Men's Soccer Announces 2012 Recruiting Class
Eleven new faces, including one senior and 10 freshmen, will join the Lions' side in the fall of 2012.
Feb. 16, 2012
LOS ANGELES - Following the graduation of 11 seniors this spring, the Loyola Marymount University men's soccer team will be boosted by the addition of one senior transfer and 10 incoming freshmen for the 2012 season, head coach Paul Krumpe announced Thursday.
Thomas St. Germain, a transfer from Virginia Tech, enrolled at LMU in January and is currently training with the team. Joining St. Germain in the fall is the 2012 recruiting class comprised of forwards Pedro Velazquez and Akio Ohtake-Gordon, midfielders Daniel Dannas, Ryan Kretz, Jackson Criswell, Michael Meissner, Ian Parker and Leon Prikhodovskiy, defender Mark Dotseth and goalkeeper Paul Blanchette.
Excitement and optimism from the coaching staff surround the incoming class of Lions. "This group of players has some big shoes to fill," Krumpe said. "The seniors that departed had a significant impact on our program, but we expect that this group of young men will rise to the challenge of replacing them."
St. Germain (6'1", 185 lbs.) will add depth and experience to the goalkeeper position, and push incumbents Vince Paldino and Billy Thompson. A 2008 graduate of Mater Dei High School, St. Germain hails from Los Alamitos, Calif., and was a member of the Cypress Futbol Club.
Blanchette (6'4", 185 lbs.), a native of Palo Alto, Calif., joins the Lions from Gunn High School. He will join St. Germain, Paldino, and Thompson as a member of the Lion goalkeeper corps. He is a longtime member of the De Anza Force Academy at both the U-16 and U-18 level.
"Paul is an excellent goalkeeper and we are really excited to have him at LMU," associate head coach Mathes Mennell stated. "I think that he has an excellent chance to do great things for our program and become one of the top goalkeepers in the WCC."
Criswell (5'8", 155 lbs.) hails from San Carlos, Calif., and will be charged with the task of stepping into the left-sided midfield role. A two-time all league standout for Carlmont High School and team captain in 2011 and 2012, Criswell also plays for the MP Strikers whom he led to the Cal North State quarterfinals.
"Jackson is a crafty left footed midfielder," stated assistant coach Michael Erush. "He has great quickness and is extremely adept at attacking players 1v1."
Dannas (6'1", 180 lbs) comes to the Bluff from Thousand Oaks, Calif., where he was a four-year letterwinner and two-year captain at Thousand Oaks High School. An athletic and versatile player, he will be expected to bring energy and production to the Lions' attack. At the club level, he plays for the Real So Cal U-18 of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
"Daniel is a very strong and athletic player," said Krumpe. " He can play in a bunch of places and he will add great depth to our team."
Dotseth (6'2", 185 lbs), a native of Colorado Springs, Colo., will be counted on to fill into the central defense role. A four-year starter, Dotseth served as team captain and earned All State honors at Air Academy High School in 2010 and 2011. He was also named the 2011 Colorado Player of the Year and was an NSCAA High School All-American in 2011. Dotseth is the team captain of the Real Colorado U-18 team, which qualified for the United States Soccer Development Academy playoffs in 2011.
"Mark is a very good central defender and is very adept at defending players in 1v1 situations," Krumpe said. "He is very strong in the air and does very well on set pieces. I am really excited to add him to our team and expect he will make an immediate impact."
Kretz (6'0", 170 lbs.) from San Diego, Calif., will be charged with the task of stepping in and becoming a key defensive midfielder. Kretz served as team captain and earned all league honors at Francis Parker High School. Kretz is a longtime member of the San Diego Surf Soccer Club, which is a member of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
"Ryan is a player with a ton of potential and has a great chance to be one of the best defensive midfielders we have had in a long time," Krumpe said. "He has great size and is extremely athletic. He is comfortable on the ball and has the ability to pass the ball into tight spaces. Ryan will be very good in our midfield scheme."
Meissner (5'11", 160 lbs) hails from Palos Verdes, Calif., where he attended Palos Verdes High School and was named the 2011 Bay League Player of the Year.
"Michael is a very versatile and talented attacking player," said Krumpe. "He is one of the top players in the South Bay, which is an area that has produced some of our best players. I expect him to be able to contribute in our midfield in a variety of positions."
Ohtake-Gordon (5'10", 160 lbs.) from Golden, Colo., is a winger from Wheat Ridge High School where he earned All-State honors in 2009, 2010, and 2011. In 2011, he set the all-time scoring record at Wheat Ridge in only three years of playing high school soccer. Ohtake-Gordon also plays for the Colorado Rush U-18 team, which plays in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
When asked about the impact of Ohtake-Gordon, Mennell stated, "Akio is an out-and-out winger. He is really good on the edge and does very well playing on the left and the right. I am not sure we have ever had a player that is built for attacking play on the flank like Akio is."
Parker (6'3", 170 lbs), from Pueblo, Colo., is a versatile, left-sided midfielder/defender. He prepped at Centennial High School, where he was named as an All-State selection in 2011 and played his club ball for the renowned Real Colorado U-18 Academy team, with fellow 2012 Lion Dotseth.
"Ian brings a very wide range of abilities to our team," said Krumpe. "He has all the tools needed to succeed as a midfielder or a left back at this level. He is comfortable on the ball going forward, especially in wide spots. His versatility will provide him with the opportunity to play from day one."
Prikhodovskiy (5'9", 160 lbs) come to LMU from Escondido, Calif., where he was a high school standout at San Pasqual High School. He will be looked at to provide point production from the attacking midfield position. An All-CIF selection, Prikhodovskiy led his team to a 2010 CIF title, and to second place finish in the 2011 CIF Division I Championships. He is a current member of the San Diego Surf U-18 team along with fellow new Lion, Ryan Kretz.
"Leon is going to be a really interesting attacking player in the WCC," said Erush of Prikhodovskiy's impact. "He is left footed, tenacious and has a real desire to get into the attacking third. I think that he has some really unique and special abilities that will be important for us."
Velazquez (5'10", 165 lbs), from Wilmington, Calif., was four-year letterwinner and three-time all league selection at Banning High School. Regarded as one of the best local talents in years, Velazquez will bring pure foot speed and an ability to stretch defenses to the Lions' back line. He was named the 2011 Daily Breeze Player of the Year. Velazquez played for both the Chivas USA and L.A. Galaxy Academy teams as a youth player.
"Pedro is the closest thing I have seen to LMU Athletics Hall of Famer Arturo Torres," Krumpe said. "Like Arturo, he is very fast, both with and without the ball. He passes extremely well, but most importantly he scores goals and lots of them. At the end of the day, I think he has a chance to be phenomenal.
"Altogether, these young men make up a class that will be charged with carrying our program forward in 2012," Krumpe said. "I am looking forward to their contributions this fall and beyond. My goals for this program are simple and straightforward. We expect to challenge for a spot in the NCAA College Cup in 2012, but our top priority is reclaiming the WCC title."