University of Akron men’s soccer coach Jared Embick announced Monday that English forward Sam Gainford has signed a national letter of intent to play for the Zips in 2013.
Gainford, who is from Whitehaven, England, has trained at Liverpool Academy since age 10 and was a member of the club’s Under-18 team where he played forward and attacking midfielder. He also played in several NextGen Series games for Liverpool U-21.
Gainford will have four years of eligibility at UA and is the 11th new player to join the Zips in the offseason.
The Zips’ original 10-player signing class was announced in May. It included midfielder Clint Caso, defender Louis Cross, midfielder-defender Robby Dambrot, goalkeeper Jonny DeMoya, forward Riley Grant, defender Brett Gravatt, midfielder Adam Najem, midfielder Tyler Sanda, forward Ismail Seremba and midfielder Victor Souto.
Gainford is the third English recruit added by Embick for this season. Cross, a native of Lancashire, is a product of Blackpool FC Academy, and Seremba, who is from London, comes from Chelsea Academy.
UA swept the Mid-American Conference regular-season and tournament titles for the fifth time in six years last season under former coach Caleb Porter, and the Zips advanced to the NCAA Tournament Round of 16 for the fifth year in a row. Porter, now the coach of the Portland Timbers in Major League Soccer, guided the Zips to the 2010 national title.
UA will return nine letterwinners and five starters; seniors Reinaldo Brenes, Aodhan Quinn, Eric Stevenson and Robbie Derschang and junior Bryan Gallego.
Senior Zac Portillos, junior Saad Abdul-Salaam and sophomores Andrew Souders, Phil Fives and Matt Foldesy also logged minutes for the Zips last season.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.