By Datti Jinkiri
Mississippi Brilla opened up their 2017 season last night with a 2-0 win over Peachtree City MOBA, but not before Brilla coach Mark McKeever made three late additions to the 2017 roster. Veteran Carlos Garces, Troye Kiernan, and Koray Easterling have fortified the already solid roster.
Garces was a key member of the 2015 Brilla roster, and he helped lead them to the PDL playoffs. The Colombian forward recently finished his senior season at the University of Northwest Ohio, leading them to a WHAC Title and an appearance in the NAIA Quarterfinals. Garces had five goals and five assists this season, and he finished his career with 19 goals and 23 assists.
“I am overjoyed to have Carlos back in the Brilla team,” McKeever said. “I have a lot of respect for him as a player and person. We are building our team this year on character, and Carlos is a reflection of that character. He is a hard working player that offers a lot of pace. He can also play in wide areas or as a 10 or 8. Carlos will be huge for our team this year.”
Kiernan is a teammate of recent Brilla additions Mario and Nicco Mastrangelo at St. Francis University. The rising senior midfielder grabbed 2nd team All-NEC honors after racking up four goals and two assists.
“Troye has been one of the top midfielders in the NEC during the last three seasons,” McKeever stated. “He's a true box-to-box center mid who's really effective on both sides of the ball. Troye is very strong in the air and on tackles, but he's also as efficient at making positive runs, switching the point of attack, and finishing from distance.”
Easterling played his freshman season at Tulsa as a key part of their backline. The German-born Biloxi resident played in 12 matches, making nine starts for the Golden Hurricane. He scored a goal in a 3-3 draw with Oral Roberts. He will be one of the younger players for Brilla this season, but Coach McKeever is impressed with him, nonetheless.
“Koray is a very athletic defender with loads of pace, and he offers balance with his left foot,” McKeever said. “He will provide options as a center-back and a left-back, which should utilize his pace up and down the wings. Koray got to see some great playing time at Tulsa, which speaks volumes of any freshman.”
Garces arrives to the team late, as his school semester ends this week, while both Kiernan and Easterling started last night’s win in Peachtree City.
Brilla returns from the road and will have their home opener this Thursday night when they host the Brazos Valley Cavalry at 7:00 PM at Clinton High School.