JMU announces 2016 men's recruiting class

June 3, 2016

The James Madison men's soccer program will welcome 14 new student-athletes to the program as part of the 2016 recruiting class, head coach Tom Foley announced on Thursday.

"We feel as a staff we worked hard this offseason to bring players to James Madison that would fit into the JMU culture," said Foley. They are hardworking, committed soccer players that have shown the passion and desire to succeed. The newcomers, coupled with the talented players we have returning, create strong competition for playing time in preseason which gives us good depth once we hit the regular season. We are very excited about this upcoming season."

Michael Akinkoye             6-0/165                Midfielder           Gaithersburg, Maryland
Akinkoye comes to James Madison from Saint Joseph's University where he was a part of the Philadelphia Soccer 6 All-Rookie team in 2014. In high school, he was a four year varsity letter winner and also played for the OBGC Rangers that ranked number one in the country. Collegiate soccer runs in the family as his older brother Daniel also played at American University.

"Michael is a transfer who we hope will make an immediate impact on our culture from day one. He is a mobile midfielder who is technically proficient and has the physical capabilities to play multiple roles.  Due to his experience as a Division I starter, we hope to have Michael use his previous college playing experiences to better our program."
Carter Allbaugh                  6-1/170               Defender              Palmyra, Virginia
Allbaugh, who played under Head Coach Earl Gibson at Fluvanna County High School, earned his stripes after earning a spot on Varsity as a freshman. As a sophomore, he earned First Team All-District and First Team All-Region before being taking First Team All-Conference, First Team All-Region and Second Team All-State as a junior. He has served as captain of the Flying Flucos for two years and helped lead his club team, SOCA, to a 2016 State Cup championship.

"Carter is a natural athlete who comes to us from just down the road in Charlottesville, VA.  He is composed at the central back position and can cover tons of ground. We think Carter has tremendous upside as a player and is physically ready to compete at the Division I level."
Brennen Burton                 5-10/160              Midfielder           Hampton, Virginia
Burton is a decorated player from Kecoughtan High School and the Virginia legacy soccer club. As part of the legacy club, he earned the U15-U18 player of the year. As a sophomore and junior, he earned First Team All-Conference and as a senior, was conference player of the year runner-up. Burton, sponsored by WRV, is also a talented surfer from the beach area.

"Brennen is a player we liked because of his ability to impact games with one play. He is dynamic, good off the dribble, and can score goals. We think Brennen can play multiple wide positions at the college level and physically is above the curve."
William "TJ" Bush              6-3/190               Goalkeeper         Herndon, Virginia
Bringing a decorated high school career to the Dukes, Bush represents the lone goalkeeper in the 2016 class. He was a four-year Varsity soccer letter winner at South Lakes High School while also playing basketball for the Seahawks. His junior year, the Herndon, Va. native was named All-Liberty Conference First Team, All-Region 6A North Second Team and Washington Post All-Metropolitan Area Honorable Mention. He also stressed academics, earning Honor Roll and participating in National Honors Society.

"TJ is a player who stood out to us in a number of ways throughout the recruitment process.  He is a high character student athlete who his teammates respect. He has very calming and reliable traits as a goalkeeper. His large frame allows him to make saves that other keepers can't and he can distribute through long throws and punts to start the attack. He will be a great addition to our goalkeeping unit for the 2016 season."
Brandon Clegg                     6-2/185             Midfielder           Manassas, Virginia
Clegg comes from a family very familiar in collegiate athletics. His father and mother both played collegiate soccer at Roanoke College and Averett University. Clegg has been a 4 year starter for the Forest Park Bruins who play in the competitive 6A division earning second team All-Conference as a freshmen and first team All-Conference as a sophomore and Junior. A balanced played Clegg has registered 30 goals alongside 30 assists through his first three seasons of high school soccer. Clegg is also a member of the ODP region team.

"Brandon is not your stereotypical midfielder. He is a physical ball winner who plays simple and reads at a high level. One of his best attributes as a player is his ability to strike the ball with power and accuracy from any distance. He is very dedicated to the game and we see Brandon as someone who will hold himself to very high standards both on and off the pitch."
Ben Dao                                   5-9/160           Midfielder           Frederick, Maryland
Dao, a striker and goal scorer from Tuscarora High School, holds the school record for most goals scored. His goal scoring ability has placed him on the Region 1 team three years in a row and has earned him the Frederick County Player of the Year. The Esmick All-American has also gone on to play soccer in Italy, France, Croatia, and Germany as a part of the ODP Region 1 team.

"We are very pleased to add Ben to our 2016 class and feel he has endless amounts of potential as a player. Ben has an unmatched engine and extreme amounts of confidence on the ball. Ben plays with tons of passion and is truly a soccer fanatic. He is a player we see getting better and better each and every season."
Mark Elmore                         5-11/155              Midfielder           Gainesville, Virginia
With his father playing soccer and his mother playing softball at George Mason University, Elmore comes from a strong lineage of college athletes. Another relative, Sergio Arzubiaga, played soccer at another in-state school, Radford University, for four years. Although he was homeschooled, he earned Honor Roll honors recognized by Battlefield High School and collected college credits at Northern Virginia Community College to cement his place as an excellent student as well as soccer player.

"Mark has previously worn the captain's armband for the DC United academy team so leadership is in his DNA. He is a player who has a very high soccer IQ and doesn't try to over complicate things in the midfield. We feel Mark's game is the epitome of solid and simple. Defensively he finds quality spaces to pick off balls without going into tackles. We will look for Mark to use his previous playing experiences to bolster the maturity level of our 15 member recruiting class."
Tim Estermann                    5-10/160              Midfielder           Gossau, Switzerland
Estermann attended Kantonsschule am Burggraben in Switzerland and played for FC St. Gallen II. He continues a trend of incoming student-athletes coming from soccer families as his grandfather played professionally for teams such as Alkmaar and Bayern Munich.

"Tim has been playing for one of the most prestigious teams in Switzerland for the past 4 years. He just finished of his season as a starter for St. Gallen U21 in the Swiss "Promotion League". He is a true box-to-box midfielder that has a high soccer IQ. He will bring a lot of flexibility to the team by being able to play all positions in the midfield. Tim possesses excellent passing skills, which allows him to speed up the game offensively."
Manuel Ferriol                    5-11/150              Midfielder           Valencia, Spain
Ferriol comes to Harrisonburg after playing for Spanish club Levante UD from 2010 to 2016. Showcasing his vision and passing ability, he tallied 12 assists in 2012-13 and 13 assists during the 2013-14 season. His premiere season, however, came in 2014-15 when he lead Levante UD to a Juvenile C, Group 2 title with 14 goals and 18 assists before being named Most Valuable Player of the Miquel Tendillo Tournament.

"Manuel is a threat in any offensive situation.  He comes with an exceptional ability to possess the ball and set up goals. He will add tactical and technical ability to our roster from day one. Manuel comes from a great background of soccer in Spain and we look forward to seeing his progression as a player for the next four seasons."
Khalid Hirad                          6-2/165             Defender              Sterling, Virginia
Hirad is a 4 year varsity defensive veteran for the John Champe Knights. His athletic ability and vision allows him to help out on the offensive end as an outside back tallying 27 goals and 19 assists in his 4 years. His play earned him Conference 28 First Team honors the past three years. Hirad is also a member of the BFC Barca Elite 97 and the Virginia State ODP team providing him with opportunities to play abroad in Italy.

"Khalid makes attacking out of defensive positions look easy.  He is a natural left-footer who glides by defenders with ease. Khalid serves a good ball from wide positions and knows how and when to make creative offensive runs. You don't see many players with Khalid's body frame and athletic ability playing the outside back position."
Carson Jeffris                        6-2/185            Forward                 Fairfax, Virginia
Jeffris began playing soccer in England when he lived in Europe for his father's career, but came back stateside and honed his skills at the D.C. United. In 2012-13, he played for a local club team called Braddock Road, helping the club to a No. 4 ranking in the nation and in 2014-15, led the D.C. United U-16 team in scoring.

"Carson is a product of the DC United Academy and is a player who has a great deal of creativity for his size. He can play multiple positions at the college level and is full of technical and physical tools. We will look for Carson to make an immediate impact in our program at whatever position he plays."
Shaun McKenna                 6-3/175               Defender              Dumfries, Virginia
Son of Kevin McKenna, who played soccer under Dr. Tom Martin at James Madison from 1986-1990, McKenna comes to Harrisonburg as a product of the D.C. United Academy. He also played for Evergreen FC and the Arlington Soccer Association alongside Forest Park High School Varsity Soccer. He excelled in the classroom as well, earning Honor Roll laurels at Forest Park High School.

"Shaun is an excellent pick-up for the 2016 class. In the past, Shaun has played for multiple high level youth clubs and is currently playing for PDL team Evergreen FC. Shaun is a calm and collected defender who does not shy away from contact. He is a force in the air and reads the game well for someone his age. We look for him to be a reliable option on our backline."
Niclas Mohr              5-7/150              Left Back/Midfielder             Fernwald, Germany
Mohr, who attended Gesamtschule Giessen-Ost in Germany, played for the club team S.C. Teutonia Watzenborn Steinberg where he made his mark on the local soccer scene. His performance earned him a selection to the U-16 Germany National Team.

"Niclas was a starter in the U19 Bundesliga for Eintracht Frankfurt. His current team just recently won the Men's "Hessenliga" as starter with SG Watzenborn. He was a part of the U17 German National Pool and has experience training with the 1st team of Eintracht Frankfurt. He will bring speed and quickness in whatever role he plays and has a superior understanding of the game. He is the definition of a modern left back and can play multiple positions if needed. Niclas is solid defensively and goes forward with control and creativity."

Soheyl Alipour-Rafi          6-3/200          Center Back         Heusenstamm, Germany                                  
Soheyl Alipour-Rafi, or Raph as he is affectionately called, will begin his JMU career as a sophomore after moving on the University of Montevallo. While in Germany, he played for the U-15 team for Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt, helping the team to a South German Championship.

"Rafi was a starter in the U19 Bundesliga and played for SV Viktoria Aschaffenburg in the Men's Regionalliga Bayern, Germany. He has dual citizenship and has had significant interest from the Iranian National team.  He will bring a lot of experience and maturity to our roster. With his size and athleticism he will dominate the game in the air defensively and offensively. He is composed on the ball and will be able to open and dictate the game from the center back position." 

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