Men's Soccer
Kentucky Adds 11 for 2017 Season

Kentucky Adds 11 for 2017 Season

by Jake Most

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Kentucky Men’s Soccer team added 11 newcomers to the roster ahead of the fall 2017 season. The group of newcomers included eight freshmen and three transfer students.
The group joins up in Lexington hailing from across the country and world, with seven states four countries, and three continents represented.
“Recruiting is a different experience every year,” sixth-year Head Coach Johan Cedergren said. “We had to wait a while on this group, but it’s worth it.  We’ve got a good group of guys across each position on the field, with some that we expect to contribute right away and others that will be big pieces of our future.
“It is a talented group, but more importantly they’re student-athletes with high character and work ethic that will continue to build our culture and be great representatives of the Big Blue Nation.”

 16664 Ben Alexander—Bel Air, Md. | Baltimore Armour (USSDA)
A forward/winger, Alexander is dangerous on the attack and has a history of scoring goals. He led his club team to a National Championship in 2016.
Cedergren on Alexander …
“Ben is a tough hardworking attacking player who figures out a way to put the ball in the net. He’s got a nose for goal and can play a couple attacking positions for us, which will help him develop early on.”
 16665 Enrique Facusse—Tegucigalpa, Honduras | Montverde Academy (FL)
An imposing presence, Facusse is a goalkeeper with good size and strength. Originally, from Honduras where he played with Universidad Pedagogica de Honduras, he spent his senior season at the Soccer Institute at Montverde Academy (SIMA) in Montverde, FL.
Cedergren on Facusse …
“Enrique is a goalkeeper with a ton of potential. He has a good presence in goal and is very confident as a shot stopper and communicator. He has the potential to develop into a top-level collegiate goalkeeper.”
 16658 Kalil Elmedhkar —Middletown, Del. | Philadelphia Union (USSDA)
A forward/attacking midfielder, Kalil is a crafty, smooth attacking player who is composed in front of goal. He can play in any of the three attacking spots, and creates well with his ability on the ball.
Cedergren on ElMedkhar …
“Kalil could be an asset to us right away. He’s very good on the ball and has a heady ability to finish consistently.”
 16657 Cooper Cantrell—Crestwood, Ky. | Javanon SC
A central midfielder, Cantrell is a Spring 2017 enrollee who hails from the most successful club in Kentucky. A multiple-time state champion in his youth career, Cantrell is a central midfielder with good ability to connect passes and break lines.
Cedergren on Cantrell …
“Cooper is another local product we’re excited to add to our roster. He’s been on campus for a semester already, which will help him immensely in his ability to compete for time. He has overcome some injuries thus far and we’re excited to see his potential.
 16666 Nicholas Blassou—Baltimore, Md. | Baltimore Celtic SC
Blassou is a strong, athletic center back who led his club team to the National semifinals in summer 2017. Rangy and quick, he will add depth to an experienced back line.
Cedergren on Blassou …
“Nick is a defender with a lot of ability and upside. We have an experienced group in the back that will help him learn and develop into a potential contributor quickly.”
 16667 Luis Hernandez—Columbus, Ohio | Columbus Crew (USSDA)
Luis is a skilled left-sided outside midfielder or defender. His ability to pass and combine from the left side offers potential depth and breadth for the Cats going forward.
Cedergren on Hernandez …
“We’re happy to add another Columbus Crew alum to the roster. Luis is good on the ball and combines well with the central midfield, he will add depth to our core of wingers and outside backs.”
 17150 Bailey Rouse—Littleton, Colo. | Colorado Rush (USSDA)
Rouse is a rangy central midfielder with the ability to play on the back line as well. Pairing his size and ability in the air with a solid passing range, Bailey will compete for time in the heart of the midfield.
Cedergren on Rouse …
“Bailey was our first commit in this class. He has a lot of tools to be a great central midfielder and can play on the back line if needed. We expect him to compete for time in the midfield right away.”

Leon Jones—Glasgow, Scotland | Hearts FC
A true center back, Jones comes to Lexington with a CV bursting with high-level experience. A product of Heart of Midlothian FC, Leon captained the academy teams at each level from U-15 to U-20. He also was a mainstay with the Scotland Youth National Teams, captaining the sides at U-15 and U16.
Cedergren on Jones …
“Leon brings playing and leadership experience to our team that you rarely, if ever, get from a freshman in college. He’s a strong defender with great composure on the ball and dealing with service. We expect him to be a contributor from Day 1.”

 16655 Jonathan Laise—Louisville, Ky. | Coastal Carolina
Another local product, Laise is an outside defender or midfielder, with good pace and a semester of high level collegiate experience under his belt. Originally from Louisville, Jonathan is a former teammate with Cooper Cantrell at Javanon SC.
Cedergren on Laise …
“Jonathan will be a solid addition to our wide group, and is helped immensely having played at a high-level program already. We’re happy to have another local product and we expect him to compete for time this season.”
 16650 Mikkel Pedersen— Esbjerg, Denmark | Richland College
Pedersen is a talented attacking midfielder, who led Richland College to the Junior College National Championship last fall, taking MVP honors for the tournament. A crisp passer with excellent vision, Pedersen will bolster an already potent Wildcat front four.
Cedergren on Pedersen …
“Mikkel is an experienced player we expect to contribute right away. He adds another level to our attack with his ability to create on the ball and especially in his passing. His vision is immense and is something that will really add to our goal scoring potential.”
 16653 Dantae Greer—Fair Lawn, N.J. | Fordham University. Greer is a pacey athletic attacking player likely to play up top or out wide. He appeared in 17 games for the Fordham Rams in 2016.
Cedergren on Greer
“Dantae is another player who brings high-level experience to our roster. We are looking forward to seeing him compete for time in our front four.”


For the best coverage of UK men’s soccer follow the team’s social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in addition to on

Related Stories

View all