OMAHA, Neb. - The Creighton men's soccer team announced the addition of seven players for the 2014 season, including two that joined the Bluejays this spring.
Head coach Elmar Bolowich and the Bluejays welcomed David Abidor and Lucas Stauffer to the team in January. In addition, Creighton signed Fernando Castellanos, Noah Franke, Mitchell LaGro, Ricardo "Ricky" Lopez-Espin and McAmos "Mikey" Paye during the spring signing period for the fall of 2014.
Abidor comes to Creighton after spending his first three seasons at Dayton. Standing 6'1'', Abidor will have one year of eligibility remaining. Abidor appeared in 51 games for Dayton over three seasons, including 47 starts. Abidor collected a combined six assists as a Flyer, earning an All-America First Team selection from Jewish Sports Review following the 2012 season. As a freshman (2011), he was an Atlantic-10 Preseason All-Rookie Team selection and named Dayton's Rookie of the Year. A native of Northbrook, Ill., Abidor is one of three Creighton additions to have played for Shattuck-St. Mary's Academy in Faribault, Minn.
The second Bluejay to begin play in January, Stauffer also played for Shattuck-St. Mary's Academy in Faribault, Minn. A current member of the US Futsal National Team, Stauffer was the youngest U.S. Futsal player in the program’s history when head coach Keith Tozer brought him into the U.S. Roster in September of 2011. A native of Louisville, Ky, Stauffer helped Shattuck-St. Mary's Academy to the U17/18 US Academy National Finals in 2013.
Two of four Bluejays to begin their tenure at Creighton in the fall of 2014, Castellanos and Paye are midfielders coming from Tyler JC in Tyler, Texas. Castellanos was a 2013 National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) All American. A three time USYSA (United States Youth Soccer Association) National Finalist with Triangle United, Paye was a teammate of current Bluejays, Alex Bolowich and Zabarle Kollie. That youth club team was also coached by Creighton head coach Elmar Bolowich. Castellanons and Paye, led Tyler JC to the NJCAA National Tournament Finals last season as well as the NJCAA National Title in 2012. Both Castellanos and Paye are native of Raleigh, N.C.
Expected to play the midfield, Franke comes to Creighton from Orlando City Academy. With six goals and five assists as a junior, Franke led Olympia High School in assists as a junior. Franke is already assured a spot on the U-23 Orlando team this summer as Orlando City will become an MLS franchise by 2015.
LaGro is a defender for the Solar Chelsea Academy in Dallas, Texas. The 5'10'' center-back has been a starter since his freshman season. LaGro has led Solar Chelsea to a fourth place finish in the 2011 National Championship tournament.
Lopez-Espin is the third player to join Creighton from Shattuck St. Mary's Academy. A forward at the US U20 National Team Camp under Head Coach Tab Ramos, Lopez-Espin is a native of Miami, Fla. Lopez-Espin teamed with Stauffer to lift Shattuck-St. Mary's Academy to the U17/18 US Academy National Finals in 2013.
"The Creighton Bluejays Soccer Program is welcoming an outstanding recruiting class. These student athletes will compete for immediate playing time and starting positions. Fernando Castellanos and Mikey Paye bring already valuable experience and athletic success, by having competed for National Championships with Tyler Junior College in 2012 and 2013," said Bolowich. "Mitch La Gro and Noah Franke are solid starters for their very successful Academy Programs at Solar in Dallas and Orlando City in Florida. Ricardo Lopez- Espin had a successful career at Shattuck St. Mary, Minn. Last month he was selected to be a member of the U-20 US National Pool.
Lucas Stauffer and David Abidor are already integrating themselves into the program, and will be able to participate in spring competition with the Bluejays."