Clayton State Announces Men's Soccer Signing Class

Clayton State Announces Men's Soccer Signing Class

MORROW, Ga. - Clayton State head men's soccer coach Pete Petersen has announced an impressive 11 person signing class featuring a pair of Division I transfers and a junior college national champion as the Lakers enter the 2019 season.

THEO BLACHON: 6-5, Junior, Goalkeeper, St. Etienne, France (Tyler Junior College/Lycee Tezenas du Montcel)
Theo Blachon comes to the Lakers following a two-year career at Tyler Junior College in Texas, a stretch that included a 2017 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship.

That year he helped lead the club to a 23-2 record while playing seven games in goal, six of them starts. In that time he went 5-1, posting five shutouts, a 0.50 goals against average and .800 save percentage as the club claimed the first of back-to-back Region XIV Championships.

In his first collegiate action he notched five saves in a 3-0 win at Jacksonville (8/29) and would defeat them twice more as a sophomore, one of them by shutout, as he posted a 2-1 record in 270 minutes of action.

LANGSTON BLACKSTOCK: 6-1, Sophomore, Forward, Marietta, Ga. (Coastal Carolina University/Marietta High School)
From nearby Marietta, Georgia, Blackstock comes back home after seeing action at nationally ranked Division I Coastal Carolina last season.

While with the Chanticleers he played in eight games, including 35 minutes vs. No. 17 UCLA (8/24) in his first collegiate action.

The competition would get no easier in his very next game as he recorded 26 minutes in a 2-1 double overtime victory over No. 13 Georgetown (8/26). He would then see 11 minutes against Memphis (8/30) before coming off the bench for CCU. Academically, he qualified for the Dean's List with a 3.4 GPA.

In addition to playing at Marietta High School, Blackstock competed at the club level with Concorde Fire at the DA Academy level. He comes in already being familiar with what it takes to be a Laker having been coached by former Clayton State defender and assistant coach Karl Haggon (2007). During his junior and senior seasons he combined to put home a total of 30 goals (18 as a senior).

DARIUS FREDERICKS: 6-0, Freshman, Defender, Pickering, Ontario, Canada (St. Mary's Catholic Secondary School)
A unique individual for Clayton State, Darius Fredericks comes to Morrow, Georgia as the first "legacy" player in program history. A second generation Laker, he follows in the footsteps of his Dad, Gavin, who played for the program from 1996-97.

His son's career has seen him play for St. Mary's Catholic Secondary School in Pickering, Ontario, Canada. During that time he helped the Monarchs to an undefeated season and Lake Ontario Secondary School Athletics (LOSSA) Championship as a junior.

That same season he was called up to the senior team to compete in the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) championships. Additionally, he helped the club to LOSSA semifinal berths as a freshman and junior and a 2-1 Ontario Player Development League (ODPL) Cup win over Toronto FC.

TOBIAS GURTNER: 6-2, Graduate, Defender, Pfaffenhofen, Germany (Hochchule-Management)
Gurtner adds a veteran presence as he comes to the United States as a graduate student following time at Fachoberschule Ingolstadt at the collegiate level.

While with FI he helped lead them to the Bayernliga Championship in the Fifth Division in 2015-16 and prior to that was a club staple throughout Germany. He has more than a decade of experience with the latter, including playing for TSB Eching/Bezirksliga in the Seventh Division for the past two years the highest and second highest youth leagues in the country.

ANGEL LOPEZ: 5-10, Freshman, Goalkeeper, Morrow, Ga. (Woodland High School)
A local product, Lopez joins the Lakers after playing four years of varsity soccer at Woodland High School in Stockbridge, Georgia.

While with the Wolves he earned the right to serve as the team's starting captain as both a junior and a senior and was the school's nominee for Henry County Athlete of the Year.

At the club level he played for Georgia ODP National, AFC Lightning, GSA and Concorde Fire. While with Georgia ODP he helped lead the team to a third place national finish.

HENRY NGUYEN: 5-10, Junior, Midfielder, Helsinki, Finland (Cal State Bakersfield/Sotunki Upper Secondary School)
Nguyen brings two years of NCAA Division I experience at Cal State Bakersfield with him to the Lakers after an impressive youth career in his native Finland.

While with the Roadrunners he played nearly 2,000 minutes in his two seasons, logging1,194 as a true freshman in 2017. That year he played in 15 games, starting 12 while notching the first goal of his career.

As it turns out, that goal would come on his first career shot in his first collegiate game and be the game winner in an overtime victory at Sacramento State (9/1). That season would also see him log at least 90 minutes seven times, including all 110 in a 0-0 tie at UT Rio Grande Valley (10/20).

That would also include consecutive 97 minute efforts against Incarnate Word (10/22) and University-Missouri Kansas City (10/27). CSB would pull out a 2-1 overtime victory in the latter and the three-game stretch would see Nguyen play 304 minutes.

He would also get the opportunity to play against big time competition, playing all 90 minutes against No. 15 Air Force (10/29). Following the season he would also earn Academic All-Western Athletic Conference honors.

As a sophomore in 2018 he would play in a career-high 16 games, seeing four starts over the course of 647 minutes. Highlighting that campaign was 36 minutes in a 1-0 win over No. 7 Air Force (10/5), a game in which he helped make that narrow margin hold up from the 17-minut mark on.

At the club level in his native Finland, Nguyen won a national championship with U15 FC Honka and a Bronze medal in the U17 National League. Additionally, he played for U20 Helsingin IFK, serving as captain of the team in 2016-17, winning a Bronze in the U20 National League during that time. On top of that, he was also a teammate of current Laker Mitro Turunen (Vantaa, Finland) while at Sotunki.

CHRISTIAN RANSOME: 6-1, Freshman, Midfielder, Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago (Trinity College East)
A native of Trindad and Tobago, Ransome brings high level experience on the field and in the classroom. With Trinity College East he served as team captain in 2013 and 2014 while leading the Blue Hawks to the Secondary Schools Form 1 Zonal Championship and Secondary Schools Football League U14 National Championship, respectively. Additionally he played with W Connection from U13-18.

In the classroom he earned the Secondary Schools Football League Student-Athlete Award in 2015 and 2017 as well as Most Outstanding Physical Education Student in 2015. He was also presented with the Spirit of TCE Award (2017) and earned a Full Certificate at O'Levels through the Caribbean Examinations Council.

ROBBIE REILY: 6-0, Freshman, Goalkeeper, Kennesaw, Ga. (Blessed Trinity Catholic High School)
Another local product, Reily joins the competition at goalkeeper after four impressive years at Blessed Trinity Catholic High School.

In that time he has posted 33 shutouts while leading his team to the Georgia High School Association State Tournament (GHSA) in each of his four seasons in goal. Three of those have been quarterfinal appearances with a trip to the semifinals as a sophomore.

As a freshman Reily would post nine shutouts while going 13-6-1 and leading his team to the first of back-to-back region championships. That sophomore campaign would see him up his clean sheets to 10 with a 14-4-4 overall record before finishing third in the region with seven shutouts and a stellar 16-4-2 record as a junior.

A 12-8-1 record and seven shutouts as a senior earned him First-Team All-Region honors while the Titans notched a runner-up finish in the region. That year he also posted a season-high 14 saves in a 1-1 (5-4) shootout victory over West Hall.

As successful in the classroom as on the field, Reily notched Magna Cum Laude honors in each of his years. In order to qualify, an individual must record a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

GEO RIOS: 5-5, Freshman, Midfielder, Lawrenceville, Ga. (Discovery High School/Berkmar High School)
A fast riser throughout his career, Rios will look to continue that career arc during his career with the Lakers.

While playing at Berkmar High School he was the only freshman on the varsity squad his first year and then proceeded to be the only sophomore the following year. The latter would see him record 12 goals and five assists in 14 games while garnering 2016 Striker of the Year honors for Gwinnett County and a spot on the All-Gwinnett County Team. All of that was accomplished in a season that was cut short by injury.

He would still be recovering from that set back when he transferred to Discovery High School as a junior. By the time his senior season rolled around he would be back to full strength and showed that while playing for Concorde Fire at the DA Academy level. The latter would come under former Laker player and assistant coach Karl Haggon (2007).

That year he played 29 games, starting all but one, and registered eight goals with a team leading 13 assists. His 28 starts was also a team-best.

JOSH RODGERS: 6-4, Graduate, Defender, New Castle, England (University of Northumbria/St. Joseph's Comprehensive School)
Another international transfer that brings a great deal of experience with him, Rodgers comes in from the University of Northumbria in Newcastle, England.

Prior to his time at UofN he attended St. Joseph's Comprehensive School and helped lead his club to a number of championships. Among those were regional and local championships as well as the Double County Cup Championship. He would also lead South Tyneside to a runner-up finish at the Wembley in England Schools FA finals.

Rodgers would also compete at the club level with Newton Aycliffe FC in the Northern League DI in 2018 and Ryhope FC in that same league the following year.

RYAN WALKER: 6-0, Freshman, Defender, Cumming, Ga. (Cambridge High School)
Walker joins the Lakers as a true freshman defender out of nearby Cumming, Georgia after working his way up during his high school career.

After playing several years at the junior varsity level he would earn his spot on the varsity during his senior season. That year would also see him contribute to a region title and played the role of hero on the biggest stage.

With the Bears down a goal in the state championship game and 28 seconds on the clock, Walker delivered the equalizer to knot the score and send the game to overtime. While Chattahoochee would eventually prevail 2-1 in the extra session, Walker showed he is ready to perform at a high level by giving his team an opportunity they otherwise wouldn't have had.

ADDITIONS TO 2019 ROSTER
In addition to 11 newcomers, Clayton State men's soccer will bring back four familiar faces. Headlining that group is redshirt-senior Ryan King (County Durham, England) who played for the Lakers in 2016.

Following a season that saw him record 12 goals and three assists he was named Peach Belt Conference Player of the Week, All-PBC Second-Team and a 2017 All-PBC Preseason selection. He returns to the field following a year away and a redshirt season.

Isaac Pimenta (Kennesaw, Ga.) returns to the field for his sophomore campaign after seeing action in 12 games and scoring a goal in 2017 while redshirt-sophomore Cody Crimmins (McDonough, Ga.) and redshirt-freshman Olavo Guimaraes (Sao Paulo, Brazil) will see their first action in the Orange and Blue.

Crimmins redshirted last season after transferring from PBC powerhouse Young Harris while Guimaraes will suit up after sitting out last season but gaining experience as part of the program.

Head Coach Pete Petersen on the 2019 Signing Class
"The staff and I are excited for this 2019 season. We have 18 returning and signed 11 so we have added much needed depth after suffering through some injuries last year. During that campaign our rallying cry was that the future was bright. Well, the future is here! We are focused, hungry and have a chip on our shoulder the size of Stone Mountain".

"We signed some top transfers like Theo [Blachon], Tobias [Gurtner], Josh [Rodgers], Henry [Nguyen] and Langston [Blackstock] and have Ryan King and Olavo Guimaraes returning to the field. Our returning veterans have 20 seasons of combined experience that will definitely benefit the newcomers and we should be vying for the PBC title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.