Atkinson unveils 16 newcomers for upcoming season
Longwood University’s men’s soccer (LUMS) team will not play its 2020 season until spring 2021, but when the Lancers do take the field, they will have new contributors. Longwood Head Coach Jon Atkinson unveiled a group of 16 newcomers set to join the Lancer roster.
The group bolsters Longwood’s lineup at every level with a versatile group that includes eight forwards, five midfielders, three defenders and a goalkeeper.
The 16-player cohort is also in-state heavy with 11 Virginians but also includes student-athletes from California, Delaware and New York, and two international students from England and Scotland. Two of those Virginians are brothers Kendall and Miles Cooper from Virginia Beach, who will be the second pair of brothers on Longwood’s roster alongside senior Justin Gates and sophomore Jeff Gates.
Making up the incoming class are midfielder Phillip Beck, forward Carter Burris, defender Mason Butcher, forward Kendall Cooper, forward Miles Cooper, defender Luke Farber, defender Wes Forst, midfielder Owen Ludlow, forward James Manns, midfielder Dylan Matheny, forward Kedus Michael, forward Trevor Mueller, goalkeeper Lucas Muller, midfielder David Rodriguez, forward Liam Thompson and forward Ben Wilkinson.
“I believe the class of 2024 has a great deal of potential,” Atkinson, who is entering his 16th year leading the Longwood program, said. “Not only is it a sizable class, but it has diversity built within, covering many positions on the field. While it’s important to recruit talent, it’s essential to bring in character, which these young men value.”
Of the 16 players, 13 are freshmen to go with a trio of veteran transfers, as Atkinson looks to replace five players that started five or more games a season ago. Burris, Michael and Ludlow come to Longwood with collegiate experience, with Burris transferring to Longwood after a four-year career at Liberty and Michael coming from back-to-back Mid-American Conference champion West Virginia. Ludlow transfers to Longwood after a stint overseas.
“We have a blend of true freshmen, some of whom can challenge right out the gates, as well as a few transfers who will add experience to the pack,” Atkinson said.
Beck, a midfielder, was named to the first team All-Commonwealth District as both a sophomore and junior. He was also tabbed an honorable mention FLS All-Area pick as a junior after being named to the all-area second team as a sophomore. Despite his senior season being canceled due to COVID-19, he amassed 27 goals and 16 assists through his first three seasons in high school. He also served as a team captain in both his junior and seniors seasons.
Beck earned the DECA Merit Award and was on the honor roll for all four years of high school. At Longwood, he plans to major in kinesiology.
Burris comes to Longwood after a four-year career at Liberty that saw him emerge as a piece of the midfield rotation in 2019, playing in 15 of the team’s 18 games and amassing 520 minutes. He scored his first career goal that year, doing so in a 3-1 win over commonwealth rival George Mason.
Prior to his time at Liberty, Burris was a four-year letter winner at Sussex Technical while serving as the team captain in 2016. In his senior season, he was named the team’s offensive MVP after notching eight goals and 11 assists. In club soccer, he helped lead the River Express to the Delaware State Cup Championship in 2016.
While at Longwood, Burris will major in modern languages with a concentration in Spanish.
Butcher will be one of seven European players on the Longwood roster in 2020 and the program’s first Englishman since All-Big South midfielder Josh Hanratty in 2017-18. While at Reds in the Community, Butcher was named his team’s player of the year and the organization’s U23 player of the year in addition to serving as a team captain. Over the past two seasons, Butcher made 38 appearances while tabulating nine goals and six assists as a center back.
At Longwood, he plans to major in business administration/finance.
Cooper was a two-time all-region selection in high school in his three seasons (with his senior season canceled due to COVID-19). As a sophomore and junior, he racked up a combined 18 goals and 14 assists. In his junior season, he and his brother, Miles (also coming to Longwood), helped lead First Colonial to a 17-3-1 record and the state semifinals.
Cooper was a member of the National Honor Society in high school and will major in business administration at Longwood.
As a junior, Cooper put together a monster season that culminated with a spot on the Virginia All-State second team. He racked up 15 goals and 11 assists while helping take First Colonial to the state semifinals with his brother, Kendall, as the team finished the season ranked sixth in the commonwealth. In his first two high school seasons, he notched 21 goals and six assists. His senior season was erased due to COVID-19.
Off the field, he graduated with honors and aspires to be a marketing analyst someday. He plans to major in business administration at Longwood.
Farber comes to Longwood with two Virginia State Cup Championships under his belt as the center back for Prince William Soccer, Inc. A three-time Academic Honors Society selection in high school, he plans to major in business administration with a focus in accounting at Longwood.
Forst was a two-year captain at Riverside during an impressive high school career that saw him named to the all-state and all-region first teams, as well as the All-Loudon County first team and All-Met honorable mention. As a freshman, he started at center back while helping lead the team to the state championship, and he added 10 goals and six assists as a sophomore. In his junior season, he transitioned to a box-to-box midfielder role and racked up 14 goals and 12 assists.
In addition to his on-field exploits, he was on the A/B honor roll for three years and plans on majoring in economics at Longwood.
Ludlow played his high school freshman season in the United States before moving to England, where he finished his high school career. He was awarded a Certificate of Higher Education in Business Studies from York St. John University, and a BTEC Level 3 90-credit diploma with a double grade distinction in sports and exercise science from North Notts College.
At Longwood he will major in business administration with the career goal of relating his interest in global business management to sports.
The lone Californian on this year’s Longwood team, Manns named Consumnes Oaks’ MVP three straight years as a sophomore, junior and senior, scoring at least 10 goals each year. He was named All-Delta League and all-city in both his junior and senior seasons as well and combined to score 33 goals while adding 16 assists. As a senior, he served as a team captain.
On top of earning four varsity letters, Manns was named to the honor roll all four years in high school, and he plans on majoring in kinesiology at Longwood.
Matheny comes to Longwood after putting together a six-goal, seven-assist junior season at Clover Hill and was appointed team captain as a senior before the season was wiped away by COVID-19. On the club side, he was a prolific goal scorer for FC Richmond Elite/Magic over the past two years while racking up 29 goals, including 20 this past year. As a sophomore, he added 15 goals for the Richmond Strikers Elite, and he finished his club career with 53 goals in four club seasons.
Matheny plans to major in engineering at Longwood and was an honor roll selection all four years in high school.
Michael transfers to Longwood from West Virginia after two years in Morgantown. During that time, he was part of a Mountaineer squad that won the Mid-American Conference regular-season championship in 2018 and followed with the MAC Tournament title in 2019.
In high school, Michael was a force on offense at Saint John Paul the Great Catholic. He holds his high school record for most goals in a single season and game after piling up 21 with eight assists as a senior to earn All-State and All-Tournament Team honors. In his four years in high school, he totaled 41 goals and was the team’s scoring leader three times.
At Longwood, Michael plans to major in psychology after appearing on the West Virginia Student Honor Roll both years.
East Northport, New York
Mueller notched six goals and five assists for Commack as a senior, and he added 10 goals in 12 games for his club team while also serving as the team captain. In club ball, he helped FC Westchester win the championship at the New York Cup in the Gold Division. His high school team also won a pair of Long Island League championships.
Mueller plans to major in business administration at Longwood.
One of two Europeans in this year’s men’s soccer class, Muller made it to the final 16 in the Scottish Cup three straight times. As a senior, he paced his team with 11 shutouts in 26 games at Banks O’Dee Albion U19s before the league was abandoned due to COVID-19. He also helped lead the way to the last 16 of the Scottish Cup and reached a cup final before its cancellation due to COVID-19.
In his junior season, he notched 23 shutouts in 44 games while only conceding 27 goals. He won the Mark McEwan Trophy, the Raymond Kelly Association Cup, the A.D.J.F.A. League and Highland League Development throughout the course of that season. As a sophomore, his team won the league and local cup double.
He was selected for the Outward Bound Leadership Course while also completing the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. At Longwood, Muller aims to major in physics.
Rodriguez was a three-time all-conference selection at South County while earning the “All-Stallion” award, given to the most inspirational and hardworking player on the team, as a junior. That season, he scored nine goals and added five assists while also adding all-conference first team honors for a second straight season to go with an all-region second team selection.
While his senior season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he notched 19 goals and 13 assists through his first three years of high school. In his sophomore season, he helped lead the team to a conference championship.
Thompson comes to Longwood as a three-year varsity letterwinner at Hayfield as a sophomore and junior before his senior season was canceled due to COVID-19. As a junior, he racked up three goals and three assists in only six games following a breakout sophomore campaign that saw him score eight goals to go with five assists in his first season at the varsity level.
Off the field, he graduated with an advanced diploma, was a member of the honor society and was on the honor roll. At Longwood, he plans to major in business administration.
Wilkinson comes to Longwood following an all-region second team selection as a junior at Kellam prior to his senior season being canceled due to COVID-19. He was an offensive force on the way to piling up 18 goals and 11 assists as a junior, his third straight season as a varsity player.
Off the field, he posted a 4.0 GPA to earn a spot on the High Honor Roll, and he was named the student of the year for both Algebra 2 and AP Chemistry. At Longwood, Wilkinson plans to major in kinesiology.