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Amherst senior Brandon Vazquez verbally commits to UMass for men’s soccer

GAZETTE FILE PHOTO
Brandon Vazquez, right, of Amherst Regional, verbally committed to the University of Massachusetts Friday night.

GAZETTE FILE PHOTO Brandon Vazquez, right, of Amherst Regional, verbally committed to the University of Massachusetts Friday night. Purchase photo reprints »

Amherst Regional senior Brandon Vazquez is staying local.

The boys soccer center midfielder verbally committed to the University of Massachusetts Friday night.

Vazquez announced his decision on Twitter: “Officially committed to attend and play at the University of Massachusetts, Class of 2018.”

“I was really excited about it,” he said. “I just thought I’d let people know.”

Vazquez, who has 10 goals and three assists for the Hurricanes (10-3-4), received looks from Division III, II and I schools, including UMass Lowell and New Hampshire.

Vazquez had nine goals, four assists and was named All-State last season when the Hurricanes won their first Western Massachusetts Division 1 Tournament championship. Amherst advanced to the state finals where it lost 1-0 to Needham.

It was during his junior season when UMass took notice.

“I got to know (UMass coach Sam Koch) around this time last year,” he said. “They reached out to me. They watched me play. They showed high interest in me.”

Before Vazquez made his decision, he reached out to former teammates Tucker Bixby (Brandeis) and Hans Erickson (Wesleyan).

“I talked to a few of the older guys, asked why they chose the division they play in,” he said. “They helped me out a lot.”

The Minutemen (2-11-1) have struggled this season, but that didn’t bother Vazquez.

“They have a young team and I thought I could be a part of something,” Vazquez said. “They’re in the building process and they could be a really strong team.”

Vazquez didn’t know what position he will play in college.

“I have to work hard and earn a starting spot,” he said. “I’ll be happy where ever.”

Amherst closes its regular season Saturday night at home against Chicopee. Tournament seeds will be announced Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Granby High School.

“I’m really excited for the playoffs to start,” Vazquez said. “I think we’re a solid team. We still have some things to work on but we’ll be ready for the playoffs.”

Mike Moran can be reached at mmoran@gazettenet.com.

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