Feb. 13, 2012
SAN DIEGO - San Diego State men's soccer head coach Lev Kirshner has announced a seven-member recruiting class, including a college transfer and six high school standouts.
The accolades of the seven-player class include, but not limited to, two United States Under-17 National Team members, a U.S. U-20 player, a two-time youth All-American, five academy players, numerous player of the year award winners, as well as multiple starters on regional ODP teams.
Kirshner's Aztecs have attained top-40 recruit rankings in five of the past six years, including top-30 marks on four occasions. College Soccer News had SDSU's group at No. 39, while subsequent classes were ranked No. 17 in 2006 and No. 19 in 2007. The 2009 class was ranked 22nd by the website, while the past two classes have been 29th (2010) and 35th (2011). This year's class, which features three midfielders, two defenders, one forward and one goalkeeper, looks to add to the recent successful recruiting efforts of Kirshner and his staff.
"We feel fortunate that our Aztec soccer program was able to assemble yet another top class, as we had so little to work with regarding our small graduation group four seniors," Kirshner said. "We have significantly increased the talent pool to an already very talented team; include two-time high school All-American Kevin Bick and a healthy Tyrone Martin and this group is poised for great success."
A defender, Julio Alarcon (5-11, 165) comes to Montezuma Road after starring for the Real Salt Lake USSF Academy (Ariz.) and Bel Air High School in El Paso, Texas. A member of the U.S. U-17 National Team, Alarcon was picked as a U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) "Starting XI" last summer. In 2010, Alarcon was the district MVP and the city MVP during his high school career.
A defender, Jimmy Estrada (5-10, 160) continues San Diego State's tradition of keeping the best players in San Diego County as he joins the Aztecs from Hilltop High School in Chula Vista, Calif. A four-year starter with the Lancers, Estrada was chosen as the Mesa League Player of the Year and CIF Division II Player of the Year in 2011. So far this season, Estrada has 42 points on 10 goals and 22 assists for Hilltop, a year after recording 33 points on eight goals and 17 assists. Over the last two years, Estrada has led the Lancers to a 39-6-4 (.837) record.
A forward, Daniel Flores (5-11, 175) is a heralded recruit out of Fresno, Calif., who played his club ball with the California Odyssey USSF Academy. A U.S. U-17 National Team residency member, Flores is rated as the 27th-best recruit by Top Drawer Soccer and the 31st-best recruit by College Soccer News. Additionally, Flores was listed as a four-star recruit by Top Drawer Soccer. At Bullard High School Flores was a two-time NSCAA Youth All-American in 2010 and 2011.
A midfielder, Travis Nicklaw (6-1, 175) is another local prospect out of University City HS in San Diego who also starred for the Notts Forest Club team. A three-star recruit by Top Drawer Soccer, Nicklaw has led the Centurions to a 15-1-2 (.889) record so far this season. Last year, Nicklaw had 18 points on seven goals and 11 assists and helped University City to the CIF Championship title. Nicklaw is also regarded as one of the top kickers in San Diego County and is a highly-rated football prospect.
A midfielder, Aaron Thompson (5-6, 140) is from Lakewood, Calif. Thompson has excelled as a member of the San Gabriel Soccer Club and as a four-year starter for Mayfair High School. A three-star recruit by Top Drawer Soccer, Thompson has eight goals and six assists for 22 points this season as Mayfair is 15-7-2. Last year, Thompson was an all-CIF selection and an all-Suburban League pick.
A goalkeeper, Keenan Townsend (6-1, 175) comes to Montezuma Road from Vancouver, Wash., where he played with the Seattle Sounders USSF Academy and Skyview High School. A starter with the Washington ODP squad and three-star recruit by Top Drawer Soccer, Townsend is a two-time all-Greater St. Helen's League player and 2011 Player of the Year. Additionally, Townsend was a member of the 2011 all-state team.
A midfielder, Blake Wise (5-8, 150) is the lone transfer in this year's class, coming to San Diego State from national power Indiana, where he was an Academic All-Big Ten selection last season. Wise played two years with the Hoosiers, battling injuries to play in 15 matches and contributing three goals and an assist for seven points. Wise also played with the U.S.-20 National Team and played his club ball with the Dallas Texans USSF Academy. In high school, Wise led Prestonwood Christian Academy to the state championships, as well as regional and district titles. Coming out of high school, Wise was ranked 30th in the nation and fourth in the state of Texas by Top Drawer Soccer.
The seven players will be important additions to the 2012 Aztec squad, who are scheduled to play a preseason friendly against New Mexico before traveling to Indiana and Notre Dame later on in the regular season. SDSU is also slated to play host to Ohio State and Houston Baptist in the fifth annual Courtyard Marriott San Diego Central Tournament. The Pac-12 Conference figures to be strong once again with UCLA making the 2011 College Cup (final four), a year after the Bruins and California were quarterfinalists in 2010.
San Diego State finished 10-6-3 last year for its first back-to-back double-digit win seasons since 1991-92.