POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Pearl River men's soccer coach Drew Gallant has announced a loaded 2020-21 signing class. The future Wildcats Nov. 3-4 to open the signing period.
Joining the Wildcats will be Oak Grove goalkeeper Zach Metz, St. Stanislaus midfielders Austin Schruff and Jack Bonck, West Harrison winger Bryan Maradiaga, D'Iberville winger Jason Irias and Gulfport standouts Carter Wilson, Ivo Jimenez, Joel Morales and Peyton Ladner; Wilson is a midfielder, Jimenez plays along the back line and both Morales and Ladner are wingers.
"We're extremely excited about this class. It's the most talented group we have had enter our program at one time since I've been here," Gallant said. "There is a lot of creativity from this group as a whole, which will suit our style of play because they'll have the freedom to express that ability on the pitch.
"Each of these signees should be able to step in and compete for playing time right away."
Bonck joins the Wildcats after helping lead the tradition-rich St. Stanislaus Rockachaws to the MHSAA Class 4A State Championship.
"Jack is probably the most technically talented player in this class," Gallant said. "He has great vision on and off the ball and reads the game extremely well. He's a great addition to our midfield."
Bonck plays club for Gulf Coast United.
Irias has been a prolific scorer for the DHS Warriors. After scoring 16 goals in 2019 as a sophomore, Irias netted 11 more as a junior. Irias was named to the Sun Herald All-South Mississippi team as well as selected to the Coast All-Star game.
"Jason brings extreme athleticism with an equal amount of talent to an already talented group of attacking players," Gallant said. "He's always a threat to score or create opportunities for other players. One of his best attributes is his work ethic."
Irias plays club for Gulf Coast United.
Jimenez is an imposing figure on defense who should make an immediate impact for the Wildcats.
"Ivo is a strong defender with a creative flair who likes to get forward and involved in the attack," Gallant said. "He will suit our playing style at Pearl River."
Jimenez helped lead the GHS Admirals to the 2019 MHSAA Class 6A State Championship.
Jimenez was named to the 2021 Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star game.
Jimenez plays club for Gulf Coast United.
Along with three of his Admiral teammates, Ladner helped GHS claim the state championship in 2019.
Following last season, Ladner, who registered three assists as a junior, was a Sun Herald All-South Mississippi selection.
"Peyton is a quick, athletic player who creates goals and is also dangerous in the air." Gallant said. "He can play a variety of positions and will add depth to almost every spot on the field."
Ladner was named to the 2021 Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star game.
Ladner plays club for Gulf Coast United.
Maradiaga has had a nose for the goal in his prep career at WHHS. After scoring four goals as a freshman in 2018, Maradiaga netted 14 with five assists in 2019. He added eight goals and five assists last season.
"Bryan is a very skillful winger," Gallant said. "He does a great job of beating defenders in one-v-one situations to create goal scoring opportunities."
Maradiaga plays club for South Mississippi Soccer Club.
Metz has been a strong backstop for the Warriors over his prep career.
"Zack is an extremely talented goalkeeper who will allow us to continue to play our possession style of soccer," Gallant said. "He's a good shot stopper with good hands."
Metz plays club for Hattiesburg Futbol Club.
Morales will bring a different ability to the Wildcats, Gallant said.
"Joel is the hidden gem of the class," he said. "He's one of the most talented players on the Coast who brings a lot of creativity and vision to the attacking third of the field."
Gallant is excited to bring in a player like Schruff, who's a proven winner and versatile athlete on the pitch.
"Austin is an athletic midfielder who is more of a box-to-box midfielder who covers a lot of ground," Gallant said. "He can also create goal scoring opportunities from deeper in the field and as the leg strength to score from distance."
Schruff was named to the Sun Herald All-South Mississippi team and Coast All-Star game as a junior.
Schruff plays club for Gulf Coast United.
Like his three Admiral teammates, Wilson knows what it takes to win.
"Carter is a very talented player who comes from a soccer-rich family," Gallant said. "He can play a variety of positions on the field and is threatening in any of those positions while also being positionally sound."
Last season, Wilson netted two goals with two assists.
Wilson plays club for Gulf Coast United.
Pearl River will open the rescheduled 2020 season at home against Hinds on March 29. The entire schedule will be announced at a later date.
2020-21 MSOC Signing Class