ELON, N.C. – Elon head men’s soccer coach Darren Powell has announced the addition of seven student-athletes who will don the maroon and gold for the Phoenix in 2012 as the squad aims for a second straight Southern Conference Tournament crown. Chad Craig (Gilbertsville, Pa./Boyertown), Charles Howard (Upper Darby, Pa./Upper Darby), Myles Mansfield (Greensboro, N.C./Greensboro Day School), Samuel McBride (Greensboro, N.C./Wesleyan Christian Academy), Chris Shannon (Raleigh, N.C./Cardinal Gibbons), Jonathan Wenger (Lititz, Pa./Warwick), Rheese Wiltshire (Saint Petersburg, Fla./Shorecrest Prep) will all suit up for Elon next season.
“We are excited to announce such a strong class of student-athletes to our program,” noted Powell. “All the players bring their own set of unique characteristics to help our program. This group will compete for time on the field from day one and push all of our returning players.
“Coach Little and Coach Potter have worked extremely hard in the formation of this recruiting class. We hope this group can complement our returning team and help us repeat as Southern Conference champions and continue to improve our program.”
Chad Craig, 5-11, 165, Forward, Penn Fusion Soccer Academy
A four-year varsity soccer player at Boyertown, Craig was the leading scorer in the PAC-10 league for three straight seasons, earning all-league honors in each of those years. The forward broke the school record with 73 career goals and 36 career assists. As a senior, Craig was an all-state selection, an All-Southeastern PA All-Star and a Region 2 All-American.
Craig’s club teams won five EPYSA state championships and three Region I titles. This past fall, Penn Fusion was the USYS National Championship runner-up and was ranked first in the nation by GotSoccer.com. Craig was selected to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships Best 11 in 2011.
Why Elon: “Elon has the major I am interested in (Sports Management) and I look forward to playing soccer at a very high level.”
“I am looking forward to playing soccer with this group of guys and making a run to the NCAA Tournament.”
According to Powell: “Chad is a good target forward who plays well with his back to the goal. He is able to allow others to get in position with his hold up play and can score a variety of goals. We look forward to his arrival on campus next fall.”
Charles Howard, 5-8, 150, Defensive Midfielder, Lower Merion Velez
Howard has joined the Elon soccer team for the spring season, coming to Elon after playing two years of soccer at Otero Junior College where he was selected first-team all-conference. Howard was a four-year starter for Upper Darby High School, earning first-team all-league honors in his final two seasons. He was a regional All-American as a senior and a two-time team MVP. His club team was a state cup finalist in 2010 and the squad followed that with a state cup title in 2011.
Why Elon: “I decided to attend Elon because it is a phenomenal school. I also wanted to be part of a competitive team and get a good education.”
“I am looking forward to playing with a great group of guys at a very competitive level. I am also looking forward to getting my degree in sport and event management.”
According to Powell: “Charles has arrived on campus and impressed the coaches with his work rate and character from the first day of spring workouts. He is a mobile, holding midfielder who will compete for everything. He has good technique and as he improves his game, he will help our team.”
Myles Mansfield, 5-11, 175, Center Midfielder, NC Fusion
A two-time NCISAA All-Region honoree, Mansfield helped his Greensboro Day School team to back-to-back NCISAA state championships in 2009 and 2010. The midfielder was an all-conference and all-state selection as a senior. Mansfield’s club team in the Greensboro Youth Soccer Academy was invited to the Academy Finals Week in 2009 and in 2010 the squad finished the season ranked fifth in the nation.
Why Elon: “Elon had the whole package. It offered a quality education, great coaches and a team that knows how to win. I saw Elon as a place that would give me the best opportunity to succeed on and off the field.”
“I am most looking forward to playing against great competition day in and day out. I am hoping to help our team reach new heights and make it to the next round in the NCAA Tournament.”
According to Powell: “Myles is a hard-working midfielder who is able to run all day. His tenacious attitude and willingness to do anything to win will help our program this fall. He has had many good soccer experiences prior to arriving at Elon and we hope that his success continues this fall and beyond.”
Samuel McBride, 6-0, 165, Midfielder/Defender, NC Fusion
A central midfielder for Wesleyan Christian Academy, McBride scored over 30 goals and had 25 assists in his final two seasons, leading the team to a 2011 NCISAA state crown. He collected all-state, all-region and scholar All-American accolades during his prep career. McBride had much success with his club team, including helping the NC Fusion U15/U16 Academy Team to a sixth-place finish at the Academy National Finals Week in 2011.
Why Elon: “I decided to attend Elon because it is the perfect balance of academics, soccer and campus life.”
“I am most looking forward to the four years of soccer experience at a high Division I soccer program.”
According to Powell: “Sam is a midfielder or defender who has a strong work rate. He was an academic All-American in high school and we hope he can continue his good work in college. Sam will be an asset to our team with his ability to head the ball both defensively and as an attacking option. We look forward to having him here at Elon this fall.”
Christopher Shannon, 6-1, 185, Goalkeeper, 93 Triangle United Gold
Shannon was a four-year letterwinner at Cardinal Gibbons, serving as captain of the team and earning MVP honors in 2011. The keeper helped his team to three state championships, including back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011. Shannon also played for the 93 Triangle United Gold club team that won the NC Premier League championship this past fall.
Why Elon: “I chose to attend Elon for the combined strength of the business school and soccer program. Elon has developed a great reputation as a school that focuses on its undergraduate students. Having been on campus many times, I feel it is the right place for me.”
“I am most looking forward to being a part of Elon both as a student and as an athlete. I’m excited to be part of the team and to work with the players and coaching staff.”
According to Powell: “Chris will join our goalkeepers. He has impressed our staff at camp with his attitude and character. He has a safe pair of hands and is able to make big saves. We look for him to develop under goalkeeper coach Taylor Saxe into a strong keeper.”
Jonathan Wenger, 6-0, 165, Defender, PA Classics
Wenger was a 2010 and 2011 first-team All-Star at Warwick High School where he led the team to a league championship as a senior. The defender captained the PA Classics U16 squad that was a 2011 National Finalist at the U.S. Development Academy National Championships. He was also named the Player of the Match at the finals.
Why Elon: “Elon will allow me to play soccer at a very competitive Division I level and give me a good education and the tools I need to succeed in the future.”
“I’m excited to see what the fall will bring. I am looking forward to getting with the guys in August and getting the season started. I think there is a lot of talent in the group and we can achieve a lot.”
According to Powell: “Jonathan is a good solid central defender who helped his PA Classics team to the U16 national final last season. He reads the game well and is able to play from the back. He should come in and compete for time from day one.”
Rheese Wiltshire, 5-10, 145, Midfielder, Clearwater Chargers
Wiltshire was a three-time all-conference selection at Shorecrest Prep and the team MVP in 2010. His club team was a USYS National Finalist in 2010 and the USL North American Super Y National Champions in 2009.
Why Elon: “I decided to attend Elon because I wanted to play for a good Division I soccer team, be in North Carolina and attend a smaller private school.”
“I am most looking forward to playing college soccer for Elon.”
According to Powell: “Rheese has impressed our staff the past two years at camp. He has very good technical ability and is able to take players one-on-one. He also works hard to retrieve the ball for the team. We look forward to seeing Rheese develop within our program over the next few years.”