Feb. 7, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- UAB men's soccer head coach Mike Getman announced the signing of five student-athletes to National Letters of Intent on Tuesday.
The five signees include Fatai Alabi (Houston, Texas/Wallace State CC), Alan Harwell (Montgomery, Ala./Brewbaker Technology HS), Patrick Huang (Huntsville, Ala./Louisville), Freddy Ruiz (Fort Payne, Ala./Fort Payne HS) and Ian Svantesson (Longwood, Fla./Lyman HS).
"This year's recruiting class fit our needs perfectly," UAB head coach Mike Getman said. "Every one of these players has the physical ability to compete at the highest level. We did not need to bring in lots of bodies. We wanted to find players who could help us right away and compete for starting positions right away. I think every one of these young men will challenge from day one.
"This group is also an outstanding group of young men who bring strong character and strong academics to our University."
Alabi played at Wallace State Community College last season under head coach Barry Spitzer. Alabi, who will have two years of eligibility remaining with the Blazers, had a stellar season in his only year with the Lions, leading the squad to a 10-2 overall record. He finished the year with five goals and a team-leading 11 assists for 21 points as a defensive midfielder. Alabi came to Wallace State from Houston, Texas where he was an all-district performer out of Hastings High School.
"Fatai has all the elements we are looking for and is a big-time player," Getman said. "We expect him to make an immediate impact. He is big, athletic and very skillful. I think he is one of the top 10 recruits in the nation."
Harwell is a forward out of Montgomery, Ala. who is one of the most prolific goal scorers in the state. The senior at Brewbaker Technology High School enters his final season under head coach Michael Baugh with 103 goals, which ranks seventh all-time in the state of Alabama, along with 42 assists. He needs 51 goals to claim the Alabama state scoring record.
Harwell played his club soccer for the Capital City Streaks coached by Charlie Brightwell. He was a member of the United States Soccer Academy select team, while played for BUSA Academy. He is the 79th-ranked played in the country by College Soccer News and is No. 82 nationally by Top Drawer Soccer.
"Alan has proved time and time again he is a big time goal scorer," Getman said. "With his athleticism and skill, he is a hard man to stop. I expect him to make an immediate impact for our team."
Huang will have two years of eligibility remaining once he suits up for the Blazers. The native of Huntsville, Ala. has already enrolled for the spring semester at UAB and will play for the Green & Gold during the spring season.
Huang played at two previous schools prior to joining the Blazers, having made stops in Virginia Tech in 2010 and Louisville in 2011.
As a freshman with the Hokies, Huang saw action in 14 games, starting five. He scored goals against North Carolina and Duke, and finished the year with seven points (2g, 3a). At Louisville, Huang was forced to sit out the season as a medical redshirt.
Huang attended Grissom High School where he finished his three-year career with a school record 87 goals. He was selected as the Huntsville Times Super All-Metro Player of the Year in 2008, as well as earning first-team all-state and team MVP honors.
"Patrick is a very quick and technical attacking player," Getman said. "He is one of the top players to ever come out of this state. He brings a great attacking ability and a lot of experience to our team. It is also a big plus that he has joined our team this January and has already started training with us."
Ruiz is a forward and attacking midfielder out of Fort Payne, Ala. Following his junior season at Fort Payne HS, Ruiz was voted as the Player of the Year after leading his team to the 5A State Championship He also earned state tournament MVP honors in 2011. He finished the year with 49 goals and now has scored 133 goals in his career which ranks fifth all-time in the state. Ruiz is also a member of the National Honor Society.
Ruiz played his club soccer for Vestavia Soccer Club and coach Rocky Harmon. He helped lead his team to several state championships in the last few years nad has been recognized as a Boys Soccer State All-Star by ESPN Rise in 2011.
"Freddy has all the tools to be successful," Getman said. "He is quick and skillful and has a great soccer brain. I expect him to contribute right away. Freddy has scored goals for every team he has played for. I expect the same to continue at UAB."
Svantesson is a 6-5 forward/defender from Longwood, Fla. who is a senior at Lyman HS. Last season, Svantesson led his team in scoring, while also earning Defensive MVP honors. He was tabbed to the All-Central Florida First Team. Svantesson is also a standout in the classroom as a member of Mensa and the National Honor Society.
Svantesson played his club soccer for Florida Soccer Alliance, coached by Eric Sellick. He was an ODP National Youth Player in each of the last two years and helped his team to a second-place finish at the 2011 Florida State Cup.
"Ian has all the tools to be successful," Getman said. "He is exceptionally quick for his size and can play in several positions. He also has the skills to go with his physical abilities. I expect Ian to play a big role in our team right away."