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Hawks’ 2016 recruiting class includes area standouts

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Monmouth University’s men’s soccer team’s 2016 recruiting class includes a trio of area high school standouts.

Colts Neck High School graduate Jake Areman (midfield/forward), a transfer from the University of Maryland; Red Bank Regional High School’s Jacob Curtis (defense); and Ocean Township High School’s Ryan Wells (defense) are among the nine student-athletes announced by head coach Robert McCourt as the recruiting class of 2016.

Areman was a part of two Big 10 championship teams while at Maryland, and McCourt sees that as a major asset.

“Jake brings a wealth of experience from both the University of Maryland and winning a national championship at PDA soccer club,” McCourt said in a prepared statement. “He is a crafty midfielder with a great range of passing.

“Two years of experience at Maryland will have made him battle-tested for the everyday rigors of college soccer. Jake was a highly-touted recruit coming out of high school. We are happy to have him on board.”

Curtis, an honorable mention all-state defender, brings to West Long Branch what the Hawks look for in a defender.

“Jacob is a big, strong, athletic defender,” McCourt said. “He provides a tremendous presence as a central defender. He is very strong in the air and tough in 1 vs. 1 situations.

“Jacob has a strong will and determination to win, which will help him in his transition to the college game.”

Wells helped the Spartans win an NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group III championship while being a Group III all-state player.

“Ryan is a very versatile, hard-working and determined defender from Ocean Township,” McCourt said. “He is a tough defender and is very athletic. Ryan’s blue collar work ethic and determination will make him an instant asset to our team.

“He has a strong presence in the air and helps on both defensive and attacking set pieces.”

The remainder of Monmouth’s 2016 class has a very New Jersey look. Completing the class are John Antunes, midfield (St. Peter’s Prep); Mike Luke, defense (Bridgewater-Raritan); Andy Martinez, defense (St. Benedict’s Prep); Cristian Martinez, defense (Dover); Colin Muller, defense/midfield (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania/Liberty High School); and Geoff Schaefer, midfield/forward (Woodstown).

McCourt has turned the Monmouth program into one of the winningest in the country. He has a .690 winning percentage (144-52-46). His Hawks teams have made the NCAA Tournament five times in the last decade. In nine of the last 12 years, they’ve won a regular-season conference championship. Last year was the third straight season that the Hawks captured the Middle Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) crown.

Monmouth will open the 2016 at home under the lights on the Great Lawn against University of Denver, which was ranked 17th in the country last year, Aug. 26. Game time is 7 p.m. The Hawks follow that up with another home game on Aug. 28 against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell at a time to be determined.

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