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Malcolm Jones, Defender, LA Galaxy
IMG Academy Top 150: #6
The UCLA coaching staff is well known for their recruiting prowess, but they did not have to work too hard for Malcolm Jones.
The 16-year-old from Ruben S. Ayala High School is a Bruin through and through.
“As of recent, I’ve liked [UCLA] a lot,” Jones told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “Even going back to Jackie Robinson, he is an inspiration so I’ve always kind of liked UCLA.”
The U.S. U18 Men’s National Team defender stays local with his commitment, as the UCLA campus is only 48 miles west of his hometown of Chino Hills.
“I like the location, it’s close to home,” Jones said. “The soccer team has a great history and the school has a great history so that is part of the reason I picked UCLA.”
Jones is the third 2015 recruit to give a verbal commitment to the Bruins, as U.S. youth internationals David Villegas and Pablo Pelaez are already on board with the Pac-12 squad as well.
Jeffrey Rhodes, Midfielder, Indiana Fire Academy
IMG Academy 150: #81
Commitment: San Diego State
An attack-minded midfielder, Jeffrey Rhodes came away impressed by SDSU head coach Lev Kirshner and the rest of his staff, a strong reason for making his commitment to the SoCal program.
Along with that, the area drew him in, and a visit to see the team in action helped seal the deal.
“I got the opportunity to watch the team play and train on my visit to San Diego State,” Rhodes told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “I noticed that the players work hard on and off the field. They set high standards and work to achieve those standards. The atmosphere that they have created there develops players immensely, and I knew it would develop me to be at the level I want to be at.”
The school itself also felt comfortable to him, not to mention the chance to live in and enjoy the weather of the San Diego area.
“The campus is relatively large, but it doesn't feel impersonal, which I like,” he said. “The staff there makes sure you are on the right track and really care about the players and students. It was cool to learn of the success of other sports, which makes big support for the athletes at the school.”
Kledis Capollari, Midfielder, FC Dutchmen
Commitment: Siena College
A New York native, Kledia Capollari found plenty to like about Siena College, recently making a commitment to the team for next fall.
“It’s a very good academic school and very close to home plus it had great soccer program with a great coaching staff,” he told TopDrawerSoccer.com.
Head coach Cesar Markovic, who joined the program earlier in 2013, made an obviously impression Capollari. Markovic’s unique approach to program building was something that certainly helped him make a decision.
“They have an amazing coaching staff and a very good head coach who looks to keep the best local players in the area,” Capollari said. “After watching some games this year I noticed a big difference from last year to this year and I want to be part of a great soccer family. I understand that I need to fight to get playing time but that’s a thing I look forward to.”
Capollari opted for college over testing the pro waters back in Eastern Europe. A native of Albania, he is a youth product of KS Pogradeci, and elected for the college route over rejoining that club or Tirana, another Albanian club.
Midfielder Hunter Johnson (FC Richmond) committed to Christopher Newport for the class of 2014.
Midfielder Bryson Clark (San Jose Earthquakes) committed to SMU for the class of 2014.
Goalkeeper Avery Miller (Crossfire Premier) committed to SMU for the class of 2014.
Forward Joseph Haney (Virginia Rush) committed to VCU for the class of 2014.