Flames add Reyneke to soccer squad
Having a former player as a local high school coach is paying big dividends for the Lee University men's soccer team.
Already with a trio of players that led Cleveland High to its first TSSAA State Soccer Tournament last spring, Flames coach Henry Moyo has inked a fourth key Raider from that squad with the signing of forward Sias Reyneke.
"We were district champs in 2007. Last year we won the region and sectional championships and made our first state tournament. Sias played a significant role in both of those championship seasons," former Flame and current Cleveland High coach John Brose related.
With his senior season just a few weeks away, Reyneke was thrilled to accept the offer to continue his soccer career with a program that played in back-to-back NAIA national tournaments. "It is a real challenge for me to get the opportunity to play for a program that competes on a national level," expressed Reyneke, who will be joining former Raider teammates Edgar Cordero, Drew Henderson and Marlon Ayala, all freshmen with the Flames.
"I have been watching this program (Cleveland) for several years and saw John (Brose) develop it into a strong program that is producing some very strong players," coach Moyo commented. "Sias is a very, very technical player with strong skills and a very good work ethic."
"He has come to our camps and I have watched him develop. He has very good field vision and a strong understanding of the game. He has a passion for the game and most importantly is willing to learn. He wants to get better and is willing to work hard to do that."
"Sias has a great work ethic and is very coachable," coach Brose related. "He is one of the smartest players Ive ever coached. He knows the game. He has meant a lot to our program and we are looking forward to another great year with him leading the way."
Reynekes abilities on the pitch are just one of the things that attracted the attention of the Lee coaching staff. "He is very strong academically and has a very strong, Christian family background, stated Coach Moyo. He is a great kid all the way around in the classroom, in life, as well as on the field," added Brose.
With a 4.0 grade point average, Reyneke is tied for first in this class academically with just a couple of months remaining until graduation. "One the main reasons I chose Lee is because of their academics," explained Reyneke. "Ive had a great experience here (at Cleveland High). The team has a special bond. We have a very positive atmosphere and pick each other up if we get down. I hope to have that same experience at Lee."
After scoring four goals and an assist for an 11-8-1 Raider team as a sophomore, Reyneke upped his production to 10 goals last year as Cleveland went 18-6. He scored the game-winning goal in the region semifinal victory over Ooltewah that advanced the Raiders to the sectional game.
As for switching from the spring high school season to the fall college game, Reyneke stated, "Ive been playing for the PSA club team in Chattanooga. That has prepared me to play year-round against high quality players."
Reyneke will be following in the footsteps of some top-notch players who have worn the Flame uniform, including Ricardo Pierre-Louis and Stanley Nyazamba. The pair were NAIA All-Americans two years ago before playing this past season for the Columbus Crew which won the Major League Soccer Championship over the New York Red Bulls in November.
Yelton announces signing class for 2009
Lee University head soccer coach Matt Yelton announced the signing of nine players to scholarships on Wednesday as the Lady Flames look to defend their national championship.
The Lady Flames are coming off a year that saw them post a 24-1-1 on their way to the school’s first ever NAIA National Championship. The Lady Flames return 8-of-11 starters in 2009, and should have the necessary firepower to put up on a strong defense of their national championship.
Lee’s 2009 recruiting class is a large one, and Coach Yelton states, “This may be the best class that we have ever signed at Lee, and given the nature of our success the last few years, that is saying something.”
The members of the 2009 class are Darcy Brannen, Amy Cochran, Kim Conrad, Ali Eisnaugle, Louise Fensome, Claire Lanter, Lindsey Muratta, Missy Shaw, and Leah Wilson. “I'm extremely excited about these nine players and I'm looking forward to working with them for the next four years," said Yelton.
“This is a very versatile class and all of these players will be able to come in and contribute right away. One of the issues we felt we had to address with this recruiting class was to bring in quality players that can get into our team quickly and by their sophomore season be able to step into the void that we will have after graduating a large senior class.”
Coach Yelton summed up his class by stating, “One of our priorities in recruiting has always been to bring in the best local players that we can, and I believe that we have added five of the top players from the state of Tennessee with this year’s class. "In addition," he added. "we have been able to stay even closer to home and reach out and bring three of the top players in the 2009 Chattanooga senior class to Lee.”
Brannen comes to Lee from Soddy-Daisy, Tenn., where she played for East Ridge Express Soccer Club and has played the last four seasons for Yelton. She is the daughter of John and Jacquie Brannen and is the younger sister of Nikki who plays college soccer at Carson Newman.
She helped lead her club team to a the 2007 State Cup Final, and in 2008 was a crucial member of the squad that captured the Region Three Premier League title and advanced to Southern Regionals. For the last three seasons she has lead the team in scoring while playing as a forward or attacking midfielder.
Branned played her high school soccer at Notre Dame High School, under the tutelage of Coach Jim Schermerhorn, where she was a four-year starter. Along the way, she was named the team’s best midfielder as Notre Dame advanced to the state semi-final game in each of her four years.
“Having had the honor to coach Darcy the last four years, I believe she is going to bring a great deal to our Lee team.” Yelton said. “Darcy is a force on the field because she can play and score from almost anywhere and is an extremely competitive player. Also, she is an absolute soccer junkie and has a great understanding of the game and is a true student of the game.”
Cochran comes to Lee all the way from Yorba Linda, Calif. Cochran played for one of the top high schools in Southern California (Esperanza High School) under the direction of coach John King and helped lead her team to the 2008 Sunset League Championship and to the state semi-finals in 2007 and state quarterfinals in 2008.
For her efforts she was named to the All-League team. Esperanza is currently ranked as the No. 6 team in the nation by ESPN Rise Magazine. Amy’s club accomplishments are just as impressive as she played for one of the top club teams in the United States, Slammers FC, under the direction of coach Ramon Reid.
“Amy is a quality athlete. She is a talented soccer player and her best soccer is still in front of her. I was impressed with her impact on the game every time I watched her. She will be an outstanding college soccer player. Her experience playing in big games will only make it easier for her to step up to the college level.” Amy is the daughter of David and Marguerite Cochran.
Conrad hails from Murfreesboro, Tenn. She attends Siegel High School and played her high school soccer under the direction of Eric Shelton, and plays her club soccer for Stones River Soccer Club where she is currently coached by Graham Whitehouse. She is the daughter of Dan and Janet Conrad.
Kim comes to Lee as one of the most decorated players coming out of the state of Tennessee in the 2009 recruiting class. The Stones River Strikers have captured seven straight state championships and were semi-finalist at Southern Regionals in 2005 and 2006 and advanced to the quarterfinals in 2008. In her seven years with the team, Kim has served as a team captain for four of those seasons.
Conrad has been equally successful while playing for Siegel High School. She captained the team to the 2008 Tennessee AAA State Championship. During her high school career she has won multiple district and regional honors and was selected Tennessee All-State in 2007 and 2008. She finished her career as the third-leading goal-scorer in school history.
Coach Yelton had this to say about Conrad, “I think Kim is one of the top players coming out of Tennessee this year. She has the ability to play in a number of different positions and has demonstrated a great deal of success along the way. The quality that I especially appreciate about Kim is that while her individual play may not be incredibly flashy, by the end of the match she is often the player who has made the biggest contribution to her team’s winning result.”
Eisnaugle comes to Lee by way of Franklin, Tenn. and will join older sister Chelsea in wearing the maroon and white. She played her high school soccer at Independence under the direction of David Cordero de Jesus. She is the daughter of Jon and Amy Eisnaugle.
Ali, along with fellow signee Kim Conrad, plays her club soccer for the Stones River Strikers team. Eisnaugle had an outstanding senior season and earned several individual awards while playing for Independence. She was selected to both the All-Region and All-District Team and her season was capped off with the tremendous honor of being named to the Tennessee All-State Team.
“Ali is a very polished player and has the knack for being in the right place at the right time,” coach Yelton stated. “She impressed us in how much she contributed to each team we watched her play for in the last year and a half. She was always making players around her better and we believe she is only going to get better and will be a very good college player.”
Fensome becomes Yelton’s latest addition from the UK and hails from St Neots, England. She is currently enrolled at Filton College where she is a member of the Bristol Academy team and is coached by Mark Sampson. Bristol Academy is regarded as the top Academy in England and has won back-to-back national championships. She is the daughter of Sue Fensome.
Fensome has been a starter at Bristol Academy for the two years she has been enrolled in the program and currently serves as one of the team captains. Bristol is undefeated in their march towards a third consecutive national championship.
“Louis is a quality defender that can excel anywhere across the backline. She has an outstanding understanding of the game and her experience playing at one of the top levels in England will be very valuable to our squad,” Yelton stated.
Lanter hails from Soddy-Daisy, Tenn. and attended Soddy-Daisy High School. Her older sister, Paige, plays her college soccer at Samford under the direction of Coach Matt Yelton’s brother, Todd Yelton. Claire is the daughter of Greg and Jeana Lanter.
Claire had a very successful high school career at Soddy-Daisy under the direction of coach Moises Drummond. While she captainied the team, Soddy-Daisy won two district and regional championships and also advancing to the state quarterfinals in 2007. For her efforts she was twice voted the District 6 MVP and also Regional Defensive Player of the Year Honors in her junior and senior seasons. In addition she was twice recognized as the Times-Free Press Best of Preps award winner, and capped off her senior season with an all-state selection.
Lanter played her club soccer under Yelton and a was crucial to the teams success the last two season as the club advanced to the 2007 State Cup Final. In 2008, Lanter was a key component of the squad that captured the Region Three Premier League title and lead the league in goals against as Express advanced to Southern Regionals.
“Claire is another local player who we are excited about getting into our program," said Yelton. "Having had the opportunity to work with her the last three years, I believe she has all of the qualities of an excellent college player. Claire possesses everything we look for in a player – size, speed, quickness, work rate, passing ability and skill to make things happen. "She loves the game of soccer and her abilities in defense will impact our team immediately," added Yelton. "Claire has really come into her own the past two years and could help us in a number of defensive positions. We are excited to have her as a Lady Flame and our fans will enjoy her abilities.”
Muratta is one of two players that Yelton reached into the state of Alabama to recruit. Lindsey is from Gadsden and prepped at Gadsden City High under the direction of coach Billy Martin. She played her club soccer for the Gadsden Tornado. She is the daughter of Paul and Mary Muratta and Cindy Kasper.
While at Gadsden City, she led the team to a Final Four of the Alabama State Tournament as a freshman and then went on to be named her team’s MVP the next four seasons. She was named to multiple all-district and all-region teams. For her club team she helped direct the team to two state championships while also spending time with the Alabama ODP team.
“Lindsey is a hard working defender who is going to give you her best every time out," said Yelton. "She is a good passer of the ball and is constantly hitting quality distribution from the back line. She is also strong on the ball and reads the game well. I believe she will develop into a very good player for the Lady Flames.”
Shaw is the second player that Yelton was able to persuade to leave the state of Alabama. She is from Birmingham and has spent the last five seasons of a very successful high school career at Briarwood Christian. She is the daughter of Bob and Cindy Shaw.
Missy has been a mainstay in midfield for Briarwood, starting as an eighth grader and establishing the team as one of the tops in Alabama. In her time patroling the midfield, Briarwood has played in four straight state championship matches, and won the title twice in 2005 and 2006. She will be looked upon to lead the team to their third state title as the 2009 season kicks off in a few weeks.
Her club team has been equally impressive in their achievements while she has been a member of the team. She has spent her club career playing for Birmingham United Elite and has been a part of three state championship teams. This past December her team captured the championship while competing in the elite Disney Showcase.
“Missy is a player who I think has a great understanding of the game,” said Yelton. “She has worked hard to develop her own game and because of her technical ability rarely concedes possession. She will bring a lot of intensity and desire to our team and we believe that she will make an impact right away.”
Wilson is the final member of the 2009 class. She is another local product from Chattanooga who prepped for Chattanooga Christian. She is the daughter of Gerald and Janice Wilson.
Leah has spent the last five seasons as the starting goalkeeper for one of the top A-AA schools in Tennessee. In her five years with the team, CCS has played in one state final, two semi-final matches, and one quarterfinal match.
In her five-year career, she racked up 58 shutouts on her way to being named a three year member of the Chattanooga Best of Preps team and was selected to the prestigious Tennessee All-State Team in her sophomore, junior and senior seasons.
“The biggest thing about her is she brings skill and athletic ability that are hard to find in a goalkeeper,” Yelton said. “She already has the skill to step into a good college program and play right away, and I think she’ll continue to improve.”
Wednesday, February 18, 2009