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Nov. 12, 2013

IRVING, Texas – Four South Carolina men’s soccer players garnered All-Conference USA honors, the conference office announced today.

Junior defender Mahamoudou Kaba was selected to the All-Conference USA First Team and his fellow center back junior Braeden Troyer earned a second-team slot. Midfielder Kurtis Turner and goalkeeper Marco Velez earned spots on the league’s all-freshman team. The conference’s coaches vote on the honors.

As a dominant force on set pieces, Kaba has scored a team-leading five goals this season. The defender posted his first career goal against rival Clemson in the second game of the season. In a three game stretch that featured Charlotte, Presbyterian and Tulsa, Kaba netted a goal in each match. Against Charlotte, Kaba scored the equalizer to help the Gamecocks come from behind for a 2-1 victory on the road. Just four days later, he recorded the first multi-goal game of his career and scored his first game-winning tally at South Carolina against Presbyterian. An imposing central defender, Kaba has played a crucial role in the Gamecocks’ six shutouts, including three in league play. This is the first C-USA honor for the Yipsilanti, Mich., native.

Troyer made the switch from midfielder to defender this season and has played an integral part of the team’s six shutouts alongside Kaba. Troyer has scored two goals in 2013, both coming in league play. The first was an unassisted game winner against Charlotte. He added another tally on a penalty kick in the first half of a 2-1 win over FAU. Earlier this month, the Gamecock was named to his second-consecutive Capital One Academic All-District 4 Team. Troyer has now been recognized by C-USA all three years of his career in the Garnet and Black. In 2011, the Columbia, S.C., native was named to the third team and the all-freshman team. Last year, the Gamecock earned second-team honors.

Turner has played and started all 18 matches of his career in the midfield at South Carolina, recording one goal and four assists. In a 5-2 non-conference win over High Point, Turner assisted on three goals, the second most by an individual in a game in C-USA this season. The performance was the first three-assist match by a Gamecock since 2008. In a 2-1 win over FAU, Turner netted the game-winner for his first career goal with just three minutes on the clock. Later in the week in a 1-1 tie on the road at Marshall, Turner earned his fourth assist of the season on senior J.P. Rafferty’s equalizer in the second half.

Velez was thrust into action the fourth game of the season and has started every match since. The freshman has notched four shutouts, including three in league play. In a 2-1 win over Charlotte, the netminder posted a career-high seven saves in his first C-USA match. For his clean sheet against then-No. 25 New Mexico, Velez was named C-USA Defensive Player of the Week. Velez hauled in three saves as the Gamecocks limited the eventual regular season champions to just three shots on goal. It was the only conference loss of the season for the Lobos.

South Carolina travels to the 2013 Conference USA Tournament in Charlotte, N.C. this week. The fourth-seeded Gamecocks play the five seed Tulsa in the event’s first match on Wednesday at 3 p.m. The winner of the quarterfinal takes on regular season champion New Mexico on Friday at 5 p.m.

Conference USA Awards
Most Valuable Player: Kyle Venter, New Mexico

Defensive Player of the Year: Kyle Venter, New Mexico

Offensive Player of the Year: Tim Hopkinson, Old Dominion

Golden Boot Award: Alex Clay, UAB; Kyle Parker, Charlotte

Freshman of the Year: Christopher Wehan, New Mexico

Coach of the Year: Jeremy Fishbein, New Mexico

All-Conference USA First Team
F: Guiseppe Gentile, Charlotte
F: Tim Hokinson, Old Dominion
F: Cristian Mata, Tulsa
F: Freddy Ruiz, UAB
MF: Aidan Kirkbride, Charlotte
MF: Ben McKendry, New Mexico
MF: Michael Calderon, New Mexico
MF: Omar Mata, Tulsa
D: Kyle Venter, New Mexico
D: Jason Gaylord, Old Dominion
D: Mahamoudou Kaba, South Carolina
GK: Callum Irving, Kentucky

All-Conference USA Second Team
F: Quentin Albrecht, FIU
F: Diego Navarette, UAB
MF: Gonzalo Frechilla, FIU
MF: Brad Doliner, Kentucky
MF: Akiel Barrett, Tulsa
MF: Alex Clay, UAB
D: Thomas Allen, Charlotte
D: Steven Perinovic, Kentucky
D: Mathew Gibbons, New Mexico
D: Braeden Troyer, South Carolina
GK: Sean Stowe, Old Dominion

All-Conference USA Third Team
F: Kyle Parker, Charlotte
F: Ryan Price, Florida Atlantic
F: James Rogers, New Mexico
MF: Zach Hunter, Marshall
MF: Michael Kafari, New Mexico
MF: Tony Rocha, Tulsa
D: Travis Brent, Marshall
D: Bradley Bourgeois, Tulsa
D: Darion Copeland, UAB
GK: Michael Lisch, New Mexico
GK: Rafael Ville, UAB

Conference USA All-Freshman Team
Brandt Bronico, MF, Charlotte
Luke Waechter, D, Charlotte
Marvin Hezel, MF, FIU
Napo Matsoso, MF, Kentucky
Christopher Wehan, MF, New Mexico
Niko Hansen, F, New Mexico
Jesse Miralrio, F, Old Dominion
Cole Stringer, MF, Old Dominion
Kurtis Turner, MF, South Carolina
Marco Velez, GK, South Carolina
Quinton Duncan, D, Tulsa
Jake McGuire, GK, Tulsa
Rami Dajani, F, UAB