Simpson University Men’s Soccer Signs 11 for 2014
For Immediate Release
REDDING, Calif. - The Simpson University’s men’s soccer program announces the signing of 11 student-athletes for the 2014 season: Travis Ratzlaff (Madera), Christian Stepaniak (Woodbury, Minn.), Caleb Ikwuagwu (Redding), Michael Jones (Riverton, Wyo.), Josh Wright (Riverton, Wyo.), Tristan Webb (Oakhurst), Mitch Boyle (Redding), Christian Fuqua (Portland, Ore.), Craig Stieler (Coarsegold), Regino Gonzalez (Santa Barbara), and Drake Martens (Fresno).
Ratzlaff is a freshman forward and midfielder who was on honor roll throughout high school. During the 2013-2014 season, he earned first team all-league, Central Valley all-section, and Coaches Award honors and set the single season scoring record. He was also named North Sequoia League Player of the Year and was a winter nominee for the California Interscholastic Federation Spirit of the Sport Award.
“I chose Simpson because I was confident that the school would help me strengthen my relationship with God, grow as a soccer player and with my future aspirations in education,” Ratzlaff said. “Simpson and Coach Rust had a lasting first impression on me. When I visited the school, I was warmly welcomed and everyone that I met was inviting.”
Stepaniak is a midfielder transferring to Simpson. In college, he earned all-region three times and was all-region MVP and all-American first team his sophomore year. He made the all-American team his junior year and is an NCCAA scholar-athlete. In high school, he made the all-conference team and was on the honor roll. He plans to major in pastoral studies.
“Christian is coming to us as a transfer student that has a lot of experience at the college level,” said head men’s soccer coach Jared Rust. “We are very excited for him to come in and give our team a boost in midfield right away with his leadership, composure and technical ability. Christian will be a great addition to our program.”
Ikwuagwu is a forward transferring to Simpson from Shasta College, where he was on the Dean’s List. He made the California Community College Soccer Coaches Association’s scholar-athlete team in 2013. He plans to major in mathematics.
“The main reason why I chose Simpson is because it’s genuine community; community has always been very important to me,” Ikwuagwu said. “At Simpson, I find a community of people who love God. I also like the campus; it makes me feel at home.”
Jones is a freshman goalkeeper who graduated high school with a 3.4 GPA and finished his first year of college with a 4.0 GPA. In 2013, he earned all-state goalkeeper honors and was team captain. He plans to major in business.
“Michael Jones is going to be a great addition to our program as a goalkeeper,” Rust said. “He has great height, with quick hands and a willingness to be vocal and demanding when necessary. We are very excited for his arrival.”
Wright is a midfielder who earned all-conference football and soccer honors and all-state soccer honors in high school. He plans to major in outdoor leadership. “I chose Simpson because it gave me another chance to play soccer and because it seems like God is opening doors for me,” he said. “I also chose it because it will give me a great experience.”
Webb is a goalkeeper who received team MVP, Coaches Award and second team all-league soccer honors. He was also a two-time cross-country team MVP. He was a scholar-athlete and on the honor roll and is a member of the California Scholastic Federation. He plans to major in accounting.
“I chose Simpson because I was familiar with many of the students, staff and athletes, having been around the school so often while my brother attended Simpson,” Webb said. “I wanted to earn my degree while being able to play college soccer in a Christian atmosphere I am comfortable in.”
Boyle is a defender and midfielder who is transferring to Simpson from Santa Rosa Junior College. He earned all-league honors his junior and senior years and was on the honor roll. He plans to major in psychology. “I chose Simpson because it was back toward home and an opportunity to keep playing soccer and furthering my education,” he said.
Fuqua is a defender and midfielder who earned second team and honorable mention all-league honors. He graduated with second honors and plans to major in biology. “I chose Simpson because I want to attend a Christian college, so that I can grow in Christ but also to play soccer,” he said.
Stieler is a defender and midfielder who qualified for the California State Science Fair under the behavioral and social psychology category. He is also the co-founder of the Sam Rowlett Memorial Scholarship Fund. He plans to major in social science.
“I am choosing Simpson because I will be able to attend with my best friend, Tristan Webb, and because he helped get me the opportunity to play college-level soccer, which is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Stieler said. “Simpson is also ideal, because for a long time now I’ve desired to strengthen my bond with God, and now I am getting that opportunity.”
Gonzalez is a midfielder who was a two-time varsity captain and a second team all-league selection. His team won the league championship his senior year. He was an AP student and is a member of the National Honor Society.
“We are very excited to have Reggie joining our program this fall,” Rust said. “He has good size and has been playing in a very competitive high school league which will really help him in the transition from high school to college ball as a freshman. He distributes the ball well and will be able to keep possession for us and help us win the middle of the field.”
Martens is a forward who was team captain his senior year and MVP. He is a National Latin Exam Scholar, an AP scholar, and film club founder. He plans to major in business.
“I chose Simpson University for its diverse community and the ability to play the sport that I love and to spread the word of God through the same sport,” said Martens. “I’m super excited to play under Coach Rust along with the team and hope to have a very successful upcoming season.”
Simpson University is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential programs. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults in the north state. Simpson’s newest programs include bachelor's degrees in Spanish and nursing, and master’s degrees in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. Learn about our new Science & Nursing Building at simpsonu.edu/snbuilding. For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit simpsonu.edu.
Contact: SU Public Relations