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July 19, 2005

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina men’s soccer team’s 2005 recruiting class is among the top 40 in the country, according to College Soccer News. A total of 12 players, nine high school standouts and three Division I transfers, form the class, which is ranked No. 36 by the online publication.

Kyle Franklin (Maryville, Tenn./High School), Mike Gustavson (Aiken, S.C./South Aiken High School), Kevan Hawkins (Denton, Texas/Ryan High School), Ryan Jenkins (Maryville, Tenn./Maryville High School), Spencer Lewis (Irmo, S.C./Irmo High School), Matt Mierley (Weston, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas). Heverton Souza (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil/IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.), David Smith (Arlington, Texas/Summit High School) and Brennan Williams (Columbia, S.C./Cardinal Newman) will join the Gamecocks this fall. South Carolina also welcomed three transfers to the program during the 2005 spring semester: Rob Charest (Moson, Mass./UMass), Ralph Pace (Boston, Va./UMass) and David Ross (Brandon, Miss./Appalachian State).

South Carolina returns 19 letterwinners and nine starters from last season’s team that went 12-7-1 and played in the NCAA Tournament for the 17th time in school history. Head coach Mark Berson’s team will begin play as an affiliate member of Conference USA in 2005. The Carolina men’s soccer program has competed as an independent in all but two years of its 27-year existence (1993, 1994 in the Metro Conference). Not enough Southeastern Conference teams field a men’s soccer team for the League to sponsor a full schedule.

After exhibition matches at Furman (Aug. 20) and at home against Coastal Carolina (Aug. 27), the Gamecocks will kick off the 2005 campaign at Clemson on Sept. 2.