CHICAGO – UIC head men’s soccer coach Sean Phillips announced the Flames’ 2014 recruiting class on Thursday. The group is comprised of six products out of Illinois who have a collection of championship experience at the high school and club levels.
Joining the Flames this season are Jose Fuentes (Chicago, Ill./Lane Tech/Raiders FC), Roberto Torres (Hickory Hills, Ill./Amos Alonzo Stagg/Raiders FC), Marco Alvarez (Oswego, Ill./Oswego East/Dominican University/Ajax FC), Nathan Laude (Mount Prospect, Ill./Wheeling/Raiders FC), Elias El Metennani (Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park and River Forest/Sockers FC USSDA) and Michael Stankiewicz (Mount Prospect, Ill./Prospect/DePaul/AAC Eagles).
“We are excited to welcome this group of players to the UIC Soccer program,” Phillips said. “Coaches (Aleksey) Korol and (Minos) Vlamakis did another outstanding job of identifying players who have not only the talent but also the character to help our program continue the journey to the top of the Horizon League, Great Lakes region and into the NCAA tournament."
Hometown: Chicago, Ill. High School: Lane Tech Club: Raiders FC Height/Weight: 6-0/160 Position: MF/F
Fuentes enters his freshman year at UIC with a glittering reputation after a successful high school and club career. Starting on his high school's varsity team as a freshman, Fuentes collected 54 goals and 28 assists over a career that saw him named IHSA All-State, NSCAA All-Region and an NSCAA All-American after his senior year. At the club level, Jose capped off his youth career in style when his Raiders FC team captured the U18 Midwest Regional Championship for US Club Soccer. Playing as an attacking midfielder, winger and striker, Fuentes was an integral part of Coach Graham Brennan's trophy-winning side.
Coach Phillips on Fuentes: “A talented attacking player at the high school and youth levels, Jose has the physical, technical and mental abilities to make an impact right away.”
Hometown: Hickory Hills, Ill. High School: Amos Alonzo Stagg Club: Raiders FC Height/Weight: 5-7/158 Position: MF/F
Torres ended his high school and club career as one of the most decorated players to come out of Illinois in recent memory. He scored 38 goals and 43 assists over his high school career which helped the Stagg Chargers to their best record in school history while advancing the furthest in the IHSA playoffs during his senior year. Named IHSA All-State for his exploits, his reputation was enhanced while playing a year up with Raiders FC, lifting the club to unprecedented heights from 2010-2014. At the high school age group, "Beto" was the youngest player yet a critical part of teams that went on to win four League titles, two State Cups, two Regional Championships, a Midwest Regional League title and the US Youth Soccer National League Championship.
Coach Phillips on Torres: “A clever, left sided player who has championship experience, we are looking forward to Beto competing for playing time right away and adding depth into our attacking core.”
Hometown: Oswego, Ill. High School: Oswego East Last College: Dominican Club: Ajax FC Height/Weight: 5-9/165 Position: MF/D
Alvarez joins the program after two highly-successful seasons playing for Dominican University in River Forest, Ill. The Oswego, Ill., native had 12 goals and 16 assists while helping the Stars win back-to-back NACC Regular Season and NACC Tournament championships, garnering All-NACC selections in both seasons. Alvarez, whose twin brother Jorge currently plays on the UIC men's soccer team, was a standout athlete at the high school and club level, notching 34 goals and 27 assists at Oswego East while helping his Ajax FC club team qualify for the 2012 USYS Region II Championships.
Coach Phillips on Alvarez: “Marco is a proven winner at the youth and collegiate level whose experience and ability to play multiple positions will be invaluable to this still young group.”
Hometown: Mount Prospect, Ill. High School: Wheeling Club: Raiders FC Height/Weight: 5-11/165 Position: D/F
Laude enters his freshman year at UIC after an extremely successful 12 months of soccer. First, he captained his high school team to a 23-2-2 record and a second place finish in the IHSA 3A Championship, the most successful season in school history. He followed up his eventful fall with an equally impressive spring club season, helping Raiders FC win the US Club Regional Championship at the U18 age group. Named to the IHSA All-Sectional team in 2013, the versatile Laude was a rock at center-back for the Wildcats, and he spent time in defense and attack throughout the winter and spring season for Raiders FC.
Coach Phillips on Laude: “Nathan is a tremendous athlete with winning qualities who is just starting to discover how good of a soccer player he can become. He will provide immediate depth and competition to our squad in multiple lines.”
Elias El Metennani
Hometown: Oak Park, Ill. High School: Oak Park and River Forest Club: Sockers FC USSDA Height/Weight: 5-11/160 Position: D
El Metennani joins the UIC men's soccer team after honing his talents in the Sockers FC US Soccer Development Academy program and Top Talent program for the last three seasons. The defender helped the club to nine clean sheets this past season, and he was an integral part of the 2012-2013 team that had a defense ranked in the Top 10 of the USSDA based on goals conceded. The OPRF graduate also chipped in with 10 assists while playing for Sockers FC and notched 16 assists in his freshman and sophomore seasons for his high school team.
Coach Phillips on El Metennani: “Elias is an experienced left sided defender who can play wide or centrally in the back line. His time with Sockers FC has given him the ability to provide immediate depth and compete for a starting position right away.”
Hometown: Mount Prospect, Ill. High School: Prospect Last College: DePaul Club: AAC Eagles Height/Weight: 5-11/175 Position: MF
Stankiewicz joins the UIC men's soccer team after graduating from DePaul this past spring. The Prospect High School alum featured in 44 games over his career, scoring two goals and assisting on three others from midfield. He has been a standout player on local powerhouse club AAC Eagles, the Chicago-based Polish club to who have garnered State, Regional and National success over the past few seasons. Coach Phillips on Stankiewicz: “Michael joins us after completing his undergraduate degree and playing at Big East member DePaul. He will strengthen our central midfield immediately with his Big East collegiate experience and time playing with one of the top United States Adult Soccer Association teams in the country.”