Jan Gruhn and Agu Ortiz Return As Part of Final Signing Group
The Otters final four signings bring an exciting close to the 2022 roster. The additions of Gruhn, Ortiz, Soren Nygaard, and Erick Kilosho puts the Otters just over 30 players, with 15 different countries represented, including five (Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Norway, and Mali) for the first time. The Otters first match is less than a week away, when they face Appalachian FC in Boone in the first leg of the OtterSquatch Cup on the 10th. The return leg will be played in Johnson City on May 25th at 7 PM inside TVA Credit Union Ballpark. Wristband season tickets are now on sale here or on ottersoccer.com!
Jan Gruhn, CB, CSU-Pueblo
Jan Gruhn and Agu Ortiz join Tom Tzabari, as the only returning players from the 2021 Otter roster last summer. After not playing in the Otters first league match, Gruhn played every minute of the final 13 games, picking up two assists last summer. Defensively, Gruhn helped anchor the best defense in Otters history, and helping the Otters to a seven-game unbeaten streak. After an illustrious career at Shorter University, Gruhn played his final collegiate season at CSU-Pueblo with fellow Otter Vinzent Zingel this fall. The German defender started all 22 matches, leading the team in minutes and scoring two goals. As a team, the Thunderwolves earned their first ever NCAA Tournament berth, upsetting #22 Seattle Pacific in the first round before falling to eventual national champions Cal State LA in the second round.
Erick Kilosho, MF, Virginia
Erick Kilosho, just completed his first season with one of the most historic programs in all of college soccer. After an illustrious high school career at Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke, Virginia, Kilosho committed to the University of Virginia. This past fall, Kilosho played in 16 out of 18 games, starting nine of them. In just under 900 minutes for a youthful Cavaliers squad, Kilosho recorded one assist from his defensive midfielder position in a 3–1 win over the VCU Rams.
Agu Ortiz, MF, Anderson
After a summer manning the midfield for the Otters, Ortiz just concluded his collegiate career with the Anderson Trojans this fall. Starting in all 17 of his appearances, Ortiz scored three goals and three assists, finishing second on the team in both shots and shots on goal. The Trojans finished the season 12–4–2, advancing to the SAC Semifinals after an Ortiz game-winning assist in overtime to beat Queens. Ortiz was named to the SAC First Team as well the United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-Region Third Team and the Conference Commissioners Association All-Southeast Second Team. Last summer with the Otters, Ortiz played in 13 of 14 games recording three goals and two assists. His 23 shots already have him fourth all-time, and he will look to continue to move up the leaderboards this summer.
Soren Nygaard, W, Florida Tech
Another player with a standout collegiate and USL 2 resume is the final signing of the group in Danish attacker Soren Nygaard. After completing a four-year career at Wingate University, Nygaard is transferring to Florida Tech, two schools familiar to Otters fans. With the Bulldogs, Nygaard started all but four games in his career, tallying 18 goals and 12 assists. He was named to the SAC First Team in the spring. This past fall, he led the team in every offensive category. In 2021, Nygaard played with the Charlotte Eagles in USL League Two. Over ten appearances, he scored four goals and four assists, good for second and first, respectively, on the team.
*All signings pending league and federation approval*
You can catch up on all the signing groups here in anticipation for the first match of the season! There are still plenty more exciting announcements to come, so be sure to follow @ottersoccer on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for information on camp, players, tickets, and more! #FearTheFur #Path2Pro