Eagles Bring In 10 Players in 2018 Recruiting Class

Eagles Bring In 10 Players in 2018 Recruiting Class

Ashland University men's soccer head coach Oliver Slawson announced Monday (July 9) the signing of 10 players to the 2018 recruiting class.

"I am very pleased with the players we are bringing into the program," Slawson said. "The players we have recruited have seen the brand of soccer we are playing and are eager to join us. I am excited to see what they will bring to our team."

Three of the players coming to Ashland are transferring from the University of Akron, a Division I power in men's soccer and a 2017 College Cup participant.

Graduate transfer goalkeeper Nick Costa (North Royalton, Ohio) joins sophomore defender Alex Mapp (Medina, Ohio) and sophomore midfielder Jackson Crawford (Massillion, Ohio) as transfers from the Zips.

Costa was named to the 2012 United States Youth Soccer Best Eleven and won the U16 Golden Glove. Costa went to the 2015 and 2017 NCAA Division I College Cup with Akron and was a team captain.  

Mapp was on the squad that advanced to the College Cup last season and Crawford played in three games, scoring one goal, for the Zips last season. Mapp and Crawford played for Cleveland Internationals as part of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

"I am excited to work with Nick, Alex and Jackson again," Slawson said. "All three have been part of a winning culture and one of the elite environments in college soccer. They have the understanding of what is needed on a daily basis in the pursuit of a championship. Their experience and leadership will be priceless to our program."

The Eagles added Joseph Renner (Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.) from the Rochdale AFC youth team. The defender captained the side to the Youth Alliance League title in the English Football League with 21 wins against just three draws and two defeats. He began his career in the Newcastle United Academy.

Forward Haruki Kimura (Fukuoka, Japan) joined the program from the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., another club that is part of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Kimura was voted the 2017-18 IMG team MVP and Player of the Year.

Slawson also announced the addition of midfielder Brandon Davidson (Parma, Ohio), who scored 44 goals in his career and was a first team all-conference standout at Valley Forge High School. Midfielder Hunter Johnson (Copley, Ohio) helped Copley to a Suburban League championship and a two-time district runner-up.

Defender Caleb McCullough (Vermilion, Ohio) was a second team All-Lorain County product from Vermilion High School. He helped the Sailors to 20 shutouts over two seasons as a center back and helped the team to a 29-7-2 record in that time. Goalkeeper Brett Robinson (Marysville, Mich.) is a two-time all-state performer and was his conference's most valuable player, helping Marysville to 37 shutouts and two district titles. He was a MaxPreps National Player of the Week last season. Defender Preston Sutton (Harrison, Ohio) was a first team all-city honoree and conference MVP for Harrison High School. He played for Kings Hammer Soccer Club in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Eagles went 7-9-1 last season and just missed out on a spot in the GLIAC Tournament. They ranked third in the conference in goals (31) and displayed quality in the final third.

"We feel we've addressed the issues we had last season in this recruiting class. They've got the intangibles we need to win," said Slawson. "We are continuing the process of growing this program and continuing to make a name for ourselves in one of the best conferences in the country."