UAB men's soccer head coach Mike Getman announced the addition of goalkeeper Rafael Ville, a native of Paris, France, to this year's squad.
Ville will have two years of eligibility remaining and comes to Birmingham after a decorated prep career. The junior netminder developed his skills in the famous INF Clairefontaine Academy until he was 16 years old. The academy is so prestigious, in fact, that it only extends invitations to four goalkeepers in all of France.
Ville played his club ball for the famous Olympique Lyon Academy in France.
"Rafael comes from a great school and a great tradition of excellence," Getman said. "I expect him to compete for a starting role right away.
"Our recruiting class is now complete and I think it is one of the best recruiting classes in the nation."
Ville joins the rest of the UAB signees as newcomers to the 2012 squad, which will begin camp in one week (Aug. 7). The Blazers are coming off an outstanding 2011 season in which they captured the C-USA regular season title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Below is a complete list of the newcomers to join the UAB men's soccer team:
Fatai Alabi (Houston, Texas/Wallace State CC)
Alabi played at Wallace State Community College last season under head coach Barry Spitzer. Alabi, who will have two years of eligibility remaining with the Blazers, had a stellar season in his only year with the Lions, leading the squad to a 10-2 overall record. He finished the year with five goals and a team-leading 11 assists for 21 points as a defensive midfielder. Alabi came to Wallace State from Houston, Texas where he was an all-district performer out of Hastings High School.
"Fatai has all the elements we are looking for and is a big-time player," Getman said. "We expect him to make an immediate impact. He is big, athletic and very skillful. I think he is one of the top 10 recruits in the nation."
Aaron Getman-Pickering (New Paltz, N.Y./New Paltz HS)
Getman was a three-year starter at New Paltz High School. He named the team captain in each of his last two years and led team in scoring both seasons. Getman helped lead the team to the state sectionals in 2012. He is an accomplished athlete, excelling in his high school's varsity tennis and skiing teams. Getman also had success in the classroom, earning a 3.96 GPA and was selected as a member of the National Honor Society.
"Aaron is an accomplished player in high school and is a terrific athlete," Getman said. "He is extremely skilled and I expect him to compete for playing time."
Alan Harwell (Montgomery, Ala./Brewbaker Technology HS)
Harwell is a forward out of Montgomery, Ala. who is one of the most prolific goal scorers in the state. He finished his career at Brewbaker Technology High School with 134 goals, which ranks sixth all-time in the state of Alabama, along with 53 assists.
Harwell played his club soccer for the Capital City Streaks coached by Charlie Brightwell. He was a member of the United States Soccer Academy select team, while played for BUSA Academy. He is ranked by TopDrawerSoccer.com as the No. 1 player in the South Region, No. 20 forward in the nation and No. 65 overall player in the nation.
"Alan has proved time and time again he is a big time goal scorer," Getman said. "With his athleticism and skill, he is a hard man to stop. I expect him to make an immediate impact for our team."
Patrick Huang (Huntsville, Ala./Louisville)
Huang will have two years of eligibility remaining once he suits up for the Blazers. The native of Huntsville, Ala. has already enrolled for the spring semester at UAB and will play for the Green & Gold during the spring season.
Huang played at two previous schools prior to joining the Blazers, having made stops in Virginia Tech in 2010 and Louisville in 2011.
As a freshman with the Hokies, Huang saw action in 14 games, starting five. He scored goals against North Carolina and Duke, and finished the year with seven points (2g, 3a). At Louisville, Huang was forced to sit out the season as a medical redshirt.
Huang attended Grissom High School where he finished his three-year career with a school record 87 goals. He was selected as the Huntsville Times Super All-Metro Player of the Year in 2008, as well as earning first-team all-state and team MVP honors.
"Patrick is a very quick and technical attacking player," Getman said. "He is one of the top players to ever come out of this state. He brings a great attacking ability and a lot of experience to our team. It is also a big plus that he has joined our team this January and has already started training with us."
Joe Kuzminsky (Littleton, Colo./D'Evelyn HS)
Kuzminsky was a two-time first-team all-conference performer at D'Evelyn High School in Littleton, Colo. As a senior, Kuzminsky maintained a 0.87 goals against average on his way to first-team All-Jefferson County honors. In the classroom, the 6-foot-4 goalkeeper earned a spot on his school's honor roll.
Kuzminsky played his club soccer for the Colorado Rapids (Major League Soccer) Developmental Academy team.
"We got to know Joe through our winter camp," Getman said. "He impressed us greatly with his hard work and excellent athletic ability. I think he has all the tools to be a big-time college goalkeeper. I am confident he will challenge for the starting position right away."
Alex Renner (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan HS)
Renner, a 6-3 shotstopper who attends Nashville's Father Ryan HS, has had an outstanding prep career. A three-year starter in the net, Renner helped lead his team to the 2011 Tennessee state championship and set a school record with eight consecutive regular-season and playoff shutouts. The honor roll student has been named as one of the top-20 junior goalkeepers in the country and one of the top-30 overall players in the South Region by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
As a member of the Brentwood ‘94 Elite team, Renner helped his team to a pair of state championships (2008 and 2010), as well as two Premier League Central titles (2008 and 2009).
"Alex is a terrific student and athlete that we got to know through our camps," Getman said. "He has all the attributes we are looking for. He is big, strong, athletic and skilled. And he is also a great kid who likes to work hard. I expect him to compete for playing time right away."
Freddy Ruiz (Fort Payne, Ala./Fort Payne HS)
Ruiz is a forward and attacking midfielder out of Fort Payne, Ala. Following his junior season at Fort Payne HS, Ruiz was voted as the Birmingham News Player of the Year after leading his team to the 5A State Championship He also earned state tournament MVP honors in 2011. He finished the year with 49 goals and now has scored 133 goals in his career which ranks fifth all-time in the state. Ruiz is also a member of the National Honor Society.
Ruiz played his club soccer for Vestavia Soccer Club and coach Rocky Harmon. He helped lead his team to several state championships in the last few years nad has been recognized as a Boys Soccer State All-Star by ESPN Rise in 2011.
"Freddy has all the tools to be successful," Getman said. "He is quick and skillful and has a great soccer brain. I expect him to contribute right away. Freddy has scored goals for every team he has played for. I expect the same to continue at UAB."
Ian Svantesson (Longwood, Fla./Lyman HS).
Svantesson is a 6-5 forward/defender from Longwood, Fla. who is a senior at Lyman HS. Was a two-time first-team all-Central Florida selection (2011 and 2012). Led his team in scoring as a junior, while also earning Defensive MVP honors. He also a standout in the classroom as a member of Mensa and the National Honor Society.
Svantesson played his club soccer for Florida Soccer Alliance, coached by Eric Sellick. He was an ODP National Youth Player in each of the last two years and helped his team to a second-place finish at the 2011 Florida State Cup.
"Ian has all the tools to be successful," Getman said. "He is exceptionally quick for his size and can play in several positions. He also has the skills to go with his physical abilities. I expect Ian to play a big role in our team right away."
Hunter Weber (Little Rock, Ark./Little Rock Central HS).
Weber is a 6-4 keeper who is a four-year starter at Little Rock Central High School. He earned all-state accolades in Arkansas following both his junior and senior seasons (2011 and 2012) and is a three-time all-conference and all-region honoree. He has also performed well in the classroom, earning a spot on his school's honor roll every semester in high school.
Weber played his club ball for the Arkansas Nike Rush team, helping lead his squad to numerous club championships. In 2011, Weber recorded 10 shutous and a goals against average of 0.89. He was named to the Rush's National Select team as a junior in high school.
"Hunter is a very athletic goalkeeper," Getman said. "He has the tools to compete for the starting position right away. After getting to know him through our camps, I am convinced he has all the tools to be successful."