From staff reports
The Clayton State University men's soccer team finished the 2004 season, ranked 15th in the nation, and with the signing of number of talented players for 2005, the Lakers chances of climbing up that poll next season is rising.
Second-year head coach Pete Petersen's main focus for the fall was offense, and he has stocked the Lakers with plenty of firepower, led by a trio of forwards in Kevin Crooks, Victor Duncan and Tony Madegwa, all of whom are expected to make an immediate impact for the club.
"Last year, we scored by a counter attack, a set piece or one of Juan's (Trujillo) patented runs," said Petersen. "The crosshairs will be larger in '05 on Juan. We went after scorers, assist men...anyone with quality that could run points on the score sheet...We need to dictate much more in the final third, if we want a shot a the national title."
Crooks, a 6-foot-3 forward, will enter the program as junior transferring from Young Harris College, where he was an All-Region 17 selection last year. He played on the U-20 Trinidad National Team and scored a goal for his native country earlier this year in a 2005 FIFA World Youth Championships match against the United States.
A 6-3 transfer from the University of North Florida, Duncan was a three-year starter and former All-Peach Belt Conference performer for the Ospreys. He was the league's fifth leading scorer in 2003 with 14 goals on the year. He has scored 25 goals for UNF in the last three seasons.
Madegwa, a native of Kenya, is a transfer from Oklahoma Baptist, a NAIA school that finished last year 23rd in the nation with a 14-5 record. He was the team's second leading scorer with 10 goals and seven assists. He also played with the Kenyan U-23 national team in the 2004 Olympic qualification rounds.
It will be difficult for the Laker defense to improve a lot in 2005 after finishing last season ranked 11th in the nation on the defensive end, but with the signing of an All-America defender in Carlos Parra, the Laker defense will once again be among the nation's best. A U-17 U.S. National team pool player, Parra starred at Tyler Junior College, where he helped lead the squad to a 16-3-2 record. The squad finished the season 13th in the junior college ranks.
Clayton State's top incoming midfielders are Junior Smith, Johnny Lara and Chris Eke. Smith, a native of Jamaica, was a U-20 Jamaican National team pool player, and he along with Eke played at Georgia Perimeter. Lara will enter as a true freshman, playing at Collins Hill High School and for the U-17 Concorde Fire. He led Collins Hill, a team that rose to a No. 1 ranking in the state last year, to a 14-2-3 record. In addition to Collins Hill's Lara, the Lakers will have several other incoming high school players in forwards, Angel Kalinov, Miguel Pinzon and Mark Dupry; midfielder Aaron Baker; and defender Abdifatah Hassan.
Kalinov, a native of Bulgaria, played for Sprayberry High School and the U-18 Cherokee Redwings, leading the squad to the Class 5-A state tournament. Pinzon, from Colombia, played for Collins Hill and for the U-18 Norcross Fury. Dupry, a native of Haiti, played at Morrow High Shool and for the U-17 Concorde Fire. MHS finished with a 16-1-2 record, advancing to the 5-A state tournament.
A midfielder from Atlanta, Baker played at South Gwinnett High School and for the U-18 Silverbacks Quest. Hassan played at North Druid Hills, leading the team to the Class 3-A state Final Four and a No. 4 ranking in the state with a 17-3-2 record.