By Datti Jinkiri
After a one-year hiatus, semipro soccer is back in action this summer in Clinton! 26 men have traveled from across the country to play for Clinton’s Mississippi Brilla FC this summer. The team is getting geared up for its 15th season as a member of USL League Two. The league is a developmental league which is renowned for giving many future professional players their start and there will be some local soccer players hoping to be among that group.
Miles Sims, a forward, is a 2020 graduate of Clinton High School. Sims scored 40 goals in his Arrow career and was named team MVP as a junior. He is currently a student at Howard University and will be playing his first collegiate season this fall.
Luke Bryant is a defender for the team. Bryant, the son of Brilla general manager Rusty Bryant, is also a 2020 graduate of Clinton High School. He completed his freshman season at Davidson College in North Carolina, where he made two starts this spring.
Grant Hudson graduated from Clinton High School in 2017 and currently plays for Mississippi College. The defender made six starts for the Choctaws this this spring and helped the team’s defense accumulate four shutouts.
Connor Johnson of Madison, Peyton Ratcliff of Brandon, and Santi Diosa of Brandon are metro area residents who also play for Mississippi College. Johnson, who plays as a defender, has played 51 games for the Choctaws in his career. Ratcliff was a junior college All-South Region defender at Jones College, and he made five starts in his first Choctaws’ season. Diosa, a forward, scored a clutch goal for the Choctaws in the GSC Spring Championship Series Semifinals against Christian Brothers.
Aurele Chemin is another Mississippi College standout who will feature for Brilla. The Paris, France native has made 44 career starts as a part of the Choctaws’ defensive unit.
Duncan Storey, a Ridgeland native, was an integral part of the University of Wisconsin’s midfield in his college career. The midfielder played in 13 games for Brilla in 2019, scoring a goal in the process
To round out the metro area players, Cole Turner of Brandon and Michael Bell of Jackson are also suiting up for Brilla. Turner, a Mississippi College signee, plays goalkeeper and will be a 2021 graduate of Brandon High School. Bell, a Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College signee, plays in the midfield and will be a 2021 graduate of Murrah High School.
Mississippi Brilla FC will open the season against Round Rock SC on Saturday. Clinton High School will be the venue, and kickoff will be at 7:00 p.m. Admission to all home games this season are free. Saturday’s game will be the first of three consecutive home games for the team, as they will also be in action on Tuesday night and next Saturday afternoon.