By Datti Jinkiri
Mississippi Brilla FC coach Mark McKeever continues to strengthen his Premier Development League summer squad with the additions of Lander University's Richard Bryan, Jordan Skelton, and Sinclaire Sandy, pending league approval. Lander competes in the same conference as McKeever's Young Harris team, so the gaffer was able to watch the signees twice this season. The players, who all hail from England, helped Lander earn a 1-1 record against Young Harris.
Bryan, a rising junior, made 16 starts this past season. The 5-10 defender had a successful year, racking up seven assists along with a goal. He played a vital role in Lander making it to the Peach Belt Conference championship game as well as the NCAA Tournament. McKeever obviously liked what he saw from Bryan in their teams' matches.
“Rich is a player who plays for Coach Lee Squires at Lander University. He is vice captain of a very talented Lander University, which provides an example of his strong character and leadership skills,” McKeever stated. “Rich is a player who will bring a lot of quality on both sides of the ball. Even though he is a solid defender, he will cause a lot of issues for opponents in the final third. I am excited to have Rich on board because he will add to our attacking style of football!”
Skelton, a 6-4 defender, made 18 starts on Lander's backline. The Newcastle native scored once and anchored a defense that racked up eight shutouts. McKeever had much to say about his new defensive addition.
“I have had the opportunity to watch Jordan develop over the past two years, and he is growing into a great leader and a fine center back,” McKeever said. “Jordan will bring a great deal of commitment off the ball, and his communication on the field will be key. Jordan is a player who revels in the heat of the moment, and he will be a player we can count on when the going gets tough. A huge theme for the incoming players this year was leadership, and Jordan is an example of this. He is the captain of a very good Lander University team, and I am excited to see the quality and commitment he can bring to Brilla this summer.”
Sandy, another rising junior, made 11 starts as a forward. The 5-7 Londoner was a major part of Lander's attack, scoring twice and adding four assists.
McKeever continued, “Sinclaire is the 3rd player coming from Lander University, a team that has been in the NCAA Tournament for the past two seasons. He is an exciting and versatile talent who can play a number of roles on the field. He is exciting to watch and is very creative in the final 3rd. He will cause opponents problems because he has the ability to change the environment in the blink of an eye. I predict that Sinclaire will be involved in creating many goals for us in the upcoming PDL season.”
Brilla’s 11th PDL season will begin in Georgia with a road contest at Peachtree City on May 20. The team’s home opener is slated for Thursday, May 25 at Clinton High School Arrow Field.