GREENWOOD – The Lander men's soccer program completed a successful summer campaign as several players again competed in developmental summer leagues, the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) and the Premier Development League (PDL). Teams are formed throughout the country with additional exposure and opportunities to compete at a high level.
Senior captain Jordan Skelton joined seniors Sinclaire Sandy and Richard Bryan in returning for a second season with Mississippi Brilla, while senior Oliver Brock also joined the club. Led by the four Bearcats, Mississippi Brilla improved its regular season point total from last season and narrowly missed earning a playoff berth.
Having started the summer inside the top 50 in the PDL "Top Prospects" list, Skelton rose to No. 6 by season's end, placing him as the top ranked defensive prospect in the entire league. The Newcastle, England, native was named the PDL Defender of the Year and earned a spot on the league wide Team of the Year. As a result, Skelton has spent the summer training with several professional teams in hopes of earning a contract upon graduation in December.
Bryan also found his name in the headlines. His four goals, two assists and only nine minutes of missed action saw him earn Honorable Mention All-Conference honors, as well as being one of 10 players in the running for PDL MVP honors at the midway point in the season. Brock also turned in a tremendous summer, steadying Brilla's midfield while chipping in a goal and an assist.
Other players of note this summer include seniors Sia Jamedar and Corentin Da Mutten, junior George Knight, and sophomore Thibault Chretien. Jamedar and Da Mutten helped Asheville City SC to a playoff spot in the NPSL, while Knight and Chretien both experienced games against professional teams in the US Open Cup while playing in the PDL for Ocean City and Reading United, respectively.
"Of course it makes me nervous as the Lander coach sending these guys out in the summer," said head coach Lee Squires, "but the experience and exposure they can gain can't be denied. I am proud of how our guys represented themselves and our team. The fact they are getting opportunities to compete against and train with professional teams shows the quality we have."
All eight Bearcats will return to Greenwood in hopes of helping lead Lander back to the NCAA Tournament this fall for a fourth consecutive season. Lander opens the 2018 season on August 31 with a home match against Alabama-Huntsville at 7:00 p.m.