Feb. 2, 2011
BALTIMORE, Md. - Three outstanding young men and student-athletes, Joey Cahalan (Baltimore, Md./Gilman School), Connor Thompson (Swindon, England/Cirencester Academy), and Joey Wilkins (Oakton, Va./Gonzaga College HS), today each signed to play men's soccer at Loyola University Maryland during the fall of 2011, Head Coach Mark Mettrick announced.
"We are very pleased to sign these three talented players. We feel each brings unique qualities, and we expect them to contribute to our 2011 team immediately," Mettrick said.
Cahalan attends nearby Gilman School, where he captained the Greyhounds to its first unshared Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association "A" Conference Boys Soccer championship in school history in 2010. The incoming freshman also captured Baltimore Sun First Team All-Metro, ESPN RISE All-Star, and Maryland All-State honors for his senior season in which he scored 13 goals and notched nine assists.
A four-year starter at Gilman, Cahalan tallied 13 goals from the back line during his freshman and sophomore years before moving to a more attacking role in his junior year, scoring 11 goals and earning an All-MIAA Team selection.
Cahalan also enjoys success in his club career with the Baltimore Bays Chelsea organization. He helped the Bays win two U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships from his left back position in 2007 and 2008. Then, he started at center back for the Baltimore Bays Chelsea US Soccer Under 18 Academy team that placed fifth in the nation last year at the Academy National Finals.
An excellent leader, Cahalan served as class president for three consecutive years at Gilman, earning the Yale Book Prize and Thomas G. Hardie, III leadership awards.
"Joey is a very competitive and tenacious left sided defender/midfielder," Mettrick said of Cahalan. "He captained Gilman HS to the 2010 MIAA Championship and plays in the nationally competitive Baltimore Bays Chelsea Club program. We feel Joey has great potential as a player and as a future leader at Loyola. He will bring a very positive energy and enthusiasm to our team, and we feel he is an excellent fit for our program."
Loyola looked across the Atlantic Ocean in pursuit of accomplished standout Connor Thompson. Thompson took Player of the Season honors in 2010 for his stellar play with Cirencester Academy en route to taking the team to the first round of the F.A. Youth Cup.
Trained at the Swindon Town Centre of Excellence from ages six through fifteen, Thompson also currently stars for the Under 18 England School Football Association (ESFA) team and the England College Under 19 squad which tours Italy this May. The England Under 18 team will appear on Britain's national Sky Sports network twice this Spring and will face youth national squads from Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Ireland in the Centenary Shield competition as well as play a game against the Under 18 Polish national team.
Thompson helped lead the Chippenham Futsal club to a current first place spot in the National League after a national championships appearance last year. In addition, he serves as captain for the Wiltshire County Under 18 team that reached the F.A. County Cup quarterfinals last year. The incoming freshman also recently captured back-to-back Man of the Match awards for the Cirencester Town first team of the Zamaretto Premier Southern men's.
"Connor is a pacey, tricky attacking player who we think will provide a creative and technical element to our 2011 team," Mettrick said of Thompson. "He comes from a very good Cirencester Academy program and has recently been honored by his selection for both the ESFA Under 18 and the England College Under 19 national teams. We are pleased to continue our trend of signing top players from the ESFA national team. Connor impressed me with his technical ability and his attacking mentality, and I think he has the potential to become a very good player."
Serving as Gonzaga's captain in 2010, Wilkins scored eight goals and notched six assists en route to leading the Eagles to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference finals for the 11th straight year. Wilkins earned First Team All-WCAC and All-Met honors for his play as a senior after receiving a Third Team All-WCAC selection in 2009.
Wilkins also helped the Eagles capture WCAC Championships in 2008 and 2009.
A product of the United States Soccer Federation Academy Market Training Center, Wilkins played for the D.C. United club team that won the Guateng Future Champions tournament in South Africa and the 2009 MLS Soccer United Marketing Cup. In 2010, Wilkins helped the team through the Academy playoffs to the Academy nationals.
"Joey is a combative and hard-working defender who captained his Gonzaga HS team," Mettrick said of Wilkins. "Joey also plays for the DC United Under 18 Academy team, and we feel he will bring an element of steel to our 2011 team. Joey has very good potential and will compete for time immediately."
Loyola graduates eight players from its 2010 roster, including Phil Bannister who was recently drafted by the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer. The trio, along with future anticipated signings, will look to help Loyola return to the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five years.