by Datti Jinkiri
Brilla coach Mark McKeever has made three more additions to his ever growing squad. He is shoring up the defense by adding goalkeepers Brendan Ledgeway and Jake Leeker. Midfielder Kenneth Kauker will also be an addition to the already solid midfield.
Ledgeway played Division II soccer at the University of Montevallo. The man from York, England was named First and Second Team All-Conference, Conference All-Tournament team, NSCAA Region Second Team All-Region, NCAA Region First Team All-Region and Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year during his storied career. Ledgeway also holds previous PDL experience, as he was a Brilla player in 2013.
Leeker emerged as the man between the sticks for the University of Memphis this season. The Junior from St. Louis started 11 games and logged over 1000 minutes for the Tigers during the season. One of his best games came in a 1-0 away win against UCONN, where he made four big saves.
According to McKeever, both players will have a large role to play.
“Anyone at the highest level knows how important it is to have two good goalkeepers,” said McKeever. "I can say very confidently that our two keepers this year are quality. Brendan comes to us having been player of the year in one of the toughest conferences in Division II, and he is a player that should have gone on to play professionally. Having played against him several times, I am now very excited to have him on my side keeping clean sheets and helping Brilla win championships. Although Brendan is the more mobile of the two keepers, Jake brings with him a huge presence (6'4”) and 2 years at the Division 1 level with Memphis. Jake is a keeper that any PDL team in the country would be glad to have, and I am delighted he chose to represent Brilla this summer. Both of these keepers will compliment one another very well!”
Kauker, a Memphis native, started 13 games in the heart of his hometown university's midfield. He was key to the Tigers' wins over Central Arkansas, UCONN, and Georgia State this season.
“KK is another D1 player that is instrumental in his college team, and he comes highly recommended from the coaching staff at the University of Memphis,” McKeever said. “He has a great engine and will cover ground in the box to box role. With his experience, work ethic, and ability to work both sides of the ball, he will be an important feature for Brilla this summer.”
Mississippi Brilla FC opens its PDL season with a home contest against Peachtree City on May 14. Home matches will be played at Clinton’s Traceway Park.