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Stannard Welcomes Six In Strong Class Of 2023

Stannard Welcomes Six In Strong Class Of 2023

All Bring Strong Credentials On And Off Field

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Kylie Stannard, The 5K Corral Head Coach of Yale men's soccer, will welcome another strong class to New Haven this fall. Sigfús Árnason, Eric Lagos, Daniel Massaad, Kai Moos, Jake Schaffer and Thomas Toney all bring outstanding credentials both on and off the field.

"We are excited to officially welcome this new group of Bulldogs to the Yale Men's Soccer Family," Stannard said. "I want to thank my assistants for their hard work and time in building this class.  This group is a perfect fit into our team right now and brings so many intangibles that are the foundation for a positive and competitive winning culture.  The whole of this class is overflowing with high character, toughness, athleticism and huge potential.  They will immediately help make our team better on and off the field.  They will bring a competitive edge and tenacity in training every day but also with the selfless mentality of doing whatever they can to improve and help the team. 

"We lost a very strong and experienced group of seniors last year and while it's always impossible to replicate what you lose, this group will bring their own experiences and aspirations to help Yale men's soccer to achieve our goal of winning the Ivy League.  They add a lot of depth in needed positions and also bring a lot of what I call `winning details'.  We can't wait to get started working with them in a few weeks!"

The six join a program that is clearly on the rise. Yale's overall record has improved in every season since Stannard's arrival in 2015, and last fall the Bulldogs posted their best overall record since 2011.

Here is a closer look at the Class of 2023:

High School: As a first year, played one season at Conard High School in West Hartford before returning to Iceland… Played in 18 games, scored four goals and added 10 assists… Helped team post a 12-5-1 overall record.

International: Played with Vikingur U-19… Three-year starter… Helped team win Icelandic U-19 B division in 2018 and Icelandic cup final in 2017.

Personal: Son of Arni Kjalar Kristjansson and Erla Kristofersdottir… Intends to major in economics.

2 QUESTIONS FOR Árnason

Biggest soccer influence? "I have always loved Rooney. Since a young age I have always been a Manchester United fan. I loved watching Rooney play, the things he could do with the ball as well as his grit and determination to win. He always put his body on the line and was ready to fight for the whole 90 minutes."

Why Yale? "Choosing Yale was definitely not a hard choice with it being one of the world´s best schools and a top D1 soccer program. But other factors did come to play. Connecticut is on the east coast and a lot closer to Iceland (my home country) than many other places. Connecticut is the state where I grew up when I lived in America and many of the people close to me still live there."

Stannard On Árnason: "Siggy brings an excellent left foot, good athleticism, international experience and a competitive mentality. He will compete as both a left back and wide midfielder. He is excellent going forward and has the work rate and speed to recover in defensive transition. His ability to drive accurate balls forward, combine while making forward runs and serve excellent crosses will be a great addition.  He also brings an outgoing and confident personality on and off the field.  Iceland has been producing many strong players in recent years and we're excited to have a Viking Bulldog!"

High School: Mr. Soccer Minnesota finalist as a senior at St. Paul Academy and Summit School… In the pool for the All-American game… Scored 60 goals and tallied 39 assists in his four years… Two-time first team all-state selection… Named IMAC Conference MVP as both a junior and senior… Four-time all-conference selection… Two-time team captain… Also lettered in Nordic skiing and ultimate frisbee as a senior.

Club: Played for the St. Paul Blackhawks, which was a four-time Minnesota State Cup finalist… Helped club to MRL Premier 2 second-place finish in 2016.

ODP: Spent four years with the Minnesota ODP team… Played for the Region II ODP team in 2014 and 2017.

Academic Awards: Platinum Seal of Bilingualism – French.

Personal: Son of Gerard and Jane Lagos… Father played soccer at Wisconsin-Milwaukee and played in the Youth World Cup for coach Bob Gansler… Uncle played for San Jose and Chicago of the MLS and won an MLS Cup with Chicago… High school debate team captain… Volunteer at Joy of the People.

3 QUESTIONS FOR LAGOS

Biggest soccer influence? "My dad. From helping me kick the ball as a baby in my crib, to playing soccer with me in the backyard, to coaching my club team, my dad is always giving me tips and helping me become the best player I can be."

Do you have an idol or hero? "My grandma who had a very difficult childhood overcoming racism and extreme poverty to go on and get two master's degrees and raise eight successful children in addition to a dozen foster children. Her generosity with her time, money and advice is very admirable and something I aspire to have."

Why Yale? "Because of the team's high aspirations for success and the culture surrounding that. I want to be challenged every single day, and Yale is the ideal place for that both on the soccer side and academic side."

Stannard On Lagos: "Eric comes from excellent soccer pedigree with his grandfather, Buzz Lagos, being a legendary coach and ambassador for the beautiful game.  His father and uncle - Gerard and Manny - were both top college players and professionals for several years.  Eric has been around a very high level of the game for his entire life and will bring some natural instincts for the game.  I'm very excited in the fact that Eric has only scratched the surface for the type of player he is capable of becoming, and while the jump to competitive Division I soccer is big, I think Eric is going to thrive with the daily level of competition and learning he will face every day in our environment.  Eric will bring good competition to our attacking group.  He's strong, powerful and physical, which will serve him well in the Ivy League.  He's strong enough with decent feet to play back to goal but also fast enough, and willing, to threaten behind a backline which are both excellent assets as a forward."

Academy: Played for the Albion US Development Academy… Starting center back… Played all 90 minutes in 32 of 33 games during the 2107-18 season… Scored nine goals, second highest on team… Helped team reached finals of 2017 Surf Cup.

High School: Played two years of varsity soccer at The Bishop's School… Started every game at center back as a first year…Served as a captain in his sophomore season… Helped lead team to Coastal Division titles in each of his two years… Did not play high school soccer in his junior and senior seasons… Kicker for football team in sophomore and senior years… Longest field goal was 47 yards.

Club: Played for Albion 2000 starting at the age of 12.

ODP: Played on ODP Cal South 2001 team… Named to ODP All-Tournament team… Cal South ODP reached regional final… Invited to Region IV ODP camp in Oregon.

Academic Awards: AP Scholar with Honors Award in 2018… National Society of High School Scholars.

Personal: Son of Bassam and Cari Massaad… Older brother Matthew plays soccer at Yale (Class of 2021)… Mother was a swimmer at Simmons College… Actively involved with Las Patronas, a San Diego based non-profit that raises money to help organizations that provide services in health, education, social services and cultural arts.

3 QUESTIONS FOR MASSAAD

Biggest soccer influence? "Didier Drogba because after reading in his book about the life he lived and the sacrifices he made in order to make it to the level that he did, I gained perspective on what it really takes to make it in both soccer and life."

Do you have an idol or hero? "I wouldn't really say that I have an idol or hero, but there are definitely people that I look up to, and on the top of that list is my father. I look up to him for more than just being my father. In every situation I have seen him in he has always been in control and because of that I have found that he is the most respectful person I have met. I hope throughout my life I can carry myself as responsibly and respectfully as he does."

Why Yale? "From what I have been told and have seen from the times that I have been at Yale, it is a community of knowledge and learning. Everyone is trying, whether in school, sports, theatre, etc., to be the best and I believe that Yale will not only allow me to begin to reach my full potential in both soccer and academics but also achieve goals that I have set for myself."

Stannard On Massaad: "The best way to describe Daniel is simple, he's a warrior.  He wills himself and his team to raise the bar and gives everything he has to compete and win.  He does all the `little things' that I ask in players that make the difference in winning and losing such as blocking shots, tracking runs, winning loose balls, getting proper clearances, winning 1v1 battles, and putting himself in positions to make plays that help his team win games as well as not lose games.  At the U17 age group, he led the USSDA for goals scored as a defender.  He has great courage and toughness which will be an immediate asset in the college game and a requirement in this program.  Daniel will add strong depth in the backline and make everyone else around him better with his character and mentality.

Academy: Played for De Anza Force U-19 Academy… Tallied three goals and nine assists in 24 games in 2018-19… Prior to that played for MVLA SC… Captain from 2016 to 2018.

High School: Played for Los Altos High School as a sophomore… Earned second team all-league recognition… Scored three goals and added five assists in 19 games.

ODP: Invited to state tryouts in 2013

Academic Awards: 4.5 Graduate with Distinction… Member of NSHSS.

Personal: Son of Kevin and Toni Moos… Mother was a rugby player at Stanford… Volunteered with North Beach Citizens project.

3 QUESTIONS FOR MOOS

Biggest soccer influence? "Ronaldinho – he was a joy to watch and could always be seen smiling while he was playing, no matter the situation. I admire his charisma, flair but most importantly his passion for the game and making people happy."

Do you have an idol or hero? "Elie Wiesel"

Why Yale? "Upon setting foot on campus at Yale, I felt at home. The campus is extremely beautiful and there is a great sense of community that everyone at Yale has, and it was better than any other school vibe I experienced."

Stannard On Moos: Kai is going to add great depth and might be the most versatile player in this class.  We originally saw Kai playing in the front three attacking positions, but he moved into the midfield this past year and really seemed to find a good fit.  Having experience in so many spots adds a lot of value and understanding of the game.  He should be confident being plugged into wherever is needed.  He comes from a very good club and a coach, Eric Yamamoto, that has produced a lot of very good players.  He's a quiet competitor that will add value to training right away.

Academy: Played for Empire United Soccer Academy… Started every game over last two seasons… Played for U-19 team despite being age 16 when season began… Scored seven goals as a center defender… Invited to participate in US Soccer training centers several times during his club days.

ODP: Played ODP for one year prior to joining Empire United Soccer Academy.

Academic Awards: National Honor Society… National History Day regional champion in 2017 and 2018 and a state finalist in 2017.

Personal: Son of Gerald and Natalie Lesh Schaffer… Mother played soccer at William Smith College and was a member of the 1988 NCAA Division III national championship team… Aspires to be an aerospace engineer… Member of the Orchard Park Historical Society… Thanksgiving Day volunteer at the Buffalo City Mission.

3 QUESTIONS FOR SCHAFFER

Biggest soccer influence? "My mom. She was the coach of my youth travel soccer team for several years. She shared her love of the game with me and pushed me to become a well-rounded player by making me play in different field positions and even goalie. She promoted my desire to play at a higher level, and along with my dad, did everything they could to make that possible."

Do you have an idol or hero? "Larry Fitzgerald. I respect not only his tireless work ethic and accomplishments on the field but also his commitment to serving his community and his work to support cancer research."

Why Yale? "Because of the immediate comfort I felt when I first visited the campus and met the coaches. It was literally the proverbial perfect fit for me, a place where I knew I could grow both academically, athletically, and personally."

Stannard On Schaffer: "Jake is the earliest commitment we have ever received and everything seemed to fit perfectly.  I immediately loved Jake's athleticism, physicality and competitiveness.  He plays with edge and a chip on his shoulder which I love.  I remember one of the first games I saw Jake and he led his team to a road win against one of the top teams in the nation, NYCFC.  He shutdown anything and everything that came his way.  However, Jake is far from just a competitive athlete, he does a great job breaking lines of pressure with his passing and he's pretty good with both feet.  He has been coached very well by Paul Valenti and the entire Empire United coaching staff, and I really like how they develop players and mentality.  Jake is determined to win every match-up and dual he has and will do whatever is needed to help the team win.  Jake will be in the mix to compete for time right away with some defensive spots up in the air."

 

Academy: Played for Atlanta United FC Academy… Club was the 2017 USSDA national champions and a national championship finalist in 2018.

High School: Played one season at North Gwinnett High School.

Club: Played for Atlanta United FC, which captured regional championships in 2014 and 2015 and was a 2015 national championship finalist.

ODP: Regional and national ODP team experience… Took trips to Arizona, Mexico and Costa Rica with regional team and Argentina with national team.

Personal: Son of Keith and Alisa Toney… Member of the Gwinnett Student Leadership Team, a 2.5-year commitment to a highly exclusive leadership team that lead initiatives and events at their respective schools.

2 QUESTIONS FOR TONEY

Biggest soccer influence? "My best friend, Justin Robinson, introduced me to soccer when we were in Pre-K. I decided to register for soccer, and I have played ever since. Recently, Justin fractured his hip for the third time and told me he was not going to continue playing competitively.  It was an unfortunate event, but his circumstance motivates me to reach that much further in my soccer career."

Why Yale? "To be a student athlete, I have to be a student first. Since Yale offers the best academics in the country, it was an obvious top choice. After meeting with Coach Kylie Stannard, I realized that his philosophy was appealing. This school is the perfect circumstance for me as I can receive the best education and take part in a soccer program with immense potential."

Stannard on Toney: "Thomas comes from one of the top youth clubs in the nation, Atlanta United.  He's been coached and developed very well by Tony Annan and previously with Nuno Piteira.  He won a national championship at the U17 level and he competes daily with some of the top players in the nation, including some that have already signed professional contracts.  Thomas might immediately be the fastest player on our team which is saying a lot when we have Justin Lobe.  He can play as an outside back or center back and he may even get looks as a winger as he gets adjusted to the college game.  This versatility is going to be a huge asset for the program.  Thomas is one of the nicest and most positive young men I know off the field but has a fiery and competitive side when he steps on the field.  He's a great addition to the program."

Report filed by Tim Bennett (timothy.bennett@yale.edu), Yale Athletics Strategic Communications