With the start of the Premier Development League season just over a month away, Mississippi Brilla FC has added a quartet of local college talent. Three of the four players are no strangers to Brilla as they logged minutes in previous seasons.
Goalkeeper Carl Blundell and midfielder Eduardo Cruz are graduates of Belhaven University in Jackson, MS, and both were a part of the 2012 NAIA National Championship team. Blundell, a native of York, England, was the starting goalkeeper for most of Brilla’s 2014 season. He logged over 1000 minutes in 12 games, registering 65 saves with 2 shutouts.
“Carl was a great leader for our team last season,” said Executive Director Rusty Bryant. “We are thrilled to have a goalkeeper with his experience back with us for another season.”
Cruz participated in Mississippi’s 2013 PDL season, contributing 3 goals and 1 assist. The Sao Paulo, Brazil native was a 2nd Team NAIA All-American as a senior in 2014.
“Eduardo is an exciting player with the ability to control the tempo of the game. His technical ability and awareness is fun to watch and will really suit the way we are going to play,” said Head Coach Mark McKeever. “I have high expectations for Eduardo this season. He brings tremendous experience having won a national title in college, and he has also played in the PDL previously."
Mississippi College midfielder/defender Kase Kingery will be entering his 3rd season with Brilla. Kingery, from Starkville, MS, has contributed 3 goals and 1 assist in 26 games for Brilla over 2 seasons.
“Kase has been an important part of our team for the last two years,” said Bryant. “He has grown as a player on the field, but has been just as valuable to us off the field. Kase has really embraced the ministry of Brilla, and is always eager to be a part of our Urban Ministry.”
Kingery will be joined by his Mississippi College teammate, Brian Vasquez. Vasquez, a senior midfielder from Houston, TX, was named NCCAA All-American after leading all NCAA Division II players with 17 assists. He finished his college career as the school’s leader in assists with 40. He also netted 7 goals during his senior season.
“Our style this year will include a fast flowing game where players will be allowed to work together and be creative, which is going to suit Brian very well,” said McKeever. “His record for assists at his college is a reflection of his ability to create for players who surround him.”
Mississippi Brilla kicks off its 2015 season with a home match on May 16. All home games are played at Clinton High School’s Arrow Field.