BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana head coach Mike Freitag announced the signing of eight student-athletes, a group that is already being touted as the best recruiting class in the country by one outlet.
Goalkeeper Joe Andrews (St. Louis, Mo./DeSmet), goalkeeper Chay Cain (Aurora, Ill./ Waubonsie Valley), midfielder Lee Hagedorn (Columbus, Ind./Columbus North), midfielder Lee Nguyen (Richardson, Texas/Plano East), midfielder Brad Ring (Rockford, Ill./ Guilford), defender Chris Schuler (Aurora, Ill./ Waubonsie Valley), defender Kevin Sparks (Bloomington, Ind./South) amd forward Darren Yeagle (Louisville, Ky./Trinity) will join the Hoosiers for the 2005 season, as the program looks to defend its back-to-back national championships.
"I am excited about this class. StudentSportsSoccer.com rated our recruiting class No. 1, and I hope they know what they are talking about," Freitag said. "We feel that we know what we are talking about, and we feel it is a special class coming in. We have some holes to fill. We have some talented players returning. This group of young men coming in will mesh very well with what we have returning.
"We have a total of eight players coming in with two of them being goalkeepers," Freitag said. "I think it is a class that will continue to have IU competeing at the highest level. They are all good young men with strong character. They all have that IU winning fiber. I can't wait to get them in Bloomington, get them on the field and start working with them to get ready for next year."
The group includes a breakdown of two goalkeepers, two backs, three midfielders and one forward. StudentSportsSoccer.com rated the group as the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. Of its top 15 players in the class of 2005, four signed with the Hoosiers. Ring was rated as the fifth-best player followed by Schuler (No. 7), Nguyen (No. 8) and Cain (No. 15). The Hoosiers also raked in the top position player at goalkeeper (Cain), defender (Schuler) and midfield (Ring). The group also includes five All-Americans in Cain, Nguyen, Ring, Schuler and Yeagle.
"I have to laugh because three of our players I recruited by name," Freitag said jokingly. "Lee's last name is pronounced win. We have a young man named Brad Ring. We like to win rings around here. We have another kid from the Louisville area named Darren Yeagle (pronounced Yeah-gal) and you could probably pronounce it Yeagley if you wanted to. Yeagle, Nguyen (pronounced win) and Ring, those are some good names for IU Soccer."
Here is a look at the nine Indiana Soccer signees:
6-2 • 185
St. Louis, Mo./De Smet Jesuit
Played at De Smet Jesuit High School under head coach Greg Vitello. Was a first team all-conference selection and an honorable mention All-Metro choice. De Smet Jesuit were district champions from his sophomore year through his senior year. As a senior had a goals against average of 0.34 with 80 saves, 10 shutouts and a record of 8-1-3. Also ran track as a junior in high school and was a member of the baseball team as a freshman and sophomore. Was an honor roll student and involved with student government at De Smet Jesuit. Attended the same high school as current Hoosier senior Mike Ambersley and former Hoosiers Pat Noonan (1999-02), Chris Klein (1994-97) and Harry Weiss (1992-95). Also considered IUPUI, Rhode Island and Southwest Missouri State. Intends to major in business management.
Coach Freitag on Andrew:
"Joe's a young man from St. Louis, my hometown. Coaches that I respect back home feel that he is the best goalkeeper coming out of that soccer rich town this year. Joe impressed us at the Indiana Soccer Camp last summer. Joe brings a lot of talent and potential to the position."
5-11 • 165
Aurora, Ill./ Waubonsie Valley
Ranked as the top goalkeeper and the 15th-best player in the Class of 2005 by StudentSportsSoccer.com. A StudentSportsSoccer.com fall first team All-America selection. A 2003 and 2004 NSCAA/adidas Youth Boys Region II All-American. Named Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year in 2004. Played for former Hoosier All-American and 1978 Hermann Trophy winner Angelo DiBernardo at Waubonsie Valley High School. Finished his four-year high school career with 44 shutouts and a goals against average of 0.46. A high school teammate of fellow signee Chris Schuler. Played on the 2004 U-17 Super Y-league National Champions. A U-16 and U-18 U.S. national team pool player. Was named an Illinois State Scholar and Indian Prarie Scholar. Plans to major in computer science at Indiana.
Coach Freitag on Cain:
"Chay Cain is a goalkeeper from the Chicago area and is currently in the under-18 national team pool. He played along with Chris Schuler in high school for former Indiana great Angelo DiBernardo. He is a young man that is very talented with great character. Chay is rated as one of the best goalkeepers in the country and was ranked No. 1 at the goalkeeper position by StudentSportsSoccer.com. He is a goalkeeper that we are very excited about."
5-9 • 145
Columbus, Ind./Columbus North
Earned NSCAA/adidas All-Region IV (Mideast) in 2004. Was a first team all-state selection as a senior and a third team honoree as a junior. During his senior season, Columbus North won the Hoosier Cup Tournament. As a senior scored 21 goals and added 10 assists. Competed in the 400-meters and 4x400-meter relay as a member of the varsity track team at Columbus North. Was a member of a National Honor Society as a junior and a senior in high school. Worked in a female orphanage on two mission trips to Honduras in high school.
Coach Freitag on Hagedorn:
"Lee is one of our local boys from Columbus, Indiana. He is the type of young man that IU soccer has been fortunate to find over the years. Lee is one of those players, who has the ability, but maybe hasn't been in the most challenging environment. He has the potential to become a good soccer player on the college level. We are familiar with him and Kevin Sparks because they played under my assistant coach Caleb Porter with the Bloomington Cutters. We are excited to have Lee in our program."
5-8 • 149
Richardson, Texas/Plano East
A member of the U-18 United States national team. Led the U-18's with four goals at the Copa Chivas Tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico in Jan. of 2005. A 2004 NSCAA/adidas Youth Boys Region III All-American. Ranked eighth-best player and third-best midfielder in the country by StudentSportsSoccer.com. Was the District 9-5A Most Valuable Player as a junior. A 2004 Parade All-American selection. Was an adidas ESP All-Star team honoree in 2004. A member of the National Honor Society in high school. Played club soccer with the Dallas Texans under David Hodgel and Hassan Nazari. Intends to major in business at Indiana.
Coach Freitag on Nguyen:
"Lee Nguyen is a special player with very mature offensive thought processes. He sees things that other players don't see. He is technically very good. He is one of those players that I would pay to watch. IU fans are going to be very excited to watch Lee play in the next several years. He is currently involved with both the U-18 and U-20 National Teams."
5-10 • 165
Rockford, Ill./ Guilford
Named the 2004 StudentSportsSoccer.com fall season National Player of the Year. Was a first team StudentSportsSoccer.com All-American. The 2004 Illinois State Player of the Year by the NSCAA and the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association. 2004 NSCAA/adidas High School All-American. Rated the fifth-best player and top midfielder in the country by StudentSportsSoccer.com. Finished his high school career with 102 goals with 67 assists. Was an adidas ESP 2004 All Star Team selection. Played along side fellow signees Chris Schuler and Chay Cain with the Chicago Magic and coach Mike Matkovich. Was a U.S. National Team invitee in 2000 and 2004. Was a member of the student council and the National Honor Society in high school.
Coach Freitag on Ring:
"A big hole we need to fill is the one left by M.A.C. Hermann Trophy winner Danny O'Rourke. Brad brings many of the same winning qualities and characteristics as Danny coming in. He may do some things better than Danny. He is a midfielder, who is not only a good ball-winner like Danny was, but can do some things on the offensive end to help the attack. StudentSportsSoccer.com rated Brad as the top midfielder in the country."
6-4 • 185
Aurora, Ill./ Waubonsie Valley
Rated as the top defender and seventh-best player in the country by StudentSportsSoccer.com. Was a StudentSportsSoccer.com fall season first team All-American. Was a 2004 NSCAA/adidas Youth Boys Region II All-American. Played for former Hoosier All-American and 1978 Hermann Trophy winner Angelo DiBernardo at Waubonsie Valley High School. Was a captain of his club team in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. Also considered Wisconsin, Saint Louis and Wake Forest. Intends to major in business.
Coach Freitag on Schuler:
"Chris Schuler was rated the No. 1 defender by StudentSportsSoccer.com. He is a physical specimen. He is about 6-4, fast and has a very big upside. He is very comfortable with the ball. Both him and his teammate Chay Cain played for former IU great and Hermann winner Angelo DiBernardo at Waubonsie Valley High School. We know they come in here with good coaching and are familiar with IU. Chris can be a dominant force in college soccer."
5-9 • 140
Earned honorable mention all-state honors as a senior. Was a four-year varsity starter. Earned all-district honors in 2004. Intends to major in sports marketing and management.
Coach Freitag on Sparks:
"Kevin Sparks is another one of those local boys. He is from right here in Bloomington and played with Lee Hagedorn and the Bloomington Cutters. Kevin definitely has the ability to become a very good defender on the college level. We are happy to have him join the program. He really sparked an interest with us, playing under my assistant coach Caleb Porter with the Cutters. We feel that with the type of challenging environment we provide, he has the chance to develop and be successful."
5-8 • 155
A U.S. National U-20 pool player. Earned NSCAA High School Boys All-America honors in 2004. Named Mr. Soccer in the state of Kentucky. Was a NSCAA/adidas All-Region IV (Mideast) honoree as a senior. Nominated for the high school National Gatorade Player of the Year for soccer. Attended the same high school, Trinity, as current Hoosier John Michael Hayden. Named a first team Kentucky All-State selection as a junior and senior. Finished in third place for the Golden Boot Award at nationals in 2003. Also considered Cincinnati, Michigan, Ohio State and Kentucky. Intends to major in sports marketing and management.
Coach Freitag on Yeagle:
"Darren is a young man from Louisville that has winning qualities. He is the kind of kid that has pace and is willing to take players on. He has that fight and work rate to battle through anything. I am very excited about his upside. He is a player that was just called into the under-20 National Team camp. He hasn't had those accolades until now, so he has really good upside."