JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The addition of some of Northeast Florida's top talent to an already -blossoming team can only be a step in the right direction for the Jacksonville University men's soccer team. Fourth-year Head Coach Mauricio Ruiz has announced the signing of six new 'Phins and one transfer to the squad, as part of the 2018 National Signing Day activities.
"We are very excited to welcome these young men and their families to our JU family," Ruiz said. "We are a better program today with their additions."
Along with assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Armante Marshall and assistant Matt Loughnane, Ruiz has assembled both a decorated and structured slate of players in the class of 2022. The seven additions to the Dolphins' roster combined for four state or club national championships in ten championship appearances, winning nine all-state, district, or conference honors along the way.
"Coach Marshall did a fantastic job of identifying young men that we believe can make an impact on our program right away," Ruiz added. "While they are fantastic soccer players, we believe they are an even better group of people that perfectly fit the principles and core values of our program. This class will come into JU with an average high school GPA of 3.8."
Inti Antunez | F | Havana, Cuba | Celebration High School (Florida)
A talented striker, Antunez comes to the River City after leading Celebration HS to unprecedented success over the past four seasons. His senior year was capped off by a conference championship title, and an undefeated record for the first time in school history. He led the Storm to a title his junior year as well, accounting for 59 points his first three seasons. Antunez was a member of the Florida Rush 18U club team from 2017-18, leading the team in scoring with 29 goals.
"Inti is a creative attacking player who can score goals from different positions on the field, out wide or as a center forward. He has a burst of speed that creates a mismatch for any defender. He's a very mature young man and a great teammate." – Coach Ruiz
Jesus Colombo | F | Jacksonville, Fla. | UCF
A transfer from the University of Central Florida, Colombo brings valuable college-level experience to the Dolphins in 2018. The Venezuelan-born player appeared in 22 matches over the past two seasons for the Golden Knights, registering a pair of goals. He scored the only UCF goal in a 2-1 loss to South Florida in the American Athletic Conference championship match his freshman season, and was named to the 2016 AAC All-Tournament Team. A standout high school competitor at Atlantic Coast HS in Jacksonville, Colombo was a four-time All-Gateway Conference First Team honoree, and the 2015 Florida Times-Union Player of the Year Runner-Up. He competed for the Jacksonville FC Armada club squad, helping the unit to win a pair of Disney Qualifier championships.
"We recruited Jesus two years ago, so we know him very well as a local Jacksonville guy. He's a very dynamic attacking player that will add experience and explosiveness to our front line" - Coach Ruiz
Reed Davis | F | Fleming Island, Fla. | Fleming Island High School
Davis is the quintessential college soccer recruit, combining talent, results, and accolades to put forth the total player package. A superior player at Fleming Island HS, he propelled the Golden Eagles to a 17-0-3 season his senior year, recording 52 goals. His junior season featured a 24-1-1 record, Florida 4A State Championship title, 50 goals, and being crowned "Mr. Soccer of Florida", as well as the Gatorade Player of the Year for the Sunshine State. Fleming Island finished the 2016 season with an 18-1 record, winning the district championship. Davis played club soccer for the Clay County Soccer Club from 2008-18, guiding the team to the U16 State Championship in 2016, and the U18 finals the following season. The team also conquered the Disney Showcase in 2017.
"Reed is a very well-rounded player that can play many positions on the field at a high level. He's an elegant player that possess a high degree of composure and high decision making ability. Reed has the ability to make people around him better."- Coach Ruiz
Jake Johnson | MF | Buena Vista, Guatemala | Los Rinos FC
A native Guatemalan, Johnson brings years of top-level club soccer experience from Central America to the River City. As a member of Los Rinos from 2011-18, he had the opportunity to compete with Guatemala's finest, and turned down multiple professional and international offers to remain with the squad. The attacking-midfielder helped the team achieve eight top-three tournament finishes and a 105-38 record over the past four seasons. Johnson was voted Team MVP and a captain each year, and led Los Rinos in regular-season scoring in the latter two campaigns.
"Jake has a special technical quality, and confidence on the ball that is hard to teach. He sees the game at a faster pace than most players, and sees things before they happen. He's a leader that carries himself with great integrity off the field. He will be a great influence in our locker room." – Coach Ruiz
Reggie Nicholas | F/MF | Palm Bay, Fla. | Melbourne High School
Nicholas brings leadership, skill, and a high soccer IQ to the incoming class of 2022. The Melbourne HS standout led his team to an 18-2-2 regular season record during his senior year, leading the squad in assists. The Bulldogs advanced to the state semifinals Nicholas's junior season, and were regional finalists during his sophomore campaign. He has been a part of multiple Olympic Development Program teams in the state of Florida, most recently playing for the Region III ODP '00 Boys Pool team. He was named to the U.S. Youth Soccer ODP Boys Interregional 2000 All-Star Team in 2017.
"Reggie is a fun player to watch. He's a wide player that loves to take opponents on. He has a great change of speed, and a high technical ability in small spaces. Reggie plays the game with a lot of energy, and loves to be on the ball." – Coach Ruiz
Alex Salvador | D | Jacksonville, Fla. | The Bolles School
A Bold City native, Salvador brings local flavor to the Dolphins, having competed in the Jacksonville soccer circuit throughout his youth. He was a two-time team captain while playing for the Bulldogs, and won the team's Defensive Player of the Year award his junior and sophomore seasons. A 2016 and 2017 District Semifinalist, Salvador helped his team win their region during his freshman campaign, and finish as the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 2A State Runner-Up. As a member of the 99 USA Rangers Red team in the Clay County Soccer Club for six years, he won the Florida Youth Soccer Association State Cup Championship in 2016, and was a runner-up the following season. The team claimed the title in the Disney B19 Premier Showcase in 2017.
"Alex plays the game with a great enthusiasm. He's a very consistent performer, a technical left back with a great ability to get up and down the field. He's an aggressive one-on-one defender, and doesn't mind doing the dirty work." – Coach Ruiz
Carson Sapp | D | Jacksonville, Fla. | Mandarin High School
The fourth Jacksonville-area native to join the Dolphins in 2018, Sapp brings keen defensive skill and athleticism to the pitch. His play has allowed Mandarin High School to win their district championship each of the last four seasons, taking the region title his sophomore year. Sapp has earned first or second team All-Gateway Conference honors each season. He spent eight years playing club ball for the Clay County Soccer Club, helping the squad to win the state championship in 2016, and finish as a runner-up the following season. The team took the top honor at the Disney Showcase in 2017.
"Carson is a true Center Back, with great timing and body control. He's very calm and understands spacing extremely well, while also maintaining a high level of intensity and awareness. He has a very high ceiling in his position." – Coach Ruiz