RICHMOND, Va. – Throughout the week, Virginia Commonwealth University Men's Soccer is announcing its 15-player recruiting class. Today's release is part two of three in the 2011 recruiting series. Visit VCUAthletics.com Friday as the remainder of the class is announced.
In part two, the Rams will welcome midfielders Juan Arbelaez (Oakwood, Ga./Georgia Perimeter College), Shawn Gross (North Royalton, Ohio) and Ragnar Leosson (Akranes, Iceland), as well as defenders Jack Bates (Chester, Va.) and Oliver Flood (Roanoke, Va.) to Richmond this fall.
Earlier in the week, Head Coach Dave Giffard announced the additions of forward Kharlton Belmar (Virginia Beach, Va.), midfielder Devon Fisher (Chesapeake, Va.), defenders Garrett Harvey (Richmond, Va.) and Juan Monge Solano (Costa Rica), and goalkeeper Clark Hankins (Montgomery, Ala.).
Here's an inside look at the recruits:
JUAN ARBELAEZ, MIDFIELDER (Oakwood, Ga./Georgia Perimeter College)
Transferred from Georgia Perimeter College, where he played for head coach Marc Zagara… Scored eight goals and collected 11 assists as a freshman, helping lead GPC to a national runner-up finish… Received All-Region recognition in 2010… Was a member of the Alianza Soccer Club, under the direction of Carlos Jacinto and Sergio Magana… Played high school soccer at West Hall, finishing his career with 51 goals and 70 assists… Named Area Player of the Year as a senior
Coach Giffard on Arbelaez: "Juan joins us after spending the last two years playing at Georgia Perimeter, including a national runner-up finish in 2009. Juan is a player I first saw several years ago at Disney with his club team. I was a big fan of his then, and think he will add a lot to the right side of our team next fall."
JACK BATES, DEFENDER (Chester, Va./Thomas Dale High School)
Four-year starter at nearby Thomas Dale High School, under the guidance of head coach Mark Fowler… Named captain during junior and senior seasons… All-District performer… 2011 Virginia AAA All-State candidate… Also served as captain for Richmond Strikers Academy, coached by former VCU standout Erwan Le Crom… Market Training Center invitee
Coach Giffard on Bates: "Jack is a local product of the Richmond Strikers Academy. He is a good sized kid, who has good feet for a defender and has the character traits that I think will allow him to become very successful over the next several years here with us."
OLIVER FLOOD, DEFENDER/MIDFIELDER (Roanoke, Va./Patrick Henry High School)
Member of Roanoke Star Elite, coached by Danny Beamer and Martin Smith… All-District and All-Region performer at Patrick Henry High School, under the direction of head coach Chris Dowdy
Coach Giffard on Flood: " We discovered Oliver at our camp last summer and think he has the potential to play anywhere on the left side for us. Like several other players in our class, I think Oliver's best days are ahead and believe that we are catching him at just the right time."
SHAWN GROSS, MIDFIELDER (North Royalton, Ohio/North Royalton High School)
Member of the Cleveland International Soccer Academy, where he served as co-captain in 2007, 2008 and 2009… Named to list of top players in Ohio by ESPN Rise… Earned First Team All-Greater Cleveland and Second Team All-State honors… Played under VCU Head Coach Dave Giffard with the Cleveland Internationals
Coach Giffard on Gross: "Shawn is a player I coached with The Cleveland Internationals when I lived in Ohio. He is a soccer junkie that will thrive in our environment. Holding midfield is probably his best position, but could plug in to other roles as well over time."
RAGNAR LEOSSON, MIDFIELDER (Akranes, Iceland)
Member of Iceland's U-17 and U-19 national teams… Made international debut in 2007… Appeared in 10 matches for U-17 squad, scoring two goals before seeing action in six matches as a member of the U-19 team… Played 47 matches for Akranes Football Club, scoring eight goals
Coach Giffard on Leosson: "Ragnar is an attacking player from Iceland who will add a different dimension to our attacking group. He has the ability to play up high, on either wing, or just under the forwards. He has represented Iceland at U-17 and U-19 and will probably get his first cap for the U-21's this summer before he arrives."