Soccer Arrives on Campus
Conway - The Chanticleers broke into its first season in the Sun Belt Conference with the same vigor they have always had and it showed as CCU won the regular season and then the tournament title for their first Sun Belt Championship, and in the process securing another NCAA berth.
The goals for 2017 will not be any different and with a strong returning nucleus and the addition of a talented signing class, the future continues to look strong for the Chants.
The Chanticleers reported today to begin preparations for the 2017 season.
The strength of the team starts at the top and Head Coach Shaun Docking returns to the CCU sidelines for his 20th season where he has led the Chants to 13 regular season conference and tournament titles as well as leading the team to 14 NCAA Tournament berths.
He has become the career-wins leader at CCU with a record of 252-112-34 (.661) and his all-time record as a head coach is 272-131-36 (.646).
Docking has the luxury of returning eight starters in 2017 and 17 lettermen. Leading that group of returners will be senior Frantzdy Pierrot, a 2016 First Team All-Sun Belt selection. Pierrot, a forward, led the team with 21 points and had a team-high eight goals on the season.
CCU also returns midfielder Martin Melchor (2nd Team All-SBC) who was next on the team in scoring with 15 points (5 goals/5 assists).
CCU’s defense was the best in the conference and one of the best in the nation, only allowing 18 goals all of last season. The Chants starting goalkeeper returns in senior Braulio Linares-Ortiz. The College Park, Md., native received Second-Team All-Sun Belt honors last season, but was arguably the best goalie in the league.
He only allowed 14 goals to lead the conference and his 0.74 goals against also was a conference-leader as were his eight shutouts. He had 69 saves on the season and had a .831 saves percentage.
The coaching staff believes they may have the strongest recruiting class in recent memory. Eight newcomers will dot the roster as well as two players who sat out last season due to NCAA rulings.
Leading the newcomers will be the National Junior College Athletic Association Player of the Year Yazeed Matthews. While CCU picked up a conference title, they at times had a difficult time finding the back of the net. Matthews could be just the fit the Chants need to help bolster their offense.
The high-scoring Matthews will transfer to CCU from Tyler Junior College where he scored 36 career goals, including 27 in 2016. He was a two-time all-conference honoree as well as earning JUCO All-America.
Another transfer will be goalkeeper Chris Datallo, coming to CCU from Quinnipiac University. The Bobcats are coming off a record 13-win 2016 season and won the 2016 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).
Two other forwards have joined the signing class in freshman Alex Ierides and junior college transfer Romario Piggott. Ierides is a member of the U21 Cyprus National Team where he was the youngest starting forward in the league. Piggott is transferring to CCU from Ancilla Community College where he was ranked fifth in the nation in NJCAA in goals scored (24) and fourth in total points (34).
Looking to build more strength to the strongest defense in the conference, the Chanticleers have signed three defenders. Idan Cohen, a freshman, comes to CCU from Tel Aviv, Israel, where plays on the U-21 Israeli National Team.
Garrett Lillie and Morten Timm also join the back row of defense for CCU. Lillie was the captain for the Seacoast U-19 team in York Maine. He also attended the US National ’99 Training Centers. Timm will transfer to CCU from USC Upstate and will have three seasons of competition remaining.
The lone midfielder signee is Carlos Becerra Gomez from West Jordan, Utah. Gomez was a member of the ’98 ODP Team and was a Region IV honoree. He scored 12 goals from his midfield position for his club team and led his high school to two state titles.
Stepping on the field after having to sit out the 2016 season are Konstantinos Loubaris and Kervin Fidel.
Fidel is a defender and is a strong defender that should help make the strong back line even stronger. Louvaris will play the midfield.
The Chants open up the 2017 season at North Carolina in an exhibition match Sunday, Aug. 13. The first regular season match will be Friday, Aug. 25 at George Mason at 1 p.m. CCU’s first home match will come Friday, Sept. 1 against UNC Greensboro at 7:30 p.m.
For complete coverage of CCU men’s soccer, follow the Chanticleers on social media at @CoastalMSoccer (twitter), facebook.com/CCUChanticleers (facebook) or visit the official home of Coastal Carolina Athletics at goccusports.com.