Butler men's soccer coach Kelly Findley, who guided the Bulldogs to the fourth-highest single season win total in school history last fall, has put the finishing touches on his 2009 squad with the signing of seven recruits. Butler's incoming class includes one transfer and six high school seniors.
Joining the Butler men's soccer program for 2009 are former Northern Illinois University player JC Aikenhead, Jordan Burt of Concord High School, Julian Cardona of Shattuck St. Mary's High School (Minn.), Jon Dawson of Brebeuf High School, Jared Isenthal of Carmel High School, Blake Leyden of Covenant Christian High School and Tyler Pollock of Beaver Creek High School (Ohio).
"We are very excited about this group of incoming players," said Findley, who led Butler to a 13-3-4 record in 2008. "Each of them brings a high level of talent and great character to our program, as well as a history of success coupled with the determination to achieve excellence. Butler has a rich tradition of academic and athletic excellence, and, because of that, we recruit character and integrity, not just talented athletes, and each of these players fits that profile."
Aikenhead appeared in 27 matches as a defender at Northern Illinois over the past two seasons, including 10 as a starter. He played with the Chicago Sockers FC, helping the team to the state finals in 2003 and 2004. He was on the Olympic Development Program Illinois state team, 2003-06, and he was a 2005 ODP National Champion. He was on the Region II team, 2005 ad 2007, and was chosen for the 2006 Super Y League national camp.
Burt, the younger brother of current Butler player Connor Burt, was Northern Indiana Player of the Year in 2008. He earned All-Conference, All-District and All-State honors, while leading the area in goals (20) and assists (16). He was a four-year starter at Concord, where he was named midfielder MVP twice and forward MVP twice. He was a four-year All-Conference performer and helped Concord to three conference titles, two sectional crowns and one regional title. He scored 48 career goals and had 50 career assists.
Cardona was the 2008 Shattuck-St. Mary's soccer Player of the Year. The Nebraska native helped Pius High School in Lincoln, Neb., to a state runner-up finish in 2007, and he was named to the All-City and All-State teams that season. He was a member of the 2007 & 2008 ODP Region II Team, the 2007-08 US Youth Soccer ODP Super Group, the 2008 US Club Soccer Regional Champions and the Arsenal Club State Champions, 2004-07.
Dawson was a first team All-State performer at Brebeuf in 2008. He earned All-District and All-County honors in 2007 and 2008 and was named to the Indianapolis Star Super Team. He was named 2008 Brebeuf Defensive Player of the Year, after helping his high school squad to a sectional championship. He also played on the 2008 U16 US Youth Soccer Developmental Academy National Championship squad.
Isenthal was named to the 2008 All-State and the 2008 Indianapolis Star Super Team. He was a team captain and earned both All-Conference and All-District honors at Carmel. He further received a 2006-07 IHSAA State Championship Academic award. He was a member of the Indiana ODP, 2005-07, was a six-year captain and four-time Indiana State Champion for CUSC 91 Inferno, 2002-07, a 2008 U16 US Youth Soccer Developmental Academy National Champion and captain of the U18 US Youth Soccer developmental Academy team.
Leyden was a 2008 first team All-American and National Player of the Year for the National Christian School Athletic Association. He was a team captain at Covenant Christian, and he earned All-City, All-District and All-State honors. He was named to the Indianapolis Star Super Team, and he was named All-City Player of the Year. Leyden also was a captain for the seven-time state champion Indy Burn.
Pollock earned 2008 NSCAA/adidas All-America recognition. He was a two-time All-Region IV performer and a two-time, first team All-State player. He was named Dayton Area Player of the Year as a senior and a two-time Dayton South Player of the Year. He earned All-Conference and All-Dayton honors, and he was named Greater Western Ohio Conference Central Player of the Year. Leyden was a Top Ten finalist in Ohio for the Wendy's High School Heisman and he received the ESPN Rise National & Midwest High School Soccer Player of the Week.
Graduation claimed Butler's top two scorers, plus two additional seniors, from last year's squad, which advanced to the semifinals of the Horizon League Championship. The Bulldogs were ranked as high as No. 21 in the national soccer polls last fall and finished the season tied for ninth in the NCAA Division I in winning percentage (.750). Butler was the first team since 2003 to complete the Horizon League regular season with an unbeaten (5-0-3) record.