Valparaiso head men’s soccer coach Mike Avery announced today that seven players will join the Crusader program for the 2008 season.
“We are very excited that this talented group of players has accepted our invitation to join the Valparaiso soccer family,” said Avery. “Assistant coach Rick King and I sat down at the end of the 2007 season and drew up a list of characteristics that any recruit we pursued had to demonstrate, and each of these guys exceeded our expectations. We are still finalizing the details on a few additions to this class, but already with this group we are introducing today, we have put our team in a very good position to take another big step forward. I am proud of the tireless work that King is putting into this class; he is an excellent recruiter and we are very lucky to have him on our side.”
Garrison Draper is a 6’0” midfielder from Lake Geneva, Wis. An attacking midfield player out of the Red Star Soccer Club, Draper is a Wisconsin State ODP participant and a four-time All-Conference selection at Badger H.S. Garrison is a 2007 Valparaiso Soccer VIP alumnus.
“Garrison is a player I originally identified while at Louisville through a winter camp we held,” said Avery. “He came to our VIP last summer and confirmed my initial impressions. He is a very versatile attacking player, technical, and has a lot of physical potential. Most importantly, though, he is a great kid that is a very good fit for Valparaiso on the field and in the classroom.”
Nathan Fitzgerald is a 5’11” midfielder from Wichita Falls, Texas. A central midfield player out of the Andromeda Soccer Club, Fitzgerald is an All-State performer and team captain for the 2007 4-A Texas State Champions Rider H.S. Nathan is a 2007 Valparaiso Soccer VIP alumnus.
“Nathan was referred to me by Danny Coker, a former player from one of my first coaching jobs at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas,” said Avery. “Danny promised me that Nathan was a ‘can’t miss’ prospect and after seeing him in our VIP camp and with his Andromeda club, I think Danny is exactly right. Nathan is a very hard working midfielder. He is a ball winner, has a great engine, and is not afraid to do all of the little things that make a team successful.”
Daniel Jeftich is a 6’1” defender from Valparaiso, Ind. Jeftich comes to Valpo as a junior after playing for two years at IUPUI. Jeftich played midfield and defensive roles for the Jaguars, and brings some much-needed experience to a young Valparaiso squad. Prior to IUPUI, Jeftich led Valparaiso H.S. to the Indiana State Championship while playing for his father, former Valpo head coach Danny Jeftich.
“We are thrilled Daniel has come back home to join our program,” said Avery. “He started classes here in January and already is a great addition to our team. He sat out the 2007 season, so he does have some fitness work to do to get caught up, but his dedication to being a good player is easily seen. He gives us some much-needed experience and makes us a better team in possession. Our fans will also enjoy watching him in dead ball situations as he is very creative and accurate with his set pieces.”
Tyler Sellers is a 6’1” forward from Hutchinson, Kan. Sellers, who plays for the Wichita United Soccer Club and the Kansas ODP, earned First Team All-State honors and was named League MVP for Buhler H.S. after scoring 39 goals and dishing out 14 assists in 21 games as a senior. As a four-year letterwinner and two-time team captain, Sellers tallied 75 goals in his high school career. Tyler is a 2007 Valparaiso Soccer VIP alumnus.
“When we saw Tyler in the VIP last June, we knew we had discovered one of the few remaining secrets in the recruiting process,” said Avery. “He has good size, above-average pace and great instincts around the goal. Goal scoring is ultimately the name of the game, and Tyler has this gift. He has the potential to develop into a very dangerous striker at the college level.”
Chadd Sult is a 6’2” midfielder/defender from South Bend, Ind. An athletic defensive player out of the Indiana Invaders Soccer Club and the Indiana ODP, Sult earned four letters at John Adams H.S., twice earning All-Conference accolades and being named team MVP twice. Chadd is a 2007 Valparaiso Soccer VIP alumnus.
“We are very excited that Chadd has agreed to join us,” said Avery. “Coach King worked with him when he was coaching with the Indiana Invaders PDL team, and I have known Chadd for many years during my time at Notre Dame and working with the local soccer community of South Bend. We are getting a very good soccer player that is just hitting his stride. He is a great athlete, a very charismatic leader, has a great soccer brain, and has all the physical tools to develop into a phenomenal central defender in our system.”
Lenny Young is a 5’11” defender from Tuxedo Park, N.Y. A versatile attacking fullback from the FC Westchester club program, Young was selected as one of the top 16 players at the North American Finals for the USL Super Y League last December in Tampa, Fla. At Don Bosco Prep, Young was an All-County selection while leading his squad to the NNJIL championship in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
“Coach King identified Lenny late in the process at a tournament in Florida, and we could not be more pleased that Lenny has chosen Valparaiso,” said Avery. “Lenny is a very talented attacking fullback that will fit perfectly into our system. He can play comfortably on both the right and left side, which will enhance our overall depth in these wide areas, and is a very intelligent soccer player. He connects well, brings great service from the flanks, and has the engine required to get up and down the field.”
Kyle Zobeck is a 6’1” goalkeeper from Coralville, Iowa. Zobeck, who comes to the Crusaders from the CRSA Premier Black club side and the Iowa ODP program, was a key player in the goal for the Region II team and has gained high level experience with his regional team experience. At Iowa City H.S. West, Zobeck was named the First Team All-State goalkeeper as a junior and will look to repeat that honor in the upcoming spring Iowa high school soccer season. Kyle is a 2007 Valparaiso Soccer VIP alumnus.
“We landed a very good goalkeeper that was highly sought after when Kyle agreed to join us here at Valparaiso,” said Avery. “We first got to know Kyle at our camp last summer, and he has really come into his own lately, as evidenced by his outstanding performance with the region II team at the recent Disney Showcase in Orlando. There is no doubt Kyle is one of the top GK prospects in the country coming out this year. His addition gives us great depth at that position as we return the 2007 Horizon Goalkeeper of the Year in Ryan Schwarz, and I truly believe the competition between Ryan, Kyle, and red shirt freshman Anthony Silvestri will spur tremendous growth for all three of our goalkeepers.”
“These young men are not only very good soccer players, but they are outstanding students and leaders on their current teams,” concluded Avery. “As we continue to grow this program into one that competes for championships, we need to be spot on in our recruiting efforts, and I am very confident that in this group we are just that. It is also interesting to note that five of the seven announced were players that attended the 2007 VIP. The interaction that the VIP provided between these recruits and our program helped build a very strong bond. They caught a glimpse of the vision for this program during that week, and we are thrilled that they felt compelled to help us turn that vision into a reality.”