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Soccer Finalizes Class

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Photo by Chris Baker
Azusa Pacific added five more commitments to its 2012 recruiting class, giving the men's soccer program a total of 10.

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June 12, 2012
Chris Baker

AZUSA, Calif.-- The Azusa Pacific men’s soccer team, already with five commitments for this upcoming season, finalized its 2012 recruiting class with five more additions. The Cougars, who were the only Golden State Athletic Conference team to qualify for the 2011 NAIA National tournament, got all five of its new commitments from in-state players, giving the class a total of nine Californians.

Joining the program in its first season of Pac West play will be defender, Cole Lambert, forward, Keyran Kelly, forward, Andrew Delaplane, defender, Tanner Akol, and forward Daniel Stratton.

“I’m very pleased with the second five signings. With three attacking players in Andrew, Daniel, and Keyran, and then the two defenders in Cole and Tanner, we’re adding balance. I think all five of them have some good qualities right now, but also all of them have huge potential for the future,” said head coach Dave Blomquist. “I think that rounding out our class with these players strengthens our squad for next year it terms of quality and depth, but really makes the future very bright with these 10 young players. I’m excited about the amount of young talent that we’ll have on the side. All of these players have been very successful in their careers and I think it’s a group of quality guys as well as players. I’m looking forward to seeing them grow, and carry the torch for the program.”

Azusa Pacific, which opens its season at Cal State Dominguez Hills on August 30th, enters candidacy year-two of its NCAA transition and will play a full Pac West schedule in 2012.

COLE LAMBERT: Defender, 6’ 168 lbs., Hart High School

Lambert, a three-year letter winner at Hart High School, was named to the all-Foothill team as a senior, earning the Ray Hill Award and the ‘Best Defender’ award for his team. He played under head coach Cherif Zein for CZ Elite, participating in the Dallas Cup in 2011 and 2012. The two-year team captain brings experience and talent to the Cougars, giving Blomquist depth along the backline. Lambert was named to the all-Area team as a senior and is a member of the National Honor Society and the California Scholastic Federation.

KEYRAN KELLY: Forward, 5’ 10” 140 lbs., Damien High School

A local product from Damien High School, Kelly is an accomplished scorer at the high school level. He registered 11 goals and seven assists as a senior, earning Sierra League MVP honors, along with making the all-CIF team. The two-time team MVP played club soccer for Aresnal FC for five years before joining FC Golden State where his team was the National Cup Champions, Surf Cup Finalists, and Dallas Cup participants in 2011. Kelly helped Damien to a 14-8-2 record, 8-2 in league play as a senior, recording three multi-goal games.

ANDREW DELAPLANE: Forward, 5’ 10” 150 lbs., Oaks Christian High School

Delaplane led the Lions in goals (14) and points (31) as a senior, helping Oaks Christian to an 11-5-3 record, 8-2-2 in Tri-Valley League play. The forward earned first-team all-League honors and was named to the all-County team. Delaplane helped the Lions to an appearance to the CIF semifinals, earning team offensive MVP honors, while being listed on the Daily News’ all-area team. He also was given the coaches award, and received 2nd team all-league recognition as a junior.

TANNER AKOL: Defender, 5’ 10” 145 lbs., Santa Cruz High School

Akol, who played his senior season for Santa Cruz High School, ranked in the Cardinals’ top-three in goals (10), assists, (13), and points (33) in his final year, and helped the squad to two Central Coast Section titles. Santa Cruz went 16-1 in in his final year, winning the its second straight Santa Cruz County Athletic League title, earning his third first team all-league honor. Akol, who played for the Santa Cruz Breakers Academy, has competed in six United States Soccer Development Academy (USDDA) showcases, including stops in Arizona, Florida, and Texas. Akol was also a kicker for the football team, nailing multiple 45+ yard field goals for the Cardinals.

DANIEL STRATTON: Forward, Santa Clarita Christian High School

A skilled product out of Santa Clarita, Stratton brings impressive technique and attacking ability to the Cougars. He was a scoring machine in the prep game, notching 33 goals as senior and finishing his high school career with 74 goals. He added 17 assists in his last year for the Cardinals, ending the season with a team-high 83 points. Stratton helped Santa Clarita Christian to an 11-6-2 record and registered a five-goal, four-assist performance against La Sierra Academy on February 16th, giving him Player of the Week honors on