First look at SDSU Men’s Soccer No. 1 recruiting class in the nation

A friendly match versus California Baptist gives fans a first peek at SDSU’s freshly revamped men’s soccer team.

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Brenda Moffitt / goaztecs

Freshman CJ Fodrey celebrates scoring the Aztecs’ second goal of the match during their friendly against California Baptist University at the SDSU Sports Deck on Aug. 19.

by Morgan Prickett, Sports Editor

San Diego State University has finalized what Top Drawer Soccer is calling the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation.

Following the departure of 10 players, some graduating and others moving onto new challenges at other schools, the Aztecs have welcomed 15 new additions to the team Four transfers join 11 freshmen, six of which are in Top Drawer’s Top 150.

“I think our guys have a really good understanding that there’s a target on their backs because of that (Top Drawer Soccer’s ranking) but I don’t think it’s something that they carry with them,” Head Coach Ryan Hopkins said. “I think it’s something that was fun when it was going on and now we’re just ready to play and we just got to figure out how to win some games.”

Many of the new Aztec additions are experienced and their names are recognized on high-level teams across the country. Multiple players have come from Major League Soccer academies while others earned playing time in the United Soccer League and its academies. Incoming freshman Noah Crétier has even earned minutes playing in one of the most competitive soccer tournaments on the planet, the UEFA Europa League.

“They understand how to take care of their bodies, how to be in the locker room, how to eat, and how to sleep so I think that closes that gap when they start to hit some of those walls of fatigue and things like that,” Coach Hopkins said in regards to how the experience of his players is beneficial to the team.

This newly revamped men’s soccer team played their first organized match in a 2-2 tie against the University of California, Irvine during a friendly match on Aug. 14. 

On Aug. 19, the Aztecs got their first taste of action at home when they took on the California Baptist Lancers at the freshly resurfaced SDSU Sports Deck.

The new freshmen arrivals CJ Fodrey, Isaie Louis and Tristan Vivianni all earned themselves a start against the Lancers. Newcomers Javi Camargo, Crétier, Logan Erb earned playing time as well as transfers junior Jules Anderson and senior Joe Daluz.

Both teams showed each other early on that despite this being a friendly, neither side was willing to just roll over. A few heated exchanges and shoves kept the game spicy and competitive. Both teams relentlessly pushed the pace and constantly tried to get the ball to their attackers.

“Fans are going to love to come to these types of games,” Fodrey said. “We love to get more and more out here and as soon as PAC-12 comes hopefully we’ll have a bunch of fans out here.”

The first goal of the friendly came less than two minutes before halftime. After being substituted on, Camargo opened the scoring for the Aztecs in his home debut with a low controlled shot into the bottom left corner of the net.

“Javi is an under the radar guy from Oceanside that burst onto the scene with his work with the San Diego Loyal and Oceanside Breakers,” Hopkins said to goaztecs.com. “His engine and ground coverage makes him a more modern-day No. 10 and his vocal leadership will be a welcome addition to the group.”

Forty seconds into the second half, Fodrey added another goal to the tally. Camargo again played a role in the goal, this time registering the assist to his new teammate.

“CJ is a local guy that has all the attacking qualities we look for in our offensive organization. He has pace, can take players on 1v1, a powerful strike and can play in combinations,” Hopkins said about Fodrey to goaztecs.com. “He has gained wonderful experience playing with the first team of the San Diego Loyal in the USL Championship and these experiences will help prepare him for the rigors of the college game and the Pac-12.”

The Lancers eventually found their footing in the second half of the match and evened it at 2-2 with back-to-back goals. The second of the Lancers’ two goals was undoubtedly the goal of the match. A near 30-yard freekick by junior Luis Mueller caught goalkeeper Erb off guard and sailed into the net.

Throughout the match, head coach Hopkins made countless substitutions and observed each of his players closely. Soon he will be tasked with choosing his starting 11 for their official season opener at CSU Northridge on Aug. 25.

Last season the Aztecs went undefeated in non-conference play for the first time since 2005. They will be looking to keep the streak going into this season with a win against CSU Northridge. But one of the team’s main focuses will be proving themselves in the competitive PAC-12.

“Our season is just going to get tougher and tougher as it goes on, especially with the PAC-12,” Camargo said. “But that’s what we’re preparing for and the NCAA championship is what we’re aiming for.”

The Aztecs official home-opener will be on Aug. 28 against the Loyola Marymount University Lions at 7:00pm.