A lot will be new for Mississippi Brilla FC when the team kicks off their ninth season on May 16 with an exhibition against the Birmingham Hammers at Clinton High School.
A new coaching staff, as well as 21 players, will wear Brilla’s sky blue colors for the first time. While getting a large group of players on the same page in a very short amount of time is par for the course in the Premier Development League, it will be even more of a challenge this season. The team returns just ten players who were on the 2014 roster.
“Continuity is usually pretty important in this league,” said Brilla’s Vice President of Operations, Scott Taylor. “However, with a new coaching staff and Coach Mark McKeever implementing his own system, everyone will be starting fresh. It will be nice to have a lot of new faces here, but also great to see some of our favorite guys back from last year.”
One thing that will not be new are Brilla’s Mid-South Division opponents. After the Austin Aztex’s move into the professional ranks in USL, the division is reduced to four teams, making each match vitally important as two teams will advance to the postseason. The Houston Dutch Lions, Laredo Heat, and Midland/Odessa Sockers are all strong teams, with Laredo having won the PDL Championship in 2007.
Brilla will count on a strong input from several international players, including goalkeeper Jordan Bell (Scotland), defender Paul Weldon (England), midfielders Eduardo Cruz (Brazil), Tom Gavin (England), and Sergio Royo (Spain), and forward Lucas Almeida (Brazil).
Additionally, Brilla will need local players Phillip Buffington and Stephen Roberson, along with brothers James and Kellen Gulley to give the team a boost.
“This is always an exciting time of year for us, but this year seems to have a little more anticipation to it,” said Executive Director, Rusty Bryant. “We seem to have as much talent coming in as we have ever had, and we can’t wait to show off the product to our fans."
It all beings May 16 against the Birmingham Hammers. Kickoff at Clinton High School will be 7:00 PM.