The University of Akron men's soccer team started to reload Tuesday with the addition of nine players for 2011.
Zips coach Caleb Porter announced that Wil Trapp, Bryan Gallego, DeAndre Yedlin, Diego Navarrete, Luke Holmes, Kayvon Afsarifard, Kyle Culbertson, Andy Chiu and David Murrow have signed with UA.
‘‘It is a very deep class,’’ Porter said. ‘‘This, honestly talent-wise, ranks up there with the best that we have put together.’’
UA, which won the 2010 NCAA national title in December, had seven players selected in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft in January. Six of the nine recruits have earned All-America status.
‘‘With the departure of seven starting players and five underclassmen, we certainly had some major holes to fill,’’ Porter said.
‘‘However, I am confident that this group will help us maintain our standard of excellence on and off the field. This class offers a mix of very talented and experienced freshman, who have played at the youth international level, as well as some transfers and international players, who will bring much needed maturity to the group.’’
Trapp, Gallego, Yedlin, Navarrete, Culbertson, Chiu and Murrow will be freshmen.
Trapp earned the 2010 NSCAA National High School Player of the Year as a midfielder at Gahanna Lincoln in Ohio.
Yedlin is from Seattle, Wash., and Gallego is from Kinnelon, N.J. Both are defenders.
Trapp (fifth), Yedlin (seventh) and Gallego (10th) are each nationally ranked by Top Drawer Soccer.
Holmes, the 2010 NAIA Player of the Year, is a transfer from Notre Dame College in South Euclid. The native of Oldham, England, has one year of eligibility remaining after having 70 goals and 25 assists in three years as a Falcons midfielder/forward.
Afsarifard, a defender, is a transfer from Loyola University in Chicago. He stared at St. Ignatius in Cleveland and has three years of eligibility left.
Navarrete is a striker from Santiago, Chile. He scored 35 goals in 30 games over the past two seasons.
‘‘When you build a team, having a variety of pieces and the right types of players is very important,’’ Porter said. ‘‘Each of these young men were identified because they fit our style of play and also because they bring something a little different to the table. Due to losing so many underclassmen early, we also needed to be very diligent to remain a balanced team with quality options at every position.’’
Culbertson (Olentangy) and Murrow (Strongsville) are also from Ohio. Chiu is from El Paso, Tex.
‘‘We will still look to add one, maybe two more recruits as the spring progresses; most likely coming from overseas.’’ Porter said. ‘‘Regardless, I expect several of these newcomers to step in immediately. Combine that with an experienced group of returning players, and our expectation is to hopefully be competing again for a national championship next fall.’’
In other news, Porter said he ‘‘went back the next day’’ to his normal hairstyle after former Zips standouts sprayed a streak of green dye down the middle of his head at the national championship celebration last month. His suit was also salvaged after a visit to the dry cleaner.
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