Milligan welcomes incoming talent

from staff reports

   Milligan head men's soccer coach Marty Shirley has announced that 15 talented young men have signed letters of intent to enroll and play soccer for the Buffaloes.
   Jason Rhodes, a freshman defender from Troy High School, will be a strong addition to the Buffs' back line. He was named most improved player at Troy and won the Mike Beard Memorial Award given to the most valuable senior player.
   "Jason is a very tenacious defender and has a very high work rate," said Shirley.
   Lee Schweizer will be the third Schweizer to put on the Buff uniform for Milligan. He was the captain of the Mahwah High School team as well as an impact player for the U-18 Bergen Raiders Select. He is a versatile player who can help the team in the backfield and in the midfield.
   Joshua Stephens enters his first year at Milligan after scoring 11 goals and tallying 11 assists as a striker at Fletcher High School. He was a 2004 5A Florida state finalist and was second in goals and points for the Senators.
   Jeremiah Key was a 4-year starting varsity defender at Salem Baptist High School. He was named captain and was an All-Conference selection.
   "Jeremiah will look to compete for a spot in the Buffs back line this fall," said Shirley.
   Brandon McKay enters his first year at Milligan after an outstanding career at McNeil High School and for the CCU Longhorns.
   "Brandon is a crafty midfielder who will be a great addition to the already strong and talented midfield for the Buffs," said Shirley.
   Brett Johnson is the definitive utility player. This Largo United and Osceola High School standout will look to make an immediate impact this fall. Johnson captained Largo to a Fla. State Championship and led his high school team to a state final four. He has an "impressive combination of talent, leadership, and dedication."
   James Allen, a 4-year varsity defender and Texas ODP player, is an "aggressive and intelligent" center back who also had a successful career with Dallas Inter Black. James is expected to make an immediate contribution to the Buffs defense this fall.
   "James is a very smart and hard hitting center back and reads the game very well," commented Shirley.
   Nii Ashie Kotie is expected to make a significant contribution to the Buffs offense. A versatile player who is effective in the midfield and at the striker position, Kotie has great size and athletic ability. He was a four year starter for Melbourne Central Catholic HS and long time member of the Cocoa Expo, Super-Y league.
   Samuel Belmar comes to Milligan after making the regional semi-finals in Texas last year. He has good size and will fill a much needed spot at center back this fall.
   "Sam is a very aggressive, hard hitting back that will certainly strengthen the Buffs back four. He has above average speed and reads attacking schemes brilliantly," said Shirley.
   Jordan Browning is an explosive striker from State Champion AFC Lightning in Atlanta, Ga. He was a 3-year varsity starter and captain with Upson-Lee High School, where he played central midfield.
   "Jordan will be a great addition to our already potent attack. He is a quick and aggressive finisher who will look for immediate playing time with the Buffs," added Shirley.
   Justin Ridenhour is a striker with good size and athletic abilities. He played multiple sports for Anderson County High School, where he was also the valedictorian of his class and captain of his soccer team.
   Kyle Wilcox joins two former Covenant Christian High School teammates in his first year at Milligan. An Indiana State ODP standout, Wilcox will look to make an immediate impact in the Buffs midfield.
   "Kyle is very talented left-footed and attack minded middy. He has a powerful shot and very deceptive speed," commented Shirley.
   David Esarey was a captain at Terry Parker High School for two years. He is very quick and technically sound on the ball.
   "He is a crafty, well-traveled midfielder who will look to compete for time in the Buffs midfield this fall," said Shirley.
   Kofi Frimpong was an All-State selection and team MVP at the Master's School in Connecticut. He is the school's career leading goal scorer with 88 goals and holds the single season goal record with 48 goals.
   "Kofi knows where the goal is and has no problem getting the ball there by using his blazing speed and brilliant technique. A native of Ghana, Africa, Kofi will look to make an immediate impact with the Buffs this fall," said Shirley.
   Michael Negussi completes the recruiting class for 2004. A striker/outside midfielder from Mt. Mission School, Grundy, Va., Negussi is a technically sound and fast player who will add depth up front for the Buffs.
   During their 2003 campaign, the Buffs were named Ohio Dominican Tournament champions and advanced to the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) semifinals, where they ended their season 12-8-1. Only losing four seniors, the Buffs hope to be one of the top contenders in the AAC.
   "We've had exceptional success in recruiting quality student athletes for next year's team," said Shirley. "With the addition of these players, we should have productivity on the scoreboard as well as sure up holes in our defense."
   He added: "Next year's schedule will be one of the toughest schedules the program has ever experienced. It includes a game with the number one team in the NAIA. Hopefully, the advanced competition will help prepare us for tournaments."
   The Buffs kick off their 2004 campaign at Tusculum College (Greeneville, Tenn.) on August 26, 6:00 p.m.