount University men's soccer team has added two more players to its recruiting class for the fall of 2009, Head Coach Paul Krumpe announced Friday. The addition of Chris Hamano and Sean Sears brings the total number of incoming freshmen to eight, after the Lions signed Chris Bernardi, John Ikard, John LaCouture, David Kucera, James Rochlitz, and Billy Thompson to National Letters of Intent earlier in February.
"Sean and Chris are going to be great additions to our program," Associate Head Coach Mathes Mennell said. "They come from Marin Academy, a place where the environment is exceptional both on and off the field. We expect them, along with our other six newcomers, to help us achieve our goal of winning the WCC in 2009."
Both Hamano and Sears come to LMU from Marin Academy, the same school that produced current Lion Kyle Johanson. The duo helped Marin to a 16-2-5 record in 2008, winning the Bay Counties League (BCL) and North Coast Section (NCS) championships for the third straight season. In 2006, Marin reached the top ranking in the region and seventh nationally.
Hamano (5-10, 160 lbs) is a two-time First Team All-BCL selection, having scored 14 goals in 2008 as a forward and 11 goals in 2007 as a defender. Playing for Mustang Soccer Academy, Hamano won the regional championship in 2005 and placed third at nationals in 2006. He is also a member of the ODP Nor-Cal State team, attending the regional camp in 2005, 2006, and 2007.
"Chris is a very athletic player," Assistant Coach Michael Erush said. "He has great speed, strength, and bite. He is very versatile: we plan to utilize him primarily as a forward but we could see him as a right back or wide midfielder as well."
Sears (6-1, 155 lbs) has seen personal success himself. A First Team All-BCL selection in 2007 and 2008, he was named the Marin Academy Most Valuable Player as a senior. Sears was a club teammate of Johanson's at Marin FC, winning the 2007 Surf Cup Thanksgiving Championship, then taking the 2008 Surf Cup Spring title.
"Sean is a very talented player who will do very well here at LMU," Krumpe said. "He has exceptional vision and is very creative with the ball. He also possesses good size and pace. I think he will be especially good for our attack as a wide or attacking midfielder."
"Our main focus of this recruiting class has been to replace the types of players we lost to graduation and to also bolster our current roster in some key areas," said Lions Head Coach Paul Krumpe. "Last season we created some very good momentum for our program and these players will help us build on our strong finish to the 2008 campaign. We have added a crafty type of midfielder to offset the loss of Brad Stisser, a target forward who will replace the physical presence that Jawaan Delaney possessed, two versatile athletic defenders to replace Stephen Carlson, a tough, ball winning midfielder who will fill the shoes of Greg Ricks, and a talented young goalkeeper to compete for the spot vacated by Patrick Lane's summer move to the Belgian First Division."
The graduation of Brad Stisser has left a hole that will be filled by Chris Bernardi. Bernardi (5-7, 145 lbs) from Livermore, California, prepped at national powerhouse De La Salle High School and played his club ball for the U.S. Development Academy Mustang FC U-18 team. He led De La Salle to a national top-20 ranking in 2008 and was named to the USL's Super Y All League Team in 2007-2008.
"Chris is a player who comes from a great soccer family; his dad played for the New York Cosmos of the NASL, and Chris has really done well for both De La Salle and Mustang FC. I expect him to really push our attacking players for a spot in our first eleven right from the get go," said Krumpe.
John Ikard (6-4, 180 lbs) from Littleton, Colorado will be charged with task of stepping into the role vacated by Jawaan Delaney. Ikard served as team captain at Heritage High School, where he garnered All-Conference and All-State honors.
"John Ikard is a forward who has great speed and size, two qualities which are always in demand in the WCC. He is a player who will become very dangerous for our team up front," said Krumpe.
The first of two defenders that will backfill for the stalwart Carlson will be John LaCouture (5-11, 170 lbs), a defender hailing from Greenwood Village, Colorado. He was a three-time All-Conference selection at Cherry Creek High School and was a high school teammate of current Lion Alex Greenman. He also was a member of the Colorado ODP Program and Region IV ODP from 2005-2007.
Both Ikard and LaCouture were members of Real Colorado in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy system, taking the U-16 team to a fourth place finish in the Western Region and a fourth place finish nationally in 2008.
On LaCouture, LMU Assistant Coach Michael Erush stated, "John is a steady and very hard working defender who will be effective in a variety of systems of play. He has a great sense of the game and will be in the mix for our first group, primarily at left back."
David Kucera (6-3, 185 lbs) will also provide cover for the loss of Carlson. A native of Cupertino, California, Kucera was an All-League selection and the Defensive MVP at Monta Vista High School. On the club circuit, he played for the DeAnza Force U-18 team, a member of the U.S. Development Academy program.
"David Kucera brings great size and speed to LMU as a center back. He is very strong in the air and we expect him to be very effective in both attacking and defensive set pieces. The fact that he is left-footed is a great bonus," said Krumpe.
The steel in the midfield that will be departing due to the graduation of the hard-tackling Ricks will be by supplied James Rochlitz (5-8, 165 lbs), a defensive midfielder from Torrance, California. Rochlitz starred at local power West Torrance High School and will follow in the footsteps of former Warrior standouts Andrew Kristof and Tyler Krumpe as a member of the LMU Soccer Family. He currently plays for the LA Galaxy Youth Academy U-18 team, which is a current member of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Program. The highly-decorated Rochlitz helped lead his Real SoCal/SoCal United Club Team to the USYSA National Championship in 2006 and the 2007. A long time member of the Cal South 91 ODP team, he served as team captain from 2004-2007, leading the team to Region IV ODP Championships in 2006, 2007, and to a runner-up finish in 2008 at the National ODP Championships. He also was a member of the 1991 Region IV ODP team from 2004-2007 and was called into camp with the U-14 and U-15 National Team.
In assessing the impact of Rochlitz, Krumpe stated, "James is a powerful ball winner who we are anxious to see in a LMU uniform in 2009. James has been on our radar for a long time and I really think he is going to be great in our midfield scheme."
Patrick Lane's decision to join Cercle Brugge in August provided the Lions the opportunity to sign goalkeeper Billy Thompson (6-5, 185 lbs), from Laguna Nigel, California. Thompson's path to LMU mirrors Lane's as he also starred at national power Santa Margarita Catholic High School and will follow in the footsteps of former Eagles and current Lions Roger Downes and Steffen Canty as a member of the LMU Soccer Family. A mainstay for the Eagles, he played a key role in leading Santa Margarita to CIF-SS Division I Championships in 2007 and 2008. Thompson's stellar play in goal also helped Santa Margarita to the 2008 Division II SoCal CIF Regional State Championship. Like Rochlitz, Thompson is a member of the Los Angeles Galaxy Development Academy U-18 team.
"Billy is a very good goalkeeper. With his addition, our goalkeeping corps of Pat Sampson, Jack McCormack, and Max Young is as good as we have ever had here at LMU. We look forward to his development, and think that he will one day be a star in the WCC at his position," said Associate Head Coach Mathes Mennell.
When asked about the impact he hopes this 2009 recruiting class will have, Krumpe said, "These young men make up a class that targets the needs that were created by graduation in 2008. They will be able to mesh immediately with our core group of players who are already on campus. Our goal in 2009 is pretty simple and straightforward. We want to win the WCC Championship. This class will be instrumental in achieving this goal."
- GO LIONS -