March 14, 2012
HUNTINGTON, W.Va.- The Marshall University men’s soccer team announced its 2012 signees this past week, as seven future members of the Thundering Herd put pen to paper and committed to the Marshall cause.
The class is head coach Bob Gray’s 18th since he became leader of the Thundering Herd prior to the 1995 season, and contains players from the West Virginia, national, and international soccer scenes.
The West Virginian class is headlined by Scott Depot native Tommy Trupo, a two-time West Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year that led the state in scoring this past season. An NSCAA High School All-American and member of the ODP Regional squad, Trupo is described by Gray as a player with “tremendous upside and loads of speed.”
The other two West Virginian recruits are Trevor Starcher of Hurricane and Ian Lovern of Bluefield. Starcher, a strong, physical player who possesses the versatility to play in multiple positions on the field, is a two-time First-Team All-State midfielder and was named 2010 AAA Midfielder of the Year. Lovern never played high school ball, instead opting to play club soccer with the Roanoke Star. Like Starcher, Lovern is a versatile player, and will be vying for time out on the wing. “Trevor is a big, strong, aggressive kid with an edge to his game that I like,” said Gray, “and Ian is a tremendously passionate player with a high level of fitness that will let him move up and down the field without tiring.”
“Overall, we’re thrilled to get three quality players from our own state,” said Gray. “It’s been awhile since we were able to snag West Virginia kids who can play at this level, but I strongly believe all three of these guys are more than capable.”
The other two American signees are Jack Hopkins of Birmingham, Ala., and Bijan Gloston of Clarksville, Tenn. Hopkins, a three-year starter for Vestavia Hills High School, has tallied 59 goals and 31 assists in his tenure there, and was named to the Alabama All-State team in 2011. A natural left footer with good size, Gray believes Hopkins is capable of playing in several spots on the field. “Jack is an extremely competitive player and it was a steal for us to get him out of UAB’s backyard,” said Gray.
Gloston is the Herd’s lone goalkeeper signee for the upcoming year, and hails from Clarksville High School where he was All-District and All-County from 2008-11. A member of FC Alliance – one of the top club teams in Tennessee – Gloston is a three-time state and premier league champion as the team’s starting goalkeeper. Said Gray, “Bijan is a strong kid with great size. After sitting under Daniel Withrow’s tutelage for a year he should be able to maintain a high level of performance in the net following Daniel’s graduation in May. We’re excited about him and what he could mean for our future.”
The final two incoming freshmen are Jesus Mafouta and Brandyn Murray of Beaumont, France, and the Cayman Islands, respectively. Mafouta is a skillful, creative midfielder capable of filling in as the link between the defense and the attack. “I believe Jesus will be able to handle the pressure of playing at this level,” said Gray. “He’s a composed player capable of slowing the game down or picking up the speed of play when we need him to.”
Murray, a native of Grand Cayman, played for the prestigious Darlington Soccer Academy while a boarding student in Rome, Ga., and possesses the necessary size and speed to play at the division I level. “Brandyn is an island boy with great speed who also has the strength and ability to play with his back to goal,” said Gray.
The sevenfold class will arrive at Marshall this August with hopes of improving the team’s 8-8-1 record from a season ago. Until their arrival, the Herd will play in seven spring matches this semester.