BOCA RATON, Fla. – Florida Atlantic University head coach Joey Worthen and his staff welcomed seven decorated signees to the men’s soccer team on National Signing Day.
“I am very excited to add these eight new players to our team,” Worthen said. “Our staff, and Coach Jose Robles in particular, have done a great job recruiting players that are going to help us move our program forward in many ways. In regards to soccer, each of these guys brings different qualities to our team that will make us more competitive. In terms of character, they all have similar attributes that will make them good student-athletes, teammates, and representatives of our program and FAU. We look forward to adding these players to a solid core of returning players for our season next fall.”
Blake Dean, a four-year starter at Lemon Bay High School, comes to FAU with an impressive record-holding resume. Dean holds school records for most goals in a game with five and most goals in a season at 37, which also marks the district record. The Englewood, Fla. native ranked fourth in the state and seventh in the nation in goals scored in his senior campaign, for which he was named the Sun Player of the Year. The forward also lead his U-19 Chivas FL Academy with 25 goals and 15 assists and also lead the U-23 FL Academy in goals with 15 after topping Elite Academy’s goal title in 2016-17 with 23.
Trevor Byrne, from Cumming, Ga., comes to FAU from Forsyth High School, where he was named First Team All-County and All-Region in 2017, winning the Region III title. Byrne was named a 2016 Atlanta Combine Best XI by TopDrawerSoccer.com after playing for the Atlanta United U16 USSDA squad. The outside back/midfielder was named a 2014 Top Drawer Boys Star as he helped lead his team to the USYS National Championship and from 2015-16, Byrne led the USSDA Eastern Division in games played and games started, ranking second in the nation.
Owen Tworkowski is a center back hailing from Melbourne Beach, Fla. Tworkowski comes to FAU as a transfer from Eastern Florida State where he was an anchor for the Titans back line in his two years. Owen was named All-Region 8 second team after scoring three goals and recording six assists.
Arturo Ernand, a Miami native, will join the Owls after graduating from ASU Preparatory in Casa Grande, Ariz. Ernand, a midfielder who is coming off of a three-goal, four-assist season with U18-19 Barca Academy in 2017 after scoring seven goals and tallying nine assists with U15-16 Kendall FC in Miami the year prior. A 2015 ODP State First-Team selection in Florida, Ernand was named a team captain for 2016 Sueno MLS and represented Red Bulls FC in a national competition.
Jean Paul Rafols, another Miami native, is a forward out of John A. Ferguson Sr. High School. In 2016-17, Rafols scored 13 goals with eight assists in just 11 games for the USSD U18 Academy, following up a season in which he netted 23 goals in 22 matches.
Jacob Mintkovic joined the Owls this spring after leading the Clearwater Chargers USSDA last season with 12 goals. Mintkovic, a Tampa native, won the State Cup U18 with the FCT rangers. The forward is a transfer from Northern Kentucky University.
Manuel Grela, another early signee already on campus, is an attacking mid/forward from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Grela graduated from Coral Gables High School where he helped lead his squad to the district championship. Grela also played for the Kendall academy in Miami.