There was only one college that Sonora Wildcat goalkeeper Andrew Klatt wanted to play for — Cal Poly.
Maggie Beck / Union Democrat. Sonora senior Andrew Klatt signs his National Letter of Intent Wednesday in Bud Castle Gym. Klatt, surrounded by Wildcat head soccer coach Lloyd Longeway, dad Scott Klatt, and mom Cheryl Klatt, will attend Cal Poly next year on a partial scholarship.
With nearly a dozen programs offering some sort of scholarship aid and a roster spot, Klatt was determined to suit up for the Big West Conference university in San Luis Obispo.
“I had many offers to play at other schools,” Klatt said. “But Cal Poly was always my No. 1 choice. I just never thought that might happen.”
But his goal was attained after Klatt capped off his outstanding four-year career with an impressive performance as a senior.
Klatt recorded five clean sheets and earned first-team All-Valley Oak League honors in 2013 for the second year in a row. As a junior, he also pitched a shutout five times.
For senior fullback Gardner Davis, it wasn’t just Klatt’s ability to make amazing saves in front of goal. His most important asset was his leadership skills.
“He really helped out because he was a great communicator,” Davis said. “He orchestrated all our movements. Out of everybody on the team, he was the most verbal. If he wanted something done, he was going to let you know. He was talking the whole time.”
At certain times this season if the Sonora backline broke down, Klatt was one player the Wildcats can count on.
“You could always trust him if somebody got past somebody on a one-on-one,” Davis said. “He knew how to handle it. He’s always playing on his toes.”
Eighth-year Mustang head coach Paul Holocher plans to utilize Klatt immediately.
“Growing up in Sonora, Andrew has been attending our program’s annual ID Camps for the last few years and has really grown on us with his positive attitude, maturity and athletic ability,” Holocher said in a release. “With quick feet and excellent jumping ability, Andrew has all the physical tools to become a top-level goalkeeper. He’ll have the opportunity to train with and develop with our other excellent young goalkeepers. I’m confident that Andrew will grow and learn a lot in the coming years.”
Klatt said he will enter the fall as Cal Poly’s No. 2 goalkeeper behind starter Wade Hamilton.
But if Klatt doesn’t see any game action, there is a possibility that he will redshirt as a true freshman.
A major reason why Klatt committed to Cal Poly was for its defensive-minded style of play.
“The goalie gets used more than any college team that I know of,” Klatt said. “They don’t force anything. They build everything from the back. If you come here and play, you really have to be very, very comfortable on your feet. I have been working a lot on my footwork recently. I’m a lot more comfortable now with the ball at my feet.”
Klatt, a 6-foot-3, 165 pounder, hopes to bulk up his frame by adding 5 to 15 pounds by the time the season rolls around.
But just getting a chance to play for one of the top programs on the west coast is something he is looking forward to.
“I’m really excited and I’m honor to play there,” Klatt said. “It really is a dream come true. It’s still pretty surreal. They usually have one or two players go pro every year. I would love to do that. But we’ll see how I do. I think it will be a great opportunity. I might be able to go pro. I would really like that. That’s what I’m striving for.”