When head coach Elmar Bolowich announced the nine-man recruiting class scheduled to join Creighton this fall, it consisted of a combination of local, national, and foreign talent, a time-tested approach for Bluejay soccer.
Three Nebraskans will stay in state to start their collegiate careers. Brock Fitzgerald, Alex Prusa and Michael Kluver, club teammates with Omaha FC and members of the Omaha World-Herald's All-Nebraska team, will don the white and blue in 2013.
Kluver, the 2013 Gatorade Nebraska Soccer Player of the Year, finished his high school career at Omaha Skutt as the state's top goalkeeper. In his final prep season, the 6-foot-4 keeper allowed 11 goals, while posting 12 shutouts, leading his team to consecutive state championship games.
The second member of the 2013 class from the Omaha area, Prusa, also had a decorated prep career. The midfielder/defender from Omaha Creighton Prep came just short of winning back-to-back-to-back state titles as the Jr. Jays fell to Omaha South in the championship this spring. Although Prusa may play more of a defensive role at the next level, he does have a knack for scoring as he tallied nine goals in his final season, including the game-winner in the semi-finals of the state tournament.
The final Nebraskan to sign with Creighton is Lincoln Pius X's Brock Fitzgerald. The midfielder is a four-star prospect (of a possible five) according to topdrawersoccer.com, which named him the no. 9 player from the heartland region. Fitzgerald recorded 14 assists in each of his final two prep seasons even though the Thunderbolts moved up a class level in 2013.
In addition to the trio of Nebraskans, the Bluejays will add a few more Americans. Ben Bakke, a defender, is from Minneapolis, MN, but has trained in different parts of the world. His Minnesota Thunder Academy team won three consecutive state titles at the club level. Bakke was given three stars by topdrawersoccer.com. Midfielder Ricardo Perez will likely step in and immediately contribute to the Bluejays' quest the make a third-straight College Cup. Perez, a native of Fort Collins, CO, plays for the Colorado Rapids Reserves and was named a NSCAA All-American in 2012. The technical midfielder was ranked the 19th best prospect in the class of 2013 by topdrawersoccer.com.
Erick Yang and Connor Sparrow round out the American-born recruits for this class. Both will have three years of eligibility at Creighton. Yang, a 5-foot-8 midfielder returns to soccer after exploring a collegiate football career as a placekicker. Yang played most recently for Norcross Fury in his home state of Georgia. Sparrow, the second goalkeeper in the class, has already played Division I soccer. As a freshman, the 6-foot-2 goalie started 15 games at UMKC, including a 3-0 loss to Creighton at Morrison Stadium. Sparrow is a native of St. Louis, MO, where he played for Scott Gallagher Academy.
Timo Pitter and Vincent Keller are no longer the only Germans on roster, as Fabian Herbers and Marvin Iskra round out this class. Herbers, a 6-foot midfielder/defender from Ahaus, Germany, started 29 of VFL Rhede's 35 matches last season, scoring seven goals and recording 17 assists. Iskra, of Zülpich, figures to be part of the Bluejays' attack going forward. While playing for TSC Euskirchen, Iskra beat the keeper seven times, and assisted five goals in 22 appearances with the club.
Bolowich, also a native of Germany, is excited for Herbers, Iskra, and the rest of the 2013 signees to get to Omaha to start training. A number of the players will be expected to contribute immediately as Creighton enters the Big East, a conference that figures to be one of the stronger leagues in America.
"Several of these players will compete for immediate playing time, and based on our evaluations, they are talented enough to do so. Goalkeepers Michael Kluver and Connor Sparrow as well as seven field players bring a great balance to our squad," said Bolowich in a statement released by the athletic department. "I am very excited to welcome these student-athletes to Creighton in August, and begin training for our first season in the new Big East Conference. This class will add a great deal of strength and depth to our team. We will face a very challenging schedule this fall, and with our newcomers and returning players we have a strong group to play our ‘Creighton Style' of entertaining, attacking soccer."
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