Valparaiso University men’s soccer head coach, Mike Avery, and his staff, announced today a very promising recruiting class set to join the Crusaders in 2014. Coach Avery welcomes eight new additions to his current squad. The 2014 class is compiled of student-athletes from four states and three different countries and is well balanced with two defenders, three midfielders and three forwards.
Andrew Avram (Scottsdale, Arizona), Chris Clemens (Angola, Indiana), Bernard Gamamou (Guinea, Africa), Jordan James (Hellshire, Jamaica), Jacob Keck (Topeka, Kansas), Stian Sandbekkhaug (Frisco, Texas), John Ward (Chesterton, Indiana) and Keano Williams (Lucea, Jamaica) will all join Valpo this coming August.
Avery on 2014 class: “This is a talented group of young men, and we are very happy to welcome them to the Valpo soccer family. Each player brings a unique set of experiences and talents, and we feel like they will not only complement our core group of returning players, but will also add to us and help our program grow. I have to give special credit to my assistants, Kelly Altman and Brendan Roth, for their work in securing this group, and for finding young men that are not only good soccer players, but even more importantly, are a great fit for the culture of our team and Valparaiso University.”
Full name: Andrew Avram
Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona
Weight: 140 lbs.
Previous School: Saguaro High School
Club Team: SC Del Sol/Real Salt Lake USSDA
Avery on Avram: “Andrew is a fun player to watch. He is very clean technically, has a high soccer IQ, and has a great engine. He covers a lot of ground, makes smart decisions on the ball, and is an integral part of every possession as his team builds. Andrew reminds me a lot as a player of our current captain, Zev Taublieb, which in our locker room is a pretty high compliment.”
Full name: Christopher Clemens
Hometown: Angola, Indiana
Weight: 175 lbs.
Previous School: Angola High School
Club Team: Indiana Invaders
Avery on Clemens: “I have a long history with Christopher as his father, Larry, and I were teammates a long time ago. Christopher is a big and strong athlete, and is somewhat of a dying breed in that he is a talented multi-sport high school athlete. I believe that Christopher will really blossom as he starts to focus full time on soccer, and as he trains daily in the highly competitive environment that we provide. Christopher has been a regular over the years at our VIP camps, and every time we see him we see noticeable improvement. He is a great athlete and he is trending in the right direction as a soccer player. I know he will put in the work necessary to make an impact here, and he is a welcome addition to the squad.”
Full name: Bernard Gamamou
Hometown: Conakry, Guinea / Moline, Illinois
Weight: 175 lbs.
Previous School: Moline HS / University of Iowa
Club Team: Moline Independent
Avery on Gamamou: “Bernard is an exceptional athlete that has a tremendous blend of speed and strength. Bernard can play high and be a threat to get behind defenses, but he can also play deeper in the midfield as he passes and connects well. Bernard’s older brother, Henry, was on our roster a few years ago before deciding to concentrate on his academics, and we know from that relationship with the Gamamou family that in Bernard we are getting a young man from an exceptional family. ”
Full name: Jordan James
Hometown: Hellshire, Jamaica
Position: Attacking MF/F
Weight: 140 lbs.
Previous School: Wolmer’s Boys’ School
Club Team: Cavaliers Soccer Club
Avery on James: “Adding quality to the attack was the priority for this recruiting class, and Jordan James certainly has the potential to do that. He has lightning pace, is strong on the ball, and can finish. As he adapts to the college game, I am confident that Jordan will be a real handful for our opponents to try to keep in check. Jordan has the reputation currently as being one of the best young strikers in Jamaica, which is consistent with what we saw, and he will have a real opportunity here to showcase his talents.”
Full name: Jacob Keck
Hometown: Topeka, Kansas
Weight: 170 lbs.
Previous School: Hayden Catholic High School
Club Team: Topeka Select Arsenal
Avery on Keck: “Jacob came to us relatively late in the recruiting process, and we were very excited once we saw him at our VIP camp in January. Jacob is a versatile player that will add depth to a variety of positions. He has a good soccer brain and makes good decisions on the ball, and he has the athleticism and technique to accomplish what he decides to do with the ball. Guys that are soccer-junkies, and that live and breathe the game – these are the ones that typically excel here, and Jacob fits that mold.”
Full name: Stian Sandbekkhaug
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Weight: 160 lbs.
Previous School: Frisco Liberty High School
Club Team: FC Dallas
Avery on Sandbekkhaug: “We have followed Stian closely over the past few years, and we are very excited that he has decided to attend. In Stian we are adding another option up front that has the capability of doing all the things we ask out of that position, first and foremost being to score goals. Stian is an experienced player that opted out of the FC Dallas Academy side to participate in high school soccer, and he certainly has the quality you’d expect from such a talent rich area of the country.”
Full name: John D. Ward III
Hometown: Chesterton, Indiana
Weight: 150 lbs.
Previous School: Chesterton High School
Club Team: Millennium Vardar
Avery on Ward: “It is always great to add local players to your roster, and in John Ward I believe we got one of this year’s very best from NW Indiana. John has been to a number of our VIP camps, and every time we see him, you can see the growth and development that he is experiencing. As good as John has been to this point, there is no question that his best years are in front of him. John understands Valparaiso University, his father JD Ward is a professor in the College of Business, and he blends perfectly into the culture of our team.”
Full name: Keano Alrick Williams
Hometown: Lucea, Jamaica
Position: Attacking MF
Weight: 180 lbs.
Previous School: St. Elizabeth Technical High School
Club Team: Wadadah FC
Avery on Williams: “In Keano we are getting a real attacking talent. He is a clean technical player that can play in the middle of the field or up top, and he possesses some special athletic qualities that make for a very interesting mix. Keano has had some time in a very strong Jamaican youth national program, and the combination of his experience and his potential make him another exciting addition to the squad. We’ve long been a very organized defensive side that has been difficult to break down, but we haven’t scored enough goals. We think Keano will help us address that.”