UCLA Men's Soccer Signs Impressive Recruiting Class

Feb. 5, 2009

UCLA men's soccer head coach Jorge Salcedo has assembled another outstanding recruiting class to national letters-of-intent. Joining the Bruin team for the 2009 season will be midfielder/forward Dakota Collins (Temecula, CA/Great Oak HS/United FC), forward Chandler Hoffman (Birmingham, AL/Oak Mountain HS/Birmingham United), midfielder Ryan Hollingshead (Granite Bay, CA/Granite Bay HS), defender/midfielder Cesar Morales (St. Charles, IL/St. Charles East HS/Sockers FC), midfielder Amobi Okugo (Sacramento, CA/Rio Americano HS/San Juan Lightning), midfielder Evan Raynr (Calabasas, CA/Viewpoint HS/Real SoCal) and midfielder Michael Roman (Oxnard, CA/Rio Mesa HS/Real SoCal). In addition, Matthew Norton (Poway, CA/Poway HS/La Jolla Nomads) has signed a statement of intent to register for Spring 2009.

Collins has been called into U.S. Under-17 National team training camps and participated in the adidas ESP camp. In 2006-07, he scored 55 goals in 67 games with United FC and parlayed that into a two-week trial with FC Schalke 04 in the German Bundesliga. At Great Oak HS in 2008, he earned All-LA'84 Division II second-team honors.

'Dakota Collins is a top attacking player here in Southern California and is very talented in front of goal,' said Salcedo. 'He was first brought to my attention by U.S. World Cup veteran Thomas Dooley, and throughout the recruiting process, I found his assessment of Dakota to be very accurate.'

Hoffman is the first player from the state of Alabama to play soccer at UCLA. Last year's Gatorade Alabama Boys Soccer Player of the Year scored 34 goals, including 11 game-winners, and 11 assists in 2007-08, helping his Oak Mountain team to a 20-7-2 record and a second-straight Class 6A state title. During his sophomore season, he scored 30 goals and was the State Tournament MVP after netting a hat trick in the semifinals. Hoffman, a 2008 NSCAA High School All-American, has recorded 77 goals and 23 assists in his prep career so far.

'Chandler Hoffman is one of the leading goal scorers in the U.S. Development Academy,' Salcedo said. 'His goal-scoring ability separates him as one of the top forwards in the country.'

Hollingshead led Granite Bay HS to two Sac-Joaquin Section DII Championships in three years, including the 2008 championship, when he had three assists in the title game. He totaled 54 points on 18 goals and 18 assists in 2008 and earned All-Sierra Foothill League and Press-Tribune All-City honors. Hollingshead's older brother Scott played at UCLA in 2007.

'Ryan Hollingshead comes from a family that has a very strong work ethic, as his brother Scott showed when he was with our program,' Salcedo noted. 'Every time Ryan steps onto the field, he gives 100 percent.'

Morales was a U.S. Under-18 National Team camp participant in December of 2008 and was selected to the 2008 Development Academy U-15/16 Mid-America Starting XI.

'Cesar Morales comes from a very strong soccer community in Chicago,' said Salcedo. 'As a defender, Cesar has proven to be one of the best throughout the entire Midwest.'

Okugo has been a mainstay with the U.S. Youth National Teams. He is currently in the U-20 final camp before the CONCACAF Championships and played with the U-18 National Team at the 2009 Australian Youth Festival, scoring two goals in three games. A three-time NSCAA/adidas Youth All-American and 2008 Parade All-American, Okugo has been in U.S. U-17 residency and had six caps with the U-17s in 2007. With the U-18s, he scored the only goal for the U.S. at the 2008 Lisbon Tournament.

'Amobi Okugo is arguably the top recruit in nation in the 2009 class,' Salcedo stated. 'His ability to go from the U-17 national team to the U-18 to the current U-20 national team is a tribute to his hard work and progress as a player.'

Raynr and Roman are teammates on club powerhouse Real SoCal, which won national titles in 2006 and 2007. Raynr won the adidas Golden Boot award at the national championships in 2006 and 2007 and scored a hat trick in the 2006 title game. He is a 2007 NSCAA/adidas Youth All-American and 2008 NSCAA/adidas Youth All-Region IV honoree. Raynr has spent time in residency with the U.S. U-17 National Team and earned two caps in 2006. Roman is a member of the U.S. U-18 National Team and played with the squad at the Lisbon Tournament in 2008.

'Evan Raynr and Michael Roman are proven youth soccer champions,' said Salcedo. 'Evan is a very athletic player who can play in several different attacking positions. Michael is an incredibly fit player who has the ability to cover a lot of ground.'

Norton is a Region IV ODP and Cal South ODP team player who has been a long-standing member of the La Jolla Nomads club team, which participates in the U.S. Development Academy.

'We're excited to have Matthew Norton join us early in the spring,' Salcedo said. 'He brings a defensive awareness and athletic ability that will complement our group.'

Salcedo concluded, 'This incoming recruiting class is gifted both technically and athletically. Amongst the group, there are several players with Youth National Team experience. Each of the players will have an immediate impact on our program.'

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