by Datti Jinkiri
Brilla coach Mark McKeever has used his UK connections to help him land two more prospects for Brilla. University of Maryland Baltimore County's Tom Paul and Southwestern Christian University's Adam Butler will be joining the club this summer.
Paul is a sophomore defender from Stalybridge, England. He started the match in his only appearance of this past season. Before that, he logged nine matches and three starts in a freshman season that saw him help lead UMBC to the NCAA College Cup semifinals. He capped that season off by being named Freshman of the Year. Paul has prior experience with the Blackburn Rovers youth teams, where he was captain of the U-16 and U-18 sides.
“Tom Paul is a player that I expect to be at the highest level in the PDL,” McKeever stated. “Having featured in the Final Four, I think this paints a picture of the caliber of player we are getting. Tom has also had a great footballing education from Blackburn, having played U13 right up to the reserve squad. Tom is the type of player that can help us win championships because he ticks a lot of boxes on and off the ball. He's also another player who is comfortable playing centrally or out wide.”
Butler, a London native, anchored SCU's defense and earned himself 23 starts this past season. The senior capped off a stellar career by being named an NAIA All-American Honorable Mention. His strong play helped lead the Eagles to the NCCAA Central Region final and a semifinal appearance at the NCCAA National Tournament in Kissimmee, Florida. Butler also played for the Laredo Heat in the PDL last summer.
“Having played against Adam on a couple of occasions last season, we know exactly what he will bring to the team,” McKeever said. “For me, Adam was the best center-back in our division last year. He is a no nonsense player that will win a high percentage of physical battles and on top of that, he can do the simple things on the ball that will allow players around him to express themselves. On top of this, Adam has a huge voice and presence that will help us maintain our shape because he has a desire to organize players around him. I am excited to work with Adam this summer!”
Mississippi Brilla FC will open the 2016 season by hosting the U.S. Open Cup First Round on Wednesday, May 11. The team opens its PDL season with a home contest against Peachtree City on May 14. Home matches will be played at Clinton’s Traceway Park.