The Jacksonville University men’s soccer team has gone through some major changes over the last few months. A total of 17 players have departed JU, including 10 seniors who played in their final game as a Dolphin, and there is a completely new coaching staff. Ryan Pratt was named head coach after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant at Virginia Commonwealth University. Pratt has stayed busy since being hired having signed 17 new players to join the team for the 2012 fall season.
“I'm very excited about our 2012 recruiting class,” said Pratt. “To be able to put together a class like this, with as much talent and depth as we have after arriving in the middle of February, is exciting. It's a testament to the hard work, not only our staff put in but everyone else involved with the recruitment of student-athletes here at JU. These players, as well as a few others we may add in the next few weeks, will be a fantastic first class for us as we begin the rebuilding of our program. All 17 are talented players who will have the ability to greatly impact our program. We are looking forward to welcoming each of these incoming student-athletes into the JU Athletics family.”
Hadi Alnaeemi – 5’11, 170, L.V. Berkner High School (Richardson, Tx.)
As a two year captain, Alnaeemi scored six goals and had eight assists in his senior season leading his team to the district championship and a #1 ranking in the state. For his efforts he was named first team all-district for two consecutive seasons.
Steven Danforth – 5’8, 150, Pedro Mendez High School (St. Augustine, Fl.)
Danforth was a standout at Pedro Mendez High School starting for all four years of his high school career. As a junior he was team captain and led the team to a district runner-up finish. In his senior season, Danforth recorded three assists and was named to the first team all-county and was honored with the Falcon Award (MVP).
Scott Hill, 6’2, 185, Miami Palmetto Senior High School (Miami, Fl.)
Hill provides the Dolphin coaches with versatility as he has experience playing every position throughout his four years of starting in high school. He was a member of the Cutler Ridge Soccer team and is now currently a member of the Kendall Soccer Coalition (US soccer development academy program). He has started every game at center back and is a major reason Kendall is making a push to win the Southeast Division Title this year.
Steven Rocca – 5’11, 165, Riverview High School (Sarasota, Fl.)
Rocca only played one year of high school soccer after coming to the United States from Berlin, Germany. In his senior season at Riverview High, Rocca led his team to a 12-3-3 record and was named defensive player of the year.
Umarkhon Ayupov – 5’11, 165, Flagler Palm Coast High School (Palm Coast, Fl.)
A four year starter, Ayupov was an integral part of a district championship and two runner-up finishes. He was named captain for both his junior and senior years. As a junior he led the team with an impressive 21 assists. He was the top goal scorer as a senior with 10 to go along with 15 assists.
Guilherme Brandao – 5’9, 155, Belhaven University (Jackson, Ms.)
Brandao is joining JU after spending the previous 2 seasons at Belhaven University. Prior to Belhaven, he was a three starter for his club team in Brazil (Goias Esporte Club) helping them to 3 straight state championships. While at Belhaven, he was a member of the all-freshman team and all-conference team in 2010 scoring 13 goals and adding 8 assists and in 2011 he was again named an all-conference selection adding 7 goals and 3 assists from the left defender position. He was a catalyst in Belhaven’s return to the NAIA national tournament as they made two consecutive appearances in the round of 16.
Alexi Cortez – 6’0, 165, Osceola High School (Largo, Fl.)
Cortez is set to join JU after being a four year letter winner and starter at the center mid/forward positions for the Osceola Warriors. He notched 21 goals in his high school career culminating with a nine goal, 12 assist senior season in which he received all-county honors and was named the team MVP. Cortez also was a member of the Tampa-Bay United club team.
Cody Emmerman – 5’8, 145, F.W. Springstead High School (Spring Hill, Fl.)
Emmerman was a four year starter for F.W. Springstead helping lead them to the 4-A district championship his senior season. He got off to a great start scoring nine goals and recording nine assists in only 11 games before a broken wrist derailed the rest of his season. Emmerman was named team captain and was given All-North Suncoast honors for the second consecutive year.
Garrett Garcia – 5’9, 160, Jesuit High School (Tampa, Fl.)
Garcia comes to Jacksonville as a four time district champion. His team won the district title every year he played culminating with a regional title in his senior season. Garcia was also a member of the Tampa Bay United soccer team.
Griffin Kelly – 5’11, 150, Creekside High School (St. Johns, Fl.)
A two year starter at Creekside High after spending his freshman and sophomore seasons at Selingsgrove (PA), Griffin Kelly is set to join the Dolphins for the upcoming season. As a junior he was the leading scorer for his team. He followed up that season with eight goals and seven assists to be named to the all-county soccer team. Kelly also was a member of the Jacksonville United Football Club that defeated the number one ranked team in the National League.
Ivo Lima – 5’9, 155, Braden River High School (Bradenton, Fl.)
Lima arrives in Jacksonville as a two sport athlete in high school at Braden River. Not only did he excel in soccer, but he was also a star cross-country runner. He set the school record in the 5k with an impressive time of 17:14. As a soccer player, Lima helped lead his team to the district finals for the first time in school history and was named team MVP.
Hector Vega – 6’0, 170, Mandarin High School (Jacksonville, Fl.)
Vega is joining JU after spending the previous season at the University of West Florida. Prior to his time there, Vega was a four year starter at Mandarin High here in Jacksonville. He was a three time all-gateway and all-conference honoree and also received all-state honors his senior season. Vega was also a member of the Jacksonville United Football Club.
Juan Manuel Arguedas – 5’8, 140, Lincoln School (San Jose, Costa Rica)
Hailing from Costa Rica, Arguedas is yet another player adding some international flavor to the Dolphin roster. A three year player and starter, Arguedas led his team in scoring in each season and was the team captain his senior year. He was selected to the AASCA Tournament All-Star Team his final season as well. Arguedas also played with Uruguay de Coronado where he started and was the team captain.
Nathan Dalton – 6’0, Land O’ Lakes High School (Land O’ Lakes, Fl.)
Dalton was a starter on a team that won four straight district title and was state runner up in Class 3A his senior year in which he was the captain. Accolades he received include first team all-north suncoast, first team sunshine athletic conference, 110% percent award, and the coaches’ award. As a member of the RSL-Tampa, Dalton helped lead the team to the Region III Premier League East championship in 2009, a USYSA Region 3 Championship, and a National runner up finish USYSA National Tournament. He was named to the 2009 USL all-tournament team. He subsequently joined the Clearwater Chargers program to compete in the US Soccer Development Academy in June of 2011.
Roshoir Elliott – 6’1, 175, Manatee High School (Ellington, Fl.)
Born in Jamaica, Elliot played high school soccer at Manatee High School. As a senior he scored nine goals and tallied eight assists en route to being named to the all-state team. Elliot also ran track where his team made it to states. He is a member of the Clearwater Chargers US Soccer Development Academy team.
Reneʹ Reyes – 6’0, 155, (Oslo, Norway)
Traveling across the Atlantic, Reyes will bring some international flavor to the Dolphins squad. Reyes spent his last season hat Bl Handelskøyskolen where his team won 22 matches in a row and won the league title.
Matheus Saroli – 5’11, 165, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fl.)
A transfer student from William Carey University, Saroli comes to the Dolphins with many accolades. Due to injury he sat out his first season at William Carey, but returned as a sophomore to score nine goals and two assists leading his team to the NAIA final four. He was named to the NAIA National Tournament first team and scored the second most goals in the tournament.