POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Pearl River's men's soccer program has added some more international flair to its roster.
Coach Drew Gallant announced Wednesday the Wildcats have signed two Jamaicans, midfielder Shande James and defender Taja Brown. Both Jamaicans play for Clarendon College High School.
"I think we're lucky to get two players like Shande and Taja from the top high school team in Jamaica," Gallant said. "One has already represented his country at the youth international level and the other was in the international pool as well.
"We think they bring a savviness that's uncommon for players their age and we can't wait for them to arrive."
The signings continue a recent pipeline from PRCC's soccer programs to Jamaica. Jevaun Ennis (Maypen, Jamaica) netted 18 goals over the last two season and was both an All-South Region and All-Region XXIII selection as a sophomore. His 6-foot-3, 208-pound teammate Daminik White (Kingston, Jamaica) also collected 18 points this year for the Wildcats. The Lady Wildcats' roster also featured three Jamaicans, including leading goal scorer Rena Gordon (Clarendon, Jamaica) and defenders Brittney Thompson (Clarendon, Jamaica) and Sashine Smith (Kingston, Jamaica).
Gordon was among the nation's leaderas with 17 goals en route to being named to the All-Region XXIII team, while Smith was named to the All-MACJC team.
ABOUT SHANDE JAMES
James has already received one CAP with Jamaica's Under-20 squad, playing a full 90 for Jamaica on Sept. 7 in an international friendly against the United States.
James won the DaCosta Cup in 2014 and was a driver behind his team's Ben Francis Knockout Title in 2017. As a senior, James started every game for a Clarendon team and "was part of what was labelled the most attractive midfield in Jamaica," Gallant said.
James has a goal scoring touch, but also excelled at setting up his teammates.
"Shande is blessed with good close skills and has an eye for a pass," Gallant said. "He is also tenacious in the tackle and does not lose the ball easily."
ABOUT TAJA BROWN
Brown is the captain for Clarendon College and has a knack for keeping defenders at bay.
"Taja is a versatile and cerebral player defensively," Gallant said. "He has very good close skills, deceptive pace and a never-die attitude."
Like James, Brown was on DaCosta Cup and Ben Francis Knockout title teams.
2019 SIGNING CLASS
Brown and James join a PRCC signing classthat already includes goalkeeper John Bowman (Bay St. Louis; Bay), midfielder Max Matsenbaugh (Bay St. Louis; St. Stanislaus), defender Carson Favre (Long Beach) and hometown striker Tres Ray (Poplarville).
Gallant previously announced the addition of transfer Caleb Burke from William Carey.