UVU men’s soccer receiving national attention in offseason

UVU midfielder Paul Hoffmeister attempts to dribble around UMKC midfielder Hamish Smylie

UVU men’s soccer head coach Greg Maas is establishing himself and his program as one of the best in the country. On Feb. 3, all Maas did was sign the 12th-best recruiting class in the nation. Maas added four “richly talented” players to a roster that returns all but one player from a team that made the NCAA tournament in just their second year of Division I competition.

The biggest sign was U-18 U.S. Men’s National Team member Mckay Eves. Eves is out of Casa Grande, Ariz. and has been a defender for the U.S. Men’s National Team U-14, U-15, U-16, U-17, and U-18 teams of the past five years. He is the No. 9 prospect in the country, according to College Soccer news and the No. 1 player in the Rocky Mountain and Southwest Regions. Eves also competes for the Real Salt Lake Academy Team in his hometown.

According to an article on TopDrawerSoccer.com, the author wrote that the Eves signing is going against the grain of athletes jumping into the college game early from their MLS Academy teams. The author also went on to say that Head Coach Greg Maas is building a powerhouse in Utah._D4S1631-as-Smart-Object-1

Besides Eves, Maas also signed Alec Felix of Mapleton, Utah, Joseph Wheelwright of Pleasant View, and Kaleb Augat of Riverton. Augat is the only one who won’t enroll at UVU in the fall as he is planning on serving an LDS mission.

All four players have played in various MLS Development Academies as Eves and Felix have both spent time on the Real Salt Lake Academy Team in Casa Grande. Wheelwright is a goalkeeper, who is on an LDS mission at the current time and was a part of the Portland Timbers Academy before he left in 2014. He is expected home in July and will enroll and compete for playing time in the fall. Augat has played for both the Timbers and Real Salt Lake Academy teams.

“This year’s signing class is richly talented and will have an immediate impact on our program,” Maas said in a statement to wolverine green.com. “These young men have gained invaluable experience in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, and with Real Salt Lake and the Portland Timbers of MLS. Their drive to succeed will fit seamlessly as a student-athlete here at UVU.”

A month prior to National Signing Day, Maas also announced that Aaron Caprio would be transferring to UVU from the University of Portland. He was the 5A Player of the Year in 2013 at Lehi High School prior to attending Portland. Caprio brings NCAA Division I experience as he played in 20 games for Portland during his freshman year in 2013.

It may be too early to speculate but the UVU men’s soccer team, which earned the schools first-ever Top-25 ranking in any sport in 2015, is likely going to be the preseason favorite to win the Western Athletic Conference and will most likely start the season ranked in the Top-25 national polls.

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