Men's Soccer Adds Vallejo, Zapponi to Recruiting Class



May 18, 2012

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By Doug Richards

ORLANDO, Fla. ( - The UCF men's soccer program has added to its impressive 2012 recruiting class as transfers Omar Vallejo and Gabriel Zapponi have both joined the Knights. A forward, Vallejo spent the past two campaigns at Ohio State. Zapponi is a midfielder who comes to UCF from Northeastern A&M.

Both Vallejo and Zapponi will have two years of eligibility remaining.

In two seasons at Ohio State, Vallejo appeared in 34 contests, making 24 starts. A native of Reynosa, Mexico, he recorded one goal and seven assists as a Buckeye. Vallejo made 12 starts in 2011 and totaled four assists and four shots on goal.

Prior to attending Ohio State, he was a three-year captain and leading scorer for St. Stephen's Episcopal in Texas. Vallejo was also a three-year captain and leading scorer for Lonestar Soccer Club.

"We are very excited to add an attacking forward the quality of Omar," Cunningham said. "He is very good technically and fits into our style of play."

Zapponi hails from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and attended Northeastern A&M for two years. He battled injuries as a sophomore, but in 2010 was named to the NJCAA All-Region 2 First Team as a freshman. That season, he helped lead the Norse to the regional championship.

"What he adds to our team is tremendous," Cunningham said of Zapponi. "He comes from a high level in Brazil. We are very fortunate to have him join us because he is going to add another dimension."

Vallejo and Zapponi are part of a stellar recruiting class for the Knights, who have made two-straight trips to the second round of the NCAA Championship and were ranked as high as No. 6 nationally in 2011.

The class also features transfers DeShorn Brown (University of Mobile) and Anton Sealey (North Carolina) and incoming freshmen Zach Biggs (Weston, Fla.), Mason Miller (Dallas, Texas), Michael Russo (McLean, Va.) and Romario Williams (Portmore, Jamaica).

"(Assistant coach) Mauricio Ruiz worked tirelessly on our recruiting class and his hard work has paid great dividends. This is an outstanding group and we are very excited about the future of our program," Cunningham said.

2012 UCF Men's Soccer Signees
Zach Biggs - Goalkeeper - Weston, Fla./Cypress Bay HS
DeShorn Brown - Forward - Kingston, Jamaica/University of Mobile
Mason Miller - Mid - Dallas, Texas/Lake Highlands HS
Michael Russo - Mid - McLean, Va./McLean HS
Anton Sealey - Defender - Nassau, Bahamas/North Carolina
Omar Vallejo - Forward - Reynosa, Mexico/Ohio State
Romario Williams - Mid - Portmore, Jamacia/Kingston College
Gabriel Zapponi - Mid - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil/Northeastern Oklahoma A&M



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