South Carolina's leading soccer club, Carolina Elite Soccer Academy (CESA) will serve as the primary sponsor for the annual North-South Soccer Classic. The all-star matches will be held June 11 at The College of Charleston's soccer stadium at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant.
The all-star game was almost canceled when longtime sponsor Home Depot withdrew support back in April when the company changed the way it distributes funds for events such as the all-star game. "Instead of (funds) being distributed at the state and local levels, the corporate office at the national level is now in charge of this function,'' South Carolina High School Soccer Coaches Association board member Kyle Heise said at the time.
In a five-year agreement, CESA will serve as the primary sponsor for the event, donating both financial and logistical assistance regarding event management. The all-star games will now be known as the CESA North-South Soccer Classic.
"The North-South Soccer Classic has a long history of honoring the best high school senior soccer players in South Carolina," said Kevin Heise, executive board member of SCHSSCA. "We are pleased that we have reached an agreement to place this event on a solid financial footing. We deeply appreciate CESA stepping up to assist us with this effort and look forward to future collaborations."
CESA was formed in last year with the merger of St. Giles United and Greenville Futbol Club in order to offer more opportunities to youth soccer players than has been available previously in South Carolina and in most regions of the Southeastern United States.
Meanwhile, the rosters have been announced for the North-South Classic and the Lowcountry is well represented with nine players on the boys' South squad and 10 on the girls' team.
Class AA boys' champ Bishop England has two selections in Kyle Smith and Arthur Holtzclaw. Wando also has two picks: David Newton and Joe Semsar. The other local players are Nick Ballard, Academic Magnet; Ray Chappell, James Island; Thomas Horton, West Ashley; Michael McCullion, Hilton Head and Travon Pendarvis, Summerville.
Class AAAA girls' champ West Ashley has two girls on the 18-player South roster: Julie Bolt and Danielle Jordan, while James Island also had two: Lisa Frawley and Chelsea Terry. Class AA-A champ Bishop England is represented by Sara Wilson.
The other local players selected include Aylah Clark, Academic Magnet; Amanda Lear, Fort Dorchester; Hanna Niepp, Wando and Jennifer Rudd, Georgetown.
BIG YEAR FOR KNIGHTS
Stratford's Class of 2005 includes 18 students who received athletic scholarships, with football leading the way with nine scholarships.
"It says a lot about our students' work ethic, not just on the athletic fields," said athletic director Ray Stackley. "I don't know if that's a record for us, but it's a high number. That's a lot of money. If you figure it up, that's about $900,000 in scholarships."
The football players who received scholarships include Jonathan Parsons (Western Carolina), Davon Greene (Coastal Carolina), Haydrian Lewis (Clemson), Isaac Johnson (Newberry), Cedric Simmons (Newberry), P.J. Little (Newberry), Brandon Dobbins (North Greenville), Josh Johnson (North Greenville and Andre Gladness (Benedict).
Gladness used up his athletic eligibility after the 2003-04 academic year, and graduates later this month.
Baseball had four players earn scholarships: Justin Smoak is headed to South Carolina if he doesn't opt for a professional career, while Sonny Meade, Matt Crimm and Brett Bull are headed to The Citadel.
Track and field stars Amber White and Aubrey Lemon will compete for Coastal Carolina, while Stacey Kizer will play softball at USC-Upstate. Golfer Matthew Wilson will attend Winthrop and soccer player Emily Haller will attend The Citadel.