Feb. 3, 2010
DAVIS, Calif. - The UC Davis men's soccer team has signed five standout recruits to National Letters of Intent, it was announced Wednesday. Head coach Dwayne Shaffer will welcome the newest Aggies for the 2010 season.
"I think it's an outstanding group of recruits to add to our team for 2010," said Shaffer. "I think we increased our overall team speed and athleticism and we certainly filled in some needs and added extra depth with the signing of these student-athletes. I think all five will add a lot of depth to our program and we are looking for great things from this group."
Alex Henry is a midfielder from Poway, Calif. and has been a member of the Poway High School varsity squad for the last three seasons. In 2008, he led the team to a first place Palomar League finish and to the CIF San Diego Section Championship. This season the team advanced to the CIF Quarterfinals and Henry was named first-team All-Palomar League and was an All-CIF second team honoree. Henry was also chosen as a San Diego Union-Tribune All-Academic first team honoree for his accomplishments in the classroom. Henry competes with the Poway Vaqueros club team.
"Alex Henry is a true left-footed player who will have a great opportunity to see significant playing time as a leftsided midfielder player," said Shaffer. "He's crafty with the ball and has excellent shooting ability."
Nick Gregoriev comes to UC Davis from Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, Calif. and will compete for playing time at the striker position. After a CIF San Diego Section semifinals appearance in 2008, Gregoriev helped lead the team to the quarterfinals in 2009. As a member of the Presidio BU19 Premier Elite club team, Gregoriev was a Cal South National Cup Tournament finalist in 2009 and he was selected to the Cal South Olympic Development Program State Team, winning a national championship in 2009. Gregoriev was selected to the 2008 Adidas ESP Camp. This past season he was named to the San Diego Union-Tribune All-Academic team.
"Nick is an attacking player who is very quick and fast," said Shaffer. "The way that I would describe Nick is that he's an absolute handful for the defenders he plays against."
Elliott Hord, a native of Fresno, Calif., helped lead Bullard High School to a No. 22 national ranking by ESPN during the 2008-09 season. Bullard High School finished as section champions that year and was also a So Cal Regional State Finalist. He was named an All-County Metro Athletic Conference first team selection after scoring 15 goals and recording 12 assists during his junior season. A member of the Cal Odyssey Academy club team, Horde was selected to the US Soccer National Development Academy U18 team and advanced to the national championship game.
"Technically he is a good soccer player and has a good soccer brain," said Shaffer. "He is very quick with the ball and is a quick decision-maker. We can see Elliott playing anywhere across our midfield or as a second striker."
A native of Tucson, Ariz., Ian Palmer is a three-year letterwinner in soccer and also competed in track and field for four years at Catalina Foothills High School. Palmer helped lead his team to a state championship in 2007 and served as captain this season. He was the team's leading scorer with 18 goals and five assists. He was the state runner-up with the Tucson Soccer Academy 92 Boys club team in 2008. This year his club qualified for the regional tournament after winning the Far West Regional League. As a member of the track and field team, Palmer placed second in state as a member of the 4x400 relay and set a school record in the 200-meter and 400-meter events.
"Ian Palmer is a very good overall player," said Shaffer. "He is very athletic with good speed. He is very versatile and we envision him playing anywhere on the team, but we are looking for Ian to mainly play as a defender."
With the help of Omar Zeenni, UC Davis will add depth at the goalkeeper position as Zeenni was named the Mission League Goalkeeper of the Year as a rookie in 2007. This Arcadia, Calif. native led Crespi Carmelite HS to a second round appearance at the CIF Southern Section Championships in 2008 and 2009. For his efforts, Zeenni was named to the All-CIF Southern Section second team in 2008. He is also a two-time recipient of the NSCAA All-Academic Award. In addition, Zeeni was a member of the LA Galaxy Academy club team.
"He is a very good goalkeeper with excellent communication skills," said Shaffer. "He is a good size and a great leader."
The 2009 UC Davis men's soccer team finished 6-12-1 overall and 3-6-1 in Big West play.