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Lions Complete Incoming Class

May 29, 2007

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The Loyola Marymount University men's soccer team announced today the completion of its incoming 2007 Men's Soccer recruiting class. In addition to the seven newcomers previously announced, freshmen Rafael Baca, Go Eto and Giovanni Lopez will be joined by junior college transfers Greg Ricks and Brock Smith. This brings the incoming class up to 12 members.

"Our main focus of this recruiting class has been to bring in attacking players who score goals," said Lions Head Coach Paul Krumpe. "We felt it was essential to recruit players with the ability to create and score goals for LMU from day one. I think we have certainly accomplished that goal. We also have added a couple of very good central defenders and an excellent young goalkeeper."

Rafael Baca (5'-9", 155 lbs), from Lawndale, California is a member of the member of the 2004, 2005, 2006 National Champion Arsenal FC Club team that is widely regarded as the top U-18 team in the United States. Baca had 55 goals this season as he led Animo Leadership to its first CIF-SS Division VI title in 2007. He was selected the CIF-SS Division VI Player of the Year and was named the 2007 Player of the Year by the Daily Breeze.

"Rafa is the best forward coming out of the South Bay since Arturo Torres. He has a true goal scoring touch and we are looking for him to be a big part of what we will try to accomplish in 2007," said Krumpe.

Go Eto (5'8", 150 lbs) from Palos Verdes, California prepped at Peninsula High School in Palos Verdes. In 2007, he was selected as First Team All-Bay League and All-Area by the Daily Breeze. He played his club soccer for the Coast Soccer League's South Bay Soccer Club U-19 team.

"Go is extremely technical and very fluid in his movements on the ball. He is an exceptionally quick player and is very dangerous when he is running at defenders. He will add a great option as a wide player," said Krumpe.

Giovanni Lopez (5'10", 160 lbs) is from Lawndale, California and prepped at Junipero Serra High School in Gardena. He played his club ball for the U-19 Galaxy Alliance in the Coast Soccer League. A skillful left sided midfielder, he led Serra to the CIF-SS Division VI playoffs and he was named All-Area by the Daily Breeze and was named the 2007 Camino Real League Player of the Year.

"Gio Lopez is a player who will add skill and creativity to our team in an left sided or attacking midfield role," said Krumpe.

Greg Ricks, (6'0", 175 lbs), a defensive midfielder, joins the Lions in after spending the past two seasons at Irvine Valley College. An All-Conference selection, Ricks served as Team Captain as he led the Lasers to a second place finish in the Orange Empire Conference and the quarterfinals of the Southern California Regional Tournament.

"Greg is a very physical player, and will add a tremendous amount of poise and bite to our midfield," said assistant coach Michael Erush.

Brock Smith, (6'1", 170 lbs), a defender, joins the Lions from Santiago Canyon Junior College. An All-Conference selection, Smith served as Team Captain and was named Team MVP in 2007 after finishing a stellar two-year career for the Hawks.

"Brock is an athletic defender who is very good in the air. He will add maturity and depth to our defense right away," Associate Head Coach Matt Mennell said.

Stefen Canty, a wide midfielder/forward, joined the Lions in January after spending the fall of 2006 as a member of the successful Tulsa program. During the 2006 season for the Golden Hurricane, Canty appeared in thirteen games and tallied one assist. Canty prepped at perennial national power Santa Margarita Catholic High School, which he led to the 2006 CIF Southern Section Division I Championship. "Steffen is a very pacey, athletic, gritty type of forward, something which we needed to add to our attack," said Erush.

Sharif Khatib (5'11", 165 lbs), from Pear Blossom, California is a member of the SCU Barcelona U-19 team, which was undefeated in 2006 Coast Soccer League play and was the 2006 U-19 Champions of the prestigious Nomad Thanksgiving Tournament. Khatib had 22 goals and 15 assists as he led Highland High School to its first Golden League title in 2007.

"Sharif is one of the best pure finishers that I have seen come along in recent years. He has all the tools and we are looking for him to be a big part of what we will try to accomplish in 2007," Mennell said.

Andrew Park (6'1", 180 lbs), a defender from Coto de Caza, California starred at national power Santa Margarita Catholic High School and will follow in the footsteps of former Eagle players Patrick Lane and Canty as a member of the LMU Soccer Family. He helped lead his U-18 Pateadores Club Team to the Coast Soccer League Premier Title in 2006 and the 2005 US Club Soccer National Title.

"Andrew has the potential to be a defensive starter from day one. He has a great soccer pedigree coming from the Pateadores and Santa Margarita and these experiences will immediately pay dividends here at LMU," said Krumpe.

The tallest member of the 2007 class is forward Nate Fischer (6'3", 170 lbs), hailing from Brea High School in Brea, California. Fischer was also a member of Fullerton Rangers Club, one of the top teams in the Coast Soccer Premier League.

"Nate is a very versatile forward who will be successful in a variety of systems of play. He will eventually become the target forward in our attacking scheme," said Krumpe.

Vinny Ocampo (5'10", 160 lbs) from San Diego, California prepped at Mt. Carmel High in San Diego, while he played his club ball for the San Diego Surf Soccer Club. A long time member of the ODP program, both for Cal-South and Region IV, Ocampo brings a wealth of creative ability to the Lions. He has US Youth National Team experience and was selected to the 2006 adidas ESP All Star team.

"Vinny Ocampo is a player who adds a vast amount of flair and creativity to our team in an attacking midfield role. I expect him to challenge for a spot in our first eleven right from the get go," said Krumpe.

Roland Anderson (5'8", 155 lbs) from Garden Grove, California prepped at Mater Dei, where he was selected as the Offensive MVP all four years of his high school career. He played for the same U18 Pateadores team as Park as a wide midfielder and as a forward. "Roland is another player who comes to us from a very successful high school and club environment. His play at Mater Dei and for the Pateadores was instrumental in the success of those two teams. He is an exceptionally quick player and is very dangerous in 1 v 1 situations. He will add a great option wide right for our attacking corps," Krumpe said.

Jack McCormack (6'1", 165 lbs) from Manhattan Beach, California prepped at Mira Costa High School. He is also a member of the Arsenal FC Club team that is widely regarded as the top U-18 team in the United States. He was the adidas Golden Gloves winner as the best goalkeeper at the 2006 USYS National Championships, where he led Arsenal to their third consecutive National title.

"Jack McCormack is going to be an outstanding goalkeeper at LMU and I expect him to immediately push Patrick Lane, Patrick Sampson and Miguel Benitez for the starting position," said Krumpe.

When asked about the role he hopes this 2007 recruiting class will have, Krumpe said, "These young men make up a very talented class. They have the potential to really make an indelible mark here at LMU in terms of their character and their play. They will blend in very well with the style of play and the core group of players we already have in place. Our goal in 2007 is to win the WCC Championship and return to the NCAA Tournament and this class will be instrumental in achieving this goal."

- GO LIONS! -