Zips unveil talented 2016 recruiting class

February 5, 2016

The University of Akron men's soccer squad under the leadership of fourth-year head coach Jared Embick, has announced a talented 10-member signing class for 2016, a collection of student-athletes that has been tabbed by TopDrawerSoccer.com as the third-best recruiting class in the nation.

Donning the Akron uniform this fall will be Nick Hinds (Plantation, Fla.), Reggie Laryea (Toronto, Ontario (Canada)), Jonathan Lewis (Plantation, Fla.), Alex Mapp (Medina, Ohio), Jesus Perez (Waukegan, Ill.), Emmanuel Sabbi (Columbus, Ohio), Tor Saunders (Bothell, Wash.) and Marcel Zajec (Mississauga, Ontario).

Additionally, Jackson Crawford (Massillon, Ohio) and Jeremy Pollard (Manly Beach, Australia) have enrolled at Akron this spring and will participate with the Zips during the spring campaign.

The signing class features three players ranked among the top 50 players nationally in the Boys IMG Academy 150 as rated by TopDrawerSoccer.com in Sabbi (No. 12), Hinds (No. 20) and Laryea (No. 37). Additionally, Zajac (No. 116) and Perez (No.136) round out the Zips' signees ranked on IMG Academy 150.

College Soccer News rates Sabbi (No. 13), Perez (No. 39) and Hinds (No. 78) among its list of the top 160 players in the United States.

"This is an extremely talented class," Embick commented. "Leo Chappel and Ger Coppinger have done a great job in putting this class together. They possess all the attributes we seek in Akron Zip soccer players; technical ability, soccer IQ, speed and power. These players are proven winners and show a great desire to be the best and they will bring that competitive fire to our team from their first session."

"I believe that our dedicated fans will love watching these young players mesh with the returners. As a coach, it is exciting to know that I have even more weapons to use, more line-up combinations and tactical variety to attack our opponents with. We brought these players in to play our attacking brand of soccer, to help us get back to the College Cup, and ultimately to help win our 2nd star."

A Massillon, Ohio native, Crawford, a versatile/athletic midfielder, gained valuable experience playing for Internationals Academy of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. He is the No. 19 rated player in the Great Lakes Region as named by TopDrawerSoccer.com.

A Plantation, Fla., native, Hinds, an defender, gained valuable experience playing for the United States U-20 Men's National Team. A four-star recruit as tabbed by TopDrawerSoccer.com, he was a member of the Kendall Soccer Club Academy. Hind's strength is as an attacking, skillful powerful back.

Laryea, a center back/center midfielder, is a member of the Sigma FC Soccer Club, and garnered valuable experience as a member of the Canadian U20 Team. A four-star recruit according to as tabbed by TopDrawerSoccer.com, he is rated as the No. 7 international recruit and the 12th-best midfielder in the 2016 class. A strong, versatile and athletic player, he is the brother of former Akron All-American Richie Laryea.

A forward, Lewis played for Chicago Fire Academy, Plantation FC and Kendall. He has earned an invitation to the Jamaican National Team camp and his Plantation FC squad was the winner of the Disney Showcase. A quick and creative forward, Lewis possesses the ability to create and score goals.

A midfielder, Mapp also gained valuable experience playing for Internationals Academy of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

A native of Waukegan Ill., Perez, a midfielder, is a member of the United States U18 Men's National Team. He also garnered valuable playing experience with the Chicago Fire U17/U18 and Chicago Magic PSG Soccer Clubs. The sixth-rated player in the Midwest Region according to TopDrawerSoccer.com, Perez possesses the ability to help dictate the tempo of the game with his vision, skill and passing.

Hailing from Manly Beach, Australia, Pollard, a goalkeeper, played with Manly United and has gained valuable experience with the Australian Schoolboy National Team. Pollard is a big commanding goalkeeper whose strength is his technical ability in goal.

A Columbus, Ohio native, Sabbi, a forward/attacking midfielder, gained valuable experience playing for the United States U-20 Men's National Team. Originally from Vicenza, Italy, Sabbi also was a member of the U18 USMNT, Chicago Magic PSG, Blast FC and OP Eagles Green 1 Soccer Clubs. A four-star recruit, Sabbi is the top-rated player in the Midwest Region and eighth-best forward in the country as ranked by TopDrawerSoccer.com. A natural goal scorer, Sabbi possesses the ability to create scoring chances both on and off the ball with his quickness, power and skill.

A goalkeeper, Saunders was a member of Snohomish United and Seattle Sounders Youth Academy. Saunders owns a commanding presence in net utilizing his size.

A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Zajec, a forward/attacking midfielder, is a member of the Canadian U20 Men's National Team after previously playing on the U17 squad. The leading scorer in the Provisional U21 Elite in 2015, he also is a member of the Sigma FC Soccer Club. Zajec is a creative, skillful player with great goal-scoring instincts.

2016 Zips Men's Soccer Signing Class

Jackson Crawford, midfielder, Massillon, Ohio (Internationals Academy)

Nick Hinds, defender, Plantation, Fla. (U20 USMNT/Seattle Sounders Academy)

Reggie Laryea, midfielder/defender, Toronto, Ontario (Canada) (Sigma FC Soccer Club)

Jonathan Lewis, forward, Plantation, Fla. (Chicago Fire Academy)

Alex Mapp, midfielder, Medina, Ohio (Internationals Academy)

Jesus Perez, midfielder, Waukegan, Ill. (U18 USMNT/Chicago Fire U17/U18)

Jeremy Pollard, goalkeeper, Manly Beach, Australia (Manly United)

Emmanuel Sabbi, midfielder, Columbus, Ohio (U20 USMNT/Chicago Magic PSG)

Tor Saunders, goalkeeper, Bothell, Wash. (Seattle Sounders Academy)

Marcel Zajec, forward/midfielder, Mississauga, Ontario (U20 Canadian National Team/Sigma FC Soccer Club)