ODU Men's Soccer Signs Seven for 2009 Season

February 18, 2009
By ODU Athletics

Feb. 18, 2009

NORFOLK, Va. - The ODU men's soccer coaching staff announced the addition of seven players to the team today. Joining the Monarchs in 2009 are Alex De John (Marlboro, N.J.), Jason Gaylord (Kendall, N.Y.), Chris Harmon (Downington, Pa.), Jordan LeBlanc (Haverford, Pa.), Brandon Ricker (Pembroke, N.H.), Yannick Smith (Hillsborough, N.J.) and Sean Stowe (Midlothian, Va.). The class is a versatile group, filling needs all over the field for head coach Alan Dawson.

De John is a defender from Marlboro, New Jersey and brings four years of varsity starter experience to the Monarchs. He was team captain in 2008 and was an All-District defender for three years. He was an Honorable Mention for the New Jersey All-State team in 2007 and earned Third Team honors in 2008. De John has played for the NJ ODP State team for three of the last four years and was on the Region 1 ODP Team in 2007 and 2008.

"Alex is a hardnosed defender who competes on every play," said coach Dawson. "His physical presence and athleticism will allow him to immediately compete for a spot in our backline."

Gaylord will also join the Monarchs back line, from Kendall, New York. Gaylord was named MVP of his high school team for three of his four years at Kendall HS and was captain of the team twice. In 2008, Jason earned All-New York state honors and added his third Genesee Region First Team honor. He has played for the ODP New York west state team from 2004-2007 and was on the ODP Region 1 team in 2007 with fellow recruit Alex De John. Gaylord also played in the prestigious academy league for the Empire United Soccer Academy.

"Jason is very good on the ball and attacks well out of the back. The fact that he is naturally left-footed and has good size will add to his success," said Dawson of Gaylord.

Chris Harmon is a midfielder/forward from Downington, Pennsylvania and will add depth to the offense for the Monarchs. He played for the FC Delco club team, winning the Pennsylvania State Cup seven times, as well as the US Region 1 championship three times. Delco was also a US Nationals Finalist once while Harmon manned the middle of the field. He was team captain and MVP for Downington West HS, leading the team to the 2008 state championship and a #5 final ranking according to the ESPN RISE FAB 50, ranking the top high school teams in the country.

"Chris has a knack for goal and great instincts for the game," Dawson said. "His creativity will immediately add another dimension to our attack."

Jordan LeBlanc, a midfielder from Haverford, Pennsylvania, will also add depth to the midfield for ODU this season. LeBlanc was also on FC Delco, with Harmon, and won Region 1 three times, as well as finishing third at USYSA Nationals twice. For The Haverford School, LeBlanc was named the Boy's Soccer Player of the Year by the Daily Times, team MVP and also was awarded the Mawr Rotary Club award for Outstanding Male Soccer Player. A first team All-State midfielder his senior year, he also was named the league MVP.

"Jordan is a consistent competitor who leads by example and makes everyone around him better. His midfield presence and understanding of the game will strengthen our team," Dawson said about LeBlanc.

Ricker, from Pembroke, New Hampshire, will play forward for the Monarchs. Ricker was the team captain in 2008 and was nominated for All-State in 2006 for Pembroke Academy High School. He has also been in the New Hampshire Olympic Development Program since age 10, as well as playing in a premiere league and the US Soccer Development Academy League. He was the leading scorer for the 2007 Seacoast United U16 Premier team.

"Brandon has joined the squad for the Spring and has already show us his pace up front," said Dawson. "His early arrival will make him stronger both physically and mentally for the Fall season."

Yannick Smith will also join the attack for Coach Dawson, out of Hillsborough, New Jersey. Smith is a speedy forward who also earned a letter running track in high school. He was team captain for two years and All-State twice. Smith was a part of the New Jersey State ODP from 2005-07 and the Region 1 ODP from 2006-08. He also was in the Super Y ODP National Pool and was named to the 2007 Super Y All-League team. He was also a part of several championship club teams, including the Player Development Academy team from 2007-08. He and the PDA team won the Jefferson Cup, the Disney Chelsea Soccer Showcase, the adidas Potomac Memorial, the NJ National Championship State Cup and the Region 1 Premier League.

"Yannick has another gear in terms of speed and is very smooth on the ball. He is an attacking player who will keep opposition defenders honest with his positive play and pace."

Finally, rounding out the class for 2009, is a goalkeeper from Midlothian, Virginia, Sean Stowe. Stowe has been playing for the FC Richmond Magic club team since he was 10 years old and has been captain since he was 15. He lettered all four years, once at Clover Hill HS and the other three at Cosby HS. Stowe was in net and posted a 0.33 goals against average for the season his junior year when his team became the first team in the Dominion District to ever go undefeated (14-0). He also led the Dominion in shutouts both his sophomore and junior years.

"Sean is a goalkeeper who matches his natural talent with his great work ethic and will raise the competitive bar amongst our keepers," said Dawson.

The team welcomes the seven new recruits to the team after seeing the departure of just three seniors this season. About the class as a whole, Dawson finished:

"I think this is one of our strongest recruiting classes in many years and is a great foundation for the future. Our intent is to add a few more pieces to make it even stronger."

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