As we move closer to the start of the 2021 Mississippi Brilla FC season, we'll take a look at the roster unit by unit. Today, Brilla's defenders and goalkeepers will be previewed.
The Back Line
Arturo Astorga (El Paso, Texas) is one of five Brilla returnees this season. He made 14 appearances for the club in the 2019 USL League Two season, tallying two goals and five assists. The attack-minded Texan finished his Azusa Pacific career with 27 goals, 29 assists, and two All-America selections. He'll be joined by college teammate Orlando Lozano (Cali, Colombia) who made 19 starts for the Cougars in the 2019 season. Lozano was the PacWest Defender of the Year and made the All-West Region Second Team.
Jake Morris (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) is a former Seattle Sounders Academy player who has also made appearances with the U-19 and U-20 United States National Teams. After a solid two-year career with Tyler Junior College, he tallied two goals and three assists with Campbell University this spring.
Two Davidson College products will be expected to contribute as well. Jamie DiLuzio (North Woodmere, N.Y.) started 41 games in his Wildcat career. He led the team in goals (five), assists (five), and points (15) in the 2019 season. Luke Bryant (Clinton, Miss.), the son of Brilla GM Rusty Bryant, is a versatile player who made two starts on Davidson's back line before an injury cut his spring short.
Alfeu Bertini (Sao Paulo, Brazil) of Oklahoma Wesleyan has been a fixture in the NAIA's number-two ranked team. The Brazilian has made 16 appearances and scored three goals for the Eagles, who are still alive in the NAIA National Tournament.
The Mississippi College trio of Aurele Chemin (Paris, France), Grant Hudson (Clinton, Miss.), and Peyton Ratcliff (Brandon, Miss.) will also feature. Chemin, a two-time GSC All-Tournament selection, has made 47 appearances on the Choctaw back line in his career. Hudson is a former Brilla Juniors club player who has made huge strides this spring, making six starts. Ratcliff, a JUCO All-Region player, made five starts for the Choctaws this spring.
Mississippi College's Connor Johnson (Madison, Miss.), a Brilla returnee, scored four summers ago in a win over Texas United. Though featuring in the Choctaw midfield this spring, he has a lot of defensive experience and can step in as well.
The goalkeeping position should be a position of strength in the Brilla squad this season. Mississippi College's Alejandro Chavarria (Madrid, Spain) set single-season records in 2019 for goals against average (0.66), save percentage (0.863), and shutouts (9). He was a First Team All-GSC selection and a First Team All-Region selection.
Jonathan Burke (Naperville, Ill.) of Eastern Illinois has started every career game that he's appeared in (41) . He was a Second Team All-Summit League selection in 2019 and finished the spring season with a career-high 11 saves against Western Illinois.
Cole Turner (Brandon, Miss.) is a Mississippi College signee who was part of Brilla's College Training Academy last summer. He made an impressive nine penalty kick saves for Brandon High School this season, with five of them coming in penalty kick shootouts.
The first time you can catch this unit in action is the Mississippi Brilla FC season opener. The season will kick off with a home game against Round Rock SC on May 15th at 7:00 p.m. Clinton High School will be the venue, and the complete Brilla schedule can be viewed HERE.