Brett Parker didn't just have to sign a recruiting class for Fort Hays State, he had to sign a team.
Such are the perils of starting a men's soccer program.
Parker announced his first signing class last week — 31 players — including a big dip into both Wichita-area high school recruits and players form the Jayhawk Conference for a team that will start play for the first time in the 2011-2012 school year.
"We felt like most of the class came together pretty quickly," said Parker, who was hired last December. "But it was a relief to get it out there to the public, to be able to see it on paper."
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The Tigers signed eight junior-college recruits and 23 high school freshmen for its inaugural team.
"We wanted to keep the number of transfers coming in as low as possible," Parker said. "And we wanted to make sure we were bringing in guys that we know can come in and fight for starting spots right away."
Parker and the Tigers beat out several Division I schools for Barton Community College forward Ricardo Yeverino, a Garden City native and two-time All-Region VI selection.
The Cougars also won two Region VI titles with Yeverino and finished third at last year's NJCAA national tournament.
"On paper, at least, he's our guy with the most accolades, the most accomplishments," said Parker, who spent the last two seasons as the coach at Lyons (Ark.) College, an NAIA school. "Any coach can tell you that it's tough to land those attacking-type players at this level. We feel like he's somebody who can come in and make an impact right away."
Parker picked up a pair of All-Class 5A players from Kapaun Mount Carmel in defender Luke Campbell and forward Michael Sheets.
"Wichita was really good to us," Parker said. "It was a good surprise, a lot of the players we signed came up early in the process. Sheets is a scorer. He's got a good resume."
Parker also had praise for Wichita Southeast goalkeeper Merrick Rhodes, a 6-foot-1 honorable mention All-Class 6A selection.
" (Rhodes) had a great workout, one of the best we had in the recruiting process," Parker said. "We think he can be really good at this level."
Fort Hays State
2011 men's soccer signings
Name, Pos., Ht., Yr., Hometown, Prev. School — Omar Aguilar, MF/F, 5-9, Fr., Dallas, J.J. Pearce; Jared Bailey, D, 6-1, Jr., Lee's Summit, Mo., Metropolitan (Mo.) CC-Blue River; Tanner Barrand, D, 6-0, Jr., Topeka, Neosho CC; Cody Black, MF, 6-1, Fr., Denber, Collegiate Academy; Bryan Bott, GK, 6-0, Fr., Johnstown, Colo., Roosevelt; Tanner Brock, MF, 5-10, Fr., Winfield, Winfield; Luke Campbell, D, 5-9, Fr., Wichita, Kapaun Mount Carmel; Daniel Davila, D, 5-11, Fr., Garland, Texas, North Garland; William Davis, MF, 5-11, Fr., Parker, Colo., Chaparral; Kaden Downing, MF, 5-8, Fr., Englewood, Colo., Englewood; Dula Fadis, MF, 6-1, Jr., Minneapolis, Minn., Barton CC; Kent Freund, GK, 6-1, Fr., Garland, Texas, North Garland; Jonathan Hernandez, MF, 6-0, Fr., Oklahoma City, Okla., Putnam North; Eric Hymer, D, 6-2, Fr., Overland Park, Olathe East; Andre Learned, MF/F, 5-9, Fr., Manhattan, Manhattan; Tomas Mares, F, 5-11, Jr., Tulasa, Okla., N. Oklahoma; Hunter Nail, D/MF, 6-3, Fr., Centennial, Colo., Chaparral; Matthew O'Rell, D/MF, 6-1, Fr., Longmont, Colo., Silver Creek; Ryan Pakieser, GK, 6-1, Fr., Lakewood, Colo., D'Evelyn; Daniel Peralta, MF/F, 5-10, Jr., Tulsa, N. Oklahoma; Adrian Ramirez, MF, 6-0, Jr., Garden City, Barton CC; Jacob Rangel, F, 5-9, Fr., Oklahoma City, Putnam North; Chris Rathjen, MF/F, 5-10, Fr., Leavenworth, Lansing; Merrick Rhodes, GK, 6-1, Fr., Wichita, Wichita Southeast; Roman Rodriguez, MF/F, 5-9, Fr., Dallas, JJ Pearce; Jacob Sayre, MF, Fr., Wichita, Maize South; Devin Schmidt, MF/F, 6-1, Fr., Hays, Hays; Michael Sheets, F, 6-0, Fr., Wichita, Kapaun Mount Carmel; Remington Stitt, F, 5-8, Fr., Greeley, Colo., Northridge; Nathan Walker, D, 5-5, Jr., Goddard, Barton CC; Ricardo Yeverino, F, 5-9, Jr., Garden City, Barton CC.