Barons bring faith, new attitude to soccer field

By Terry Gaston
BPC Public Relations

MOUNT VERNON -- Brewton-Parker College men's soccer coach Ben Moore and his Barons began the 2002 season with high expectations after finishing second in the conference and NAIA regional tournaments in 2001.

What resulted during the 2002 campaign was a 3-13-1 record with just one win in Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference play.

Moore begins his third year at the Brewton-Parker helm with seven returnees and thirteen newcomers, including 12 freshmen, but even during preseason workouts he said he sees a desire to succeed as a team not experienced in his two previous seasons.

"I have been teaching them that first they need to have faith in God and then to have faith and believe in each other, then we will let everything else fall into place," Moore said. "If we put out the effort, we will win games. We have a lot of guys who can score goals."

The Barons kick off their regular-season schedule Saturday, Aug. 23, with a non-conference match against North Greenville College (S.C.) at the BPC field beginning at 4 p.m. The season opener follows Brewton-Parker's second and final preseason match on Thursday at home against Savannah College of Art and Design at 5 p.m.

The Barons' conference opener is Tuesday, Aug. 26, at home against Reinhardt College at 4 p.m.

"This year we have a much better feel and a much better attitude," Moore said. "This bunch has a strong will and desire to win. The guys who return showed us last year whose character was strongest, so we brought them back. The guys we have brought in are complementing the returning players very well. Our uniformity is very good, but we still have a way to go."

Moore has two returning seniors in Juan Castellanos, a defenseman from Bogota, Colombia, and Jason Ford, a midfielder from Trincity, Trinidad and Tobago.

The other five returnees are all juniors, including midfielder Juan Pablo Gomez of Periera, Colombia; defenseman Juan Pablo Henao of Medellin, Colombia; midfielder Jeremy Moore of Vidalia; and midfielder Lee Powell of Rhondda, Wales.

Oscar Rodriguez, a junior from Santa Rosa, Colombia, moves into the No. 1 goalkeeping position.

"I undoubtedly waited too long to get him playing time," Moore said of Rodriguez. "He has a strong will and a strong desire, and his character and attitude are just phenomenal."

Ruben Virlan, a defenseman from Sibiu, Romania, is a transfer from Georgia Perimeter College whose father was a professional in his homeland.

"He is an exciting defender talent-wise and is going to solidify our defense," Moore said of Virlan, who did not play soccer at Georgia Perimeter.

Among the freshmen are six southeast Georgians, including three from Richmond Hill: goalkeeper C.J. Davis, forward Nick Reynolds and defenseman Clayton Smith. Aaron Conner of Statesboro and Jarrett McCall of Vidalia are defensemen and Early Jackson of St. Marys is a forward. Another in-state addition is defenseman Chris Chiappetto of Augusta.

"Richmond Hill made a good run last year," Moore said. "There are good players coming out of there, and the Savannah area is getting bigger and better for soccer. It could be a hot spot for us."

After Canadian brothers Graham and Stuart Fletcher made all-conference contributions to the Barons program the past six seasons, Moore looks to a trio from London, Ontario, to find similar or even greater success. Brian Yanful is a forward, Iain Thomson is a midfielder and Brian Travers-Gillespie is a defenseman.

"These kids are excellent players with good backgrounds who are going to be solid for us," Moore said. "There are good players coming out of Ontario."

Other freshman additions are Denis Warnier, a midfielder from Brussels, Belgium; and Jachin Whittington, a forward from Ruston, La.

"The freshmen are all capable of making an impact," Moore said. "It will just take time for them to get settled, but even the older guys have work to do. Our starting positions will change quite a bit because they are all going to battle for playing time."

Moore sees the Barons' inexperience as a positive as Brewton-Parker seeks to improve its ranks in the tough GACC. He sees Auburn University of Montgomery (Ala.) as the prohibitive favorite after finishing last season in the NAIA Final Four and in the championship round in 2001, while Reinhardt could prove tough as well.

"This is not an easy conference," Moore said. "However, over half of the team have not seen these teams, so that will push us even harder."