Head Coach Adam Pearce released the names of the Spring Hill College men's soccer signing class for 2009 on Monday morning. The current class is composed of nine student-athletes including a junior college transfer and features Pearce's trademark philosophy of aggressive physical players that he can count on to push the offense and stand their ground defensively.
Incoming junior Wilfredo "Willy" Sanchez joins the Badgers after a successful two-year career at Western Texas College in Snyder, Texas, where he played in 45 matches
with 40 starts. He scored six goals with 10 assists as a central midfielder for 22 total points for the Westerners.
Originally hailing from Nicaragua, the 5'7" Sanchez (right) prepped in Miami, Fla., before signing with WTC where he made the Dean's List in each of his four semesters. His academic interests lean toward International Business. "Willy brings a load of experience and technical ability under pressure," said Pearce. "His maturity on and off the field advances SHC soccer exponentially. He will be a leader even with this being just his first year at Spring Hill. Willy has an attacking mindset and a real desire to get to the goal."
Joining Sanchez will be fellow Floridian Andrés "Andy" Poveda, a 5'8" defender/midfielder from Niceville High School and Coach Craig Wallace's Emerald Coast United Soccer Club. At Niceville, Poveda's teams won consecutive District 1-5A
championships in 2008 and 2009, building a 24-2-2 record. He scored six goals with 14 assists for a total of 26 points for NHS. Poveda was a member of eight tournament championships with Emerald Coast.
Away from the pitch, Poveda (right, No. 17) graduated with honors and was awarded a Florida Bright Futures Gold Medallion along with a SHC Ignatian Leadership Scholarship. "Andy is a very accomplished student," says Pearce. "He is Spring Hill through and through. He's excited to be a Badger and bought into our program before he even set foot on campus. Andy is extremely mature and I admire his individual determination and desire to excel in the most competitive environments."
Forward Harrison Kennedy of Stuttgart (Ark.) High School comes to Spring Hill after leading his prep squad in assists for the past three seasons and averaging 14 goals
per season for his career. A letterman in both soccer and football, Kennedy was selected All Conference in both sports and was All State in soccer in both his sophomore and senior years. In 2008, he led SHS to the State Playoffs for the first time in program history while leading his team in assists. He also played club soccer for Grand Prairie Soccer.
In the classroom, Kennedy (left, in red) plans to pursue a degree in Business. Pearce comments, "Harrison is raw but very athletic and will adjust to the college game smoothly. He's a tremendous player with a work rate that every player - new and returning - will have to rival. He really advances the quality and character of our team."
Rainer Mays (right, white jersey) of Hendersonville, Tenn., joins the Badgers from Pope
John Paul II High School and the Brentwood Chaos Soccer Club as a defensive center midfielder. A 2008 All-County selection for PJP, he won a state championship with the Chaos in 2006-07. The 6'0" freshman will study pre-dentistry and has already impressed his coach. "Rainer is a unique player," says Pearce. "He has good height and is a balanced technical player. He'll add a different dimension and look to our team."
Pensacola Catholic High School's Justin Iserman (left) will play in the central midfield for the Badgers and comes to The Hill via Coach Fraga DaRosa's Brazilian Pro Soccer Club in Pensacola, Fla. He was a member of the Pensacola Sports Association's 2009 West Florida All-Star Soccer team and served as team captain as a junior and senior.
A product of SHC alumnus Coach Adrian Capote at PCHS, Iserman has a bright future according to Pearce, "Justin adds depth to our line up. As he learns more of the college game and develops physically, he will mature into a fine college soccer player. He has a great attitude and a determined work rate."
Franco "Frankie" Pica (right) brings a physical presence with his 6'1' frame to Badger soccer,
but he also brings experience as a four-year starter at Marquette High School in Ellisville, Mo. As a senior, he was a major part of his team's Suburban West Conference championship and was selected to the All-District team. A two-time winner of the Golden Boot Award for most goals scored, Pica also played cornerback, wide receiver and kicker on the MHS football team. He was also the leading scorer for Coach Norm Shoultz's Club Giuliani Soccer.
"Frankie has great pace and a great physical presence," said Pearce, "He will be a physical force to be reckoned with in our front third." Pica will major in business.
In goal, Pearce adds Tommy Campbell from John F. Kennedy Catholic High School in St. Louis, Mo., to his defense. A 3-year starter for JFK, Campbell (left) was the Missouri Coaches Association's Goalkeeper of the Year as a senior and was selected All-State, All-District and 1st Team All-Conference by the Archdiocesan Athletic Conference. Also appearing on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's All-Metro Team, Campbell recorded 281 saves as a senior for a save percentage of .940.
Playing for the Scott Gallagher Soccer Club under Head Coach Jim Taylor and Goalkeeper Coach Brian Jones, Campbell was also the Co-MVP of JFK's football team in 2008. "Tommy's great size will allow us to have confidence in competing in the air game versus the rest of the conference," says Pearce. "I expect him to compete for the starting job from Day One. With his love of training and working out, Tommy will be able to fulfill all of his potential."
Foley (Ala.) High School product Trey Smith will compete to play at wide midfielder for the Badgers after a successful prep career under Coach Tatum Saltz. Smith played for Baldwin County in the 2009 "Battle of the Bay" in Mobile. "Trey is a hard-working winger who loves to attack and can really get up and down the line," Pearce remarked. "I look for him to learn a lot in his first year, but his natural athleticism pared with some experience should make him into a strong college player."
A teammate of Smith's at Foley High, Zack McDuffie turned down a football scholarship elsewhere to accept a role as a defender for the Badger soccer team. "Zack is a pure athlete with tremendous speed, strength and a passion to be a lock-down defender," said Pearce. "Zack adds depth to the line up and I expect him to see some quality minutes in his first season."
The Badgers open the 2009 season on August 30 at non-conference rival Auburn-Montgomery with a 4 p.m. kickoff.