Hokies announce 2017 signing class

BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech head men’s soccer coach Mike Brizendine has announced the signing of eight student-athletes to the Hokies’ 2017 recruiting class.

“We had two goals this spring: to develop the student-athletes on our team and bring in talent to complement them,” Brizendine said. “With this class we’ve definitely taken a step towards accomplishing one of those.”

This year’s class features five international players, hailing from Finland, the United Kingdom and Iceland, as well as players from three different states. Three members of the class are on campus for the spring semester, giving them a chance to work out with the team prior to summer. The newcomers join a Virginia Tech team fresh off its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007, where the team advanced to the Elite Eight, after downing powerhouse programs in Charlotte and Indiana, to finish eighth in the end-of-year rankings.

Jan Glasmacher, Svavar Johannsson, Justus Kauppinen, Hayden Kickbush, Emil Koho, Camron Lennon, Robert McCoy and Gregor von Westphalen have all signed with the Hokies.

“This year’s class has good balance across the board. They play a variety of positions and we’ve got a good mix of domestic and international players,” said Brizendine. “Like any class, we wanted to do a good job of finding kids that would blend well with our team chemistry and we did that.”

Glasmacher is a tough defender who comes to the Hokies from Preston, Lancashire, UK. A member of the U15 German International program, Glashmacher was a starter for Blackburn Rovers FC and qualified for the Champions League U19 with Bayer Leverkusen. With Bayer Leverkusen, Glasmacher’s team finished in third and fourth place in the U19 and U18 Premiere League, respectively.

Johannsson brings international experience to Virginia Tech, having played 11 games with the U17 and U19 national teams of Iceland. A native of Thorlakshofn, Johannsson attended Fjölbrautaskóli Suðurlands and played midfield for UMF Selfoss. Svavar is the son of Johann Magnusson and Sigridur Karlsdottir.

A member of the Finnish national team, Kauppinen brings multi-faceted talent to the Hokies. Playing both on the wing and as striker, he was a member of Finland’s U15, U16, U18 & U19 teams, coached by Ilkka Mäkelä and Jarkkko Wiss. The Mäntsälä, Finland, native was also a key member of FC Lahti Academy and attended Lahden Lyseo most recently.

Kickbush, the only native Virginian in this year’s class, joins the Hokies from Arlington, Virginia. While attending Yorktown High School, Kickbush was the most valuable player on the 2016 team that reached the Virginia state semifinals, the best finish in school history. Kickbush was also named second team All-District, All-Metropolitan area and All-Region after the team’s run. Kickbush played goalkeeper for the Arlington Soccer Association, where his team was the 2014 Virginia State Cup Champions after maintaining a #1 ranking all year, allowing just a single goal in five games, as well as finishing in the semifinals at USYS nationals in 2016.

Koho, who is already on campus, is the second Finnish native in the 2017 class. Hailing from Espoo, he attended Leppavaara Sports High School while playing on the FC Espoo men’s firt team. The midfielder was captain of his school team as well as part of the B-juniors championship team and the third place A-juniors team.

Lennon joins the Hokies from Austin, Texas, where he played for Lonestar SC and was a member of the U18 USSF Academy team. A midfielder for Westwood High School, Lennon earned All-District honors as a freshman. The son of Ray Lennon and Leslie Tassin, Lennon was a honor roll member all four years of high school.

McCoy brings championship experience to the Hokies after playing for the Florida state title twice, bringing home the championship once. McCoy, primiarily a midfielder/forward, was invited to the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy four times, played competitively for Chargers DA and attended East Lake High School.

Von Westphalen, of Bad Homburg, Germany, wraps up the 2017 signing class. Playing forward for FSV Frankfurt, von Westphalen was named Athlete of the Year three times, as well as a four-time winner of the soccer tournament, at Kaiserin-Friedrich Gymnasium, where he attended high school. While with FSV Frankfurt, his team won the state championship in 2016 and von Westphalen finished second in the league in scoring average, earning him the best goal scorer title in the International Soccer Tournament held in Plattenhardt. During the 2015 season, he scored 14 goals in 12 matches in the U17 Hessia Cup.

“We can’t wait to have them all with us,” said Brizendine. “I wish they were all here now.”

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