UK Soccer Announces 2016 Recruiting Class

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky men’s soccer program announced its 2016 recruiting class.

Five states and New Zealand are represented in the class. Two Lexington products are also in the class.

“I am excited to announce the incoming class of 2016,” UK head coach Johan Cedergren said. “It has been nearly a two year process to put this class together and we are looking forward to them being here in August.  We have been able to put together a great group of young men who are not only talented on the field but also good in the classroom. 

“Each year I have been here I have felt that the team is getting stronger and stronger. This group is going to continue to push us in our quest for championships.  I ask the Big Blue Nation to join me in welcoming this class of players to Kentucky.”


Timothy Ekpone - Germantown, Md. - Defender            Ekpone is a fullback prospect, with attacking prowess. Athleticism runs in his family. His sister Olivia was a NCAA Champion multiple-time SEC Champion at Texas A&M (she won her three SEC Championships on the UK campus).  A two-year starter for the Bethesda-Olney U.S. Soccer Development Academy, currently playing on the U-18 team.

Cedergren on Ekpone
“Timmy is a tremendous athlete with rare speed.  He played for a very good club team with Bethesda-Olney in the USSDA.  Timmy will add depth to us on the left side either at left back or on the wing.  He is a great competitor and works as hard as any kid as I have ever seen.”


John “Jackson” Hawthorne - Raleigh, N.C. - Goalkeeper
A goalkeeper with great size and quickness.  He has been a starter for the Capital Area Railhawks USSDA for the last two seasons currently playing on the U-18 team.  He has high character and a great work rate.  Has the potential to a be a top-level keeper.

Cedergern on Hawthorne
“Jackson is a GK that we see with a ton of upside.  He is tall and can move quickly.  He has good shot stopping ability and is strong in the air. He will add to our deep pool of talent in the goalkeeping core”

Aime Mabika - Lexington, Ky. – Central defender
Projected as a center back, with the potential to play in holding midfield.  Brings great height to the team  at 6’5” he possesses great skill for a player of this size.  In 2015 he helped lead his Henry Clay High School team to the State Championship game.  He was named an NSCAA High School All-American this season.  He had played for Coach Casper three seasons on the Lexington FC 98 team.

Cedergren on Mabika
“I believe Aime has the ability to be a good player for us over his career.  He is currently the reigning Gatorade Player of the year for the State of Kentucky.  He is a local product coming from Henry Clay High School and playing for Coach Casper with Lexington FC club team. With his size Aime will be able to be a force.  Right now we are looking for him to add depth to our CB position or possibly play in midfield.”


Keyarash Namjoupanah - Nashville, Tenn. - Defender
A solid defender projected to play either center back or right back. Has attended Shattuck Saint Mary’s HS for the last two years, starting on their U-18 USSDA team.  He is currently the captain.  Last season he helped his team to the USSDA National Championships.  He brings a great amount of leadership and experience in big games.

Cedergren on Namjoupanah
“Key was our first commitment for this class. He offers a lot of what we look to find in a player.  Key is a leader. He’s captain of his club team Shattuck St. Mary’s in the USSDA.  He helped to lead them to a spot in the National Championships last season.  Key is a bright student and has great determination.  He will be a player for us that will compete for time in the back four.”


Connor Probert - Auckland, New Zealand - Midfielder
An attacking player projected to play somewhere in midfield.  He was a member of the New Zealand U-17 National Team.  He recently played in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile, starting in three matches and recording an assist against Paraguay.  

Cedergren on Probert
“Connor brings a lot of high level experience with him to Lexington.  He played for the U-17 New Zealand National Team in the past World Cup.  He is a very exciting player, who has been called the best attacking player in New Zealand for his age.  We expect Connor to come in and compete for time playing in any of the front four positions.”


Collin Rose - Lexington, Ky. – Midfielder
A technical central midfielder.  He is expected to play in any of the five midfield positions in UK’s system.  He helped to lead his Henry Clay High School team to the State Final this season.  He has been a member of multiple state and regional teams.  He has played for Coach Casper for three years on the Lexington FC 98 team. 

Cedergren on Rose
Collin is another local player who played with Aime at Henry Clay and on Coach Casper’s Lexington FC team.  Collin is a gifted and technical player.  He can play in the center of midfield either as a deeper player or as a higher playmaker, and he can play wide as well.  There are few players who have the quick feet that Collin possesses.  It will be exciting to see him compete in August.”


Jerome “JJ” Williams - Montgomery, Ala. - Forward
An athletic specimen standing 6’3” 190 pounds. He is also quick and agile.  He has played for the Region Three ODP team, making several overseas trips with them.  His Vestavia Hills team has won the Alabama State Cup three times. Coaches project that he has the tools and potential to have a long career.

Cedergren on Williams
“JJ is a big, strong and athletic target forward who can also play on the wings.  He comes to us after playing with Vestavia Hills Soccer Club in Alabama.  JJ possesses the physical tools to compete right away.  He has good feet for a player his size. He will come in and compete for time playing at target or on the wing.”


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