Men's Soccer Welcomes 18 Newcomers for Upcoming Season
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina men’s soccer team is ramping up its roster heading into the year two under head coach Tony Annan. Not only will the Gamecocks be joining a new conference, the Sun Belt, coach Annan and his staff have added 18 new players to the roster. The newcomers are a mix of transfers and true freshman, with multiple players at every position. Carolina returns 10 players from last year’s squad, including all three Conference USA All-League selections in Peter Clement, Logan Frost, and Harrison Myring.
“I am very excited to get going with not only the great returning players we have on the squad, but also the new players the staff and myself worked very hard to bring here. We are looking forward to playing in a new conference which promises to be a tough challenge and provide great competition.”
#1 Ben Alexander, freshman, Chilliwack, British Columbia
Ben Alexander most recently played for the Vancouver Whitecaps’ MLS NextPRO squad. He was named to the Canadian U-20 team, where he started three matches during the 2022 Concacaf Men’s Under-20 Championship.
#24 Matthew Bender, freshman, Richmond, Virginia
Bender is a true freshman and played for Richmond United and Deep Run High School.
The largest group of newcomers for the Gamecocks is on the backline. Six defenders join the squad, three of which are transfers.
#2 Jaiden Ramsay-Kelly, junior, Toronto, Ontario
Ramsay-Kelly is a transfer from Oakland University, where he was named to the Horizon League All-Freshman team in the spring of 2021. Last season, he started twice for the Golden Grizzlies, while appearing in five matches.
#3 Will Crain, redshirt-senior, Athens, Georgia
Crain joins the Gamecocks from Brown, where he was a team captain. He started all 17 matches last season, recording a goal and four assists. He also served as captain for three seasons for the Atlanta United FC youth team.
#4 Junior Saint Juste, freshman, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Saint Juste is a native of Haiti, but the true freshman has spent the last several years in Atlanta, training with the Atlanta United 2 squad in the USL.
#5 William Nilsson, freshman, Helsingborg, Sweden
Nilsson is a true freshman that has spent the last several years playing in the Swedish semi-pro league for Eskilsminne IF.
#15 Henry Weigand, senior, Hamburg, Germany
Weigand is a transfer from Quinnipiac, where he started 39 matches the last three seasons. He was named to the All-MAAC Team in the spring of 2021, and the All-Rookie Team in 2019.
#21 Joey Belenardo, freshman, Sarasota, Florida
Belenardo rounds out the defensive newcomers as a true freshman and played for Berkshire School in Massachusetts.
#6 Laurits Lillemose, senior, Bogense, Denmark
Lillemose comes to Carolina after spending the last three seasons at Gardner-Webb, where he started in 42 matches. A defensive midfielder, he was a 2021 Big South All-Conference Honorable Mention, after starting and playing in all 16 matches for the Bulldogs.
#8 Ethan Dekel Daks, freshman, Manchester, England
Dekel Daks is an attacking midfielder and has been playing for the Nottingham Forest Academy.
#11 Rocky Perez, freshman, San Antonio, Texas
A highly recruited player, Perez is a box-to-box midfielder. He has been a member the San Antonio FC of the USL and was selected to the US Youth National Team player pool.
#16 Cristiano Bruletti, freshman, Commerce, Michigan
Bruletti comes from the Atlanta United academy, where he spent time training and playing with Atlanta United 2 of the USL.
#29 Micah Colodny, freshman, Denver, Colorado
A true utility player that can be lineup at several positions, Colodny played for Real Colorado’s academy team in MLS Next.
#7 Bryce Griffith, freshman, Atlanta, Georgia
Griffith is a product of Atlanta United’s academy, where he trained with its USL club, Atlanta United 2.
#9 Damola Salami, freshman, Atlanta, Georgia
Salami was one of the top goal scorers in the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) while playing for NTH-NASA. In December, he was selected to play in the ECNL National Selection Games.
#18 Ethan Henderson, freshman, Hartlepool, England
Back home in England, Henderson has previously spent time playing for York City F.C.’s Academy and first team.
#19 Kosi Udeh, freshman, Birmingham, Alabama
Udeh mostly recently played in the MLS Next League for Hoover-Vestavia. He also played for his high school team, Hoover, where he was named to the Alabama High School All-Star Team and was named MVP of North team.
#20 John Eskay, redshirt-senior, Urbana, Maryland
Eskay is an explosive attacking player who is a transfer from William & Mary. He played in nine matches last season for the Tribe, and appeared in 29 matches for his career.
The Gamecocks open the season August 13 when they host an exhibition against Duke at 6 p.m. The best season ticket deal in town is back for the 2022 men’s and women’s soccer season. For only $25 for adults and $10 for youth (17 and under), season ticket holders will receive admission to all men’s and women’s regular-season home games at Stone Stadium. Fans can also upgrade their season tickets to include this year’s limited-edition Gamecock Soccer Scarf for an additional $10. To purchase season tickets, visit: https://fevo.me/soccer22.
For the latest on men’s soccer, visit GamecocksOnline.com or follow the team’s social media accounts on Twitter @GamecockMSoccer, Facebook /GamecockMSoccer, and Instagram @GamecockMSoccer.