Jared Embick is not new to recruiting for the University of Akron men’s soccer team. This is just the first time that he is the man in charge.
The Zips added nine players who will be freshmen, and a college transfer in Embick’s first class as head coach.
Robby Dambrot and Riley Grant are from Northeast Ohio. The others are midfielder Clint Caso, defender Louis Cross, goalkeeper Jonny DeMoya, defender Brett Gravatt, midfielder Adam Najem, midfielder Tyler Sanda, striker Ismail Seremba and midfielder Victor Souto.
Embick was the Zips’ top assistant and recruiting coordinator for the past six seasons under coach Caleb Porter.
“For me it doesn’t feel a whole lot different because I was so involved as an assistant,” Embick said Monday. “I was as excited then as an assistant as I am now as the head coach. This is a good group of players. We will probably have another one or two additions that have not been finalized.”
Embick wanted players that fit his style of play.
“We feel we have put together a strong class that enhances the quality and depth of our team,” Embick said. “It is important that our players have the ability to play the Akron way and we feel we have done a great job of identifying talented players who will adapt quickly to our system. All these players are technically gifted and have a high soccer IQ and we are confident they will help continue the success and tradition of Akron soccer.”
Embick said he wants to continue the technical style and philosophy of recent Zips teams that relied on skill and speed, and also mix in players who offer a physical presence.
Dambrot and Grant played for the Internationals Soccer Club as seniors.
Dambrot, an Akron native, played three seasons at St. Vincent-St. Mary. He helped the Irish to two Division II district finals as a sophomore and junior, and totaled 15 goals and 26 assists in three seasons. He was a member of seven state cup youth championship teams from 2006-2012 and is the son of Keith Dambrot, the Zips men’s basketball coach, and his wife, Donna.
Grant led Copley to Division I district and regional championships, and the state semifinals as a junior with 16 goals and eight assists. He played on three state cup youth championship teams from 2010-2012.
Grant is a four-star recruit according to Top Drawer Soccer and Dambrot is a three-star recruit. Najem and Sanda are both All-American selections.
Najem is the No. 1-ranked recruit in the state of New Jersey and No. 7 midfielder in the country, according to Top Drawer Soccer. He is a five-star recruit, a member of the U.S. U-18 National Team player pool and the New York Red Bulls Academy of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. He also led his U-16 Academy team to a national title in 2012.
Sanda is from North Royalton and attends Cleveland St. Ignatius. He is a four-star recruit by Top Drawer Soccer and was named Ohio’s Division I co-Player of the Year in 2012. He finished his high school career with 29 goals and 19 assists.
DeMoya, of Olney, Md., and Gravatt, of Dunn Loring, Va., are three-star recruits.
Caso, a University of New Hampshire transfer, was a two-time first-team All-New Jersey honoree at St. Benedict Preparatory. He led the school to three state prep titles in a row.
Seremba (London) and Cross (Lancashire) are both from England, and Souto is a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil.