Q&A with Bob Ammann, Part III

After 18 years of dedicated service to Cal State Fullerton, former Titans goalkeeper and long-time assistant coach Bob Ammann was promoted to lead CSF's men's soccer program. TitanCentral.com recently sat down coach Ammann and in Part III he discusses recruiting.

TitanCentral.com: Let's talk about recruiting. Tell us about the new recruits you have coming in. There's been lots of publicity with the Farfan brothers and also let us in on some of the guys the fans don't know a whole lot about.

Bob Ammann: Sure. Michael and Gabe [Farfan] were my first recruits. I signed them under the assumption that I'm taking over. They started in the spring and before they ever kicked a ball, they elevated our program. Every coach in the country was like, "How did you get them. I can't believe it. My gosh they are going to make such a difference for you guys..." and they are.

Not only on the field but also in the perception of the program. "Wow, if those two players are going there, they must know something that we don't know and what's there?" Now there is a huge interest from every recruit that we talk to.

On that note one of their teammates from the national team actually signed. Michael Balogun is a U17 national player, he is from Houston, tremendous player but we're just waiting on his final clearance. We've has some issues with national players in the past because of the academy down in Florida so we're hopeful that it will all work out.

Another player who is going to be helpful is Omar Rodriguez who is a transfer from Taft junior college, originally from Las Vegas. We got a local kid out of Villa Park high school, Matt Sanders who is an extremely, extremely gifted defender. He was actually coached by a former Titan at Villa Park, Rick Garcia. Ricky has spent a lot of time with him and he says he foresees Matt doing more than Brian Dunseth did when Brian was here and we know all that Brian did and has gone on to do so we are very high on him.

We have a number of other players, Shay Spitz, who was born in Hong Kong, raised in Portugal and lived and went through his final schooling in Australia. He kind of just fell into our laps. He contacted us. His cousin started the Rugby club here at Fullerton so because of that relationship we were one of the places he contacted, saw him play and now he's here for us and we expect a lot of things from him as well. He has the attitude, the desire that I am looking for in my players.

I have signed two players that we are extremely excited about. They won't be coming in until the spring. One is Juan Talento from Santa Ana Valley. He was the CIF player of the year. His team won the Division III championship. He scored 47 goals this past season which was by far the most by any high school player.

Also signed a kid out of Guatemala, Andreas Jarquin. I was invited to go down there in March, saw this kid and he has already played five times for the full national team. He is part of the Under-20 National Team but because of their school system he will graduate in October. He has told the National team, "Listen, I am going to Cal State Fullerton, I need to stay in school, this is extremely important." And so he is staying in school and bypassing the qualifications for the U20 so he can graduate in October and be able to come here in the spring.

TitanCentral.com: So will they be eligible to play this year?

Bob Ammann: They will be able to play with us in the spring. They're like Gabe and Mike. They graduated last June but they didn't come in until the spring. These two players are in the same boat but they are two more players that we can definitely build the program around.

TitanCentral.com: Can you tell us more about the status of Michael Balogun?

Bob Ammann: He is here. The NCAA clearinghouse finally has all of his documents that they need to be able to say, "Yes he's a qualifier", or, "No, he's not a qualifier."

The problem occurred, because of his national team experience, living different places, he actually attended three different high schools. The high school he graduated from has the majority of the combined transcripts but the clearinghouse will not certify based on that. They need original transcripts from each high school. With most Fall sports, except for the likes of football where the clearinghouse does a little bit more, there's not a lot of quickness involved to expedite the process.

It also falls back on the high schools. When a kid graduates most high schools say he's gone and not our problem anymore. Now you are having kids come back and say I need things and then all of a sudden you get to crunch time and you're just hoping they get to it. This process was just now completed yesterday (Aug.24th) and I am hoping at any time that a decision will be made.

TitanCentral.com: Is he able to practice or sign up for classes or anything?

Bob Ammann: No. He's not been able to practice, he can't sign up for classes, he's not even admitted into school yet because his grant and his scholarship is based on his eligibility. We're under some tight guidelines and timelines to get this thing going.

TitanCentral.com: Now what about Pete Kingman from England?

Bob Ammann: Pete Kingman was actually signed to come in when Gabe and Mike did unfortunately two days before he was to fly here his father called and said he was injured in a game. He broke his tibula and fibula, compound fracture and he doctors over there wouldn't let him fly. He just came over and he's still not 100%. I'm hoping, with therapy and the stuff he's supposed to be doing, he'll be ready to go by the time league starts. He is a top-top recruit. He has the ability to go on and play at the next level and he will be a huge asset to us when he's healthy and ready to go.