Palm Beach Atlantic Men's Soccer Earns Four Early Commitments for 2011
March 1, 2011
Written By: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Athletic Communications
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- Coming off a special season in 2011 that saw the Palm Beach Atlantic University men’s soccer team claim the program’s first-ever NCCAA National Championship and a team-best 15 win season, veteran head coach Jose Gomez continues to seek out elite talent to replenish his roster. Four new high school students have committed to play for the Sailfish beginning in the fall. Three Florida players in AJ Black, Kendall Crouse, and Michael Emert are joined by Ohio native Justin Furey as this year’s early commitments to the PBA men’s soccer team.
With large senior classes the past two seasons it has been important to Coach Gomez and his staff to not only rebuild the Sailfish men’s soccer program but in a sense reload with talented student-athletes.
“Overall the coaching staff is very pleased with our 2011 signings,” said Gomez. “Following up a National Championship season can be difficult but I believe these young men will allow us to move forward in attaining even greater goals for PBA Soccer. Each of the players bring different attributes to our team and we look forward to watching them grow on the field and mature in their Christian faith,”.
A four-year letter-winner at Plant City High School, AJ Black has put together a prep playing career that has seen him tally over 50 goals (53 goals) and 50 assists (57 assists) in an offensive role for PCHS. During his time at Plant City, Black was named to both the All-Conference and All-County teams for his explosive offensive play.
Playing nearly every position in the midfield, Black was counted on by his team to not only score but also distribute and should provide the Fish with a similar type of player at the collegiate level.
A team captain as a senior, Black is currently undecided on his major but looks forward to contributing to the winning tradition at PBA.
“AJ brings versatility to our team,” continued Gomez. “AJ’s left foot along with his ability to play multiple positions in the attack allows our team to pose different looks against our opponents,”.
Crouse becomes not only the most recent player from his family to join the ranks of the Palm Beach Atlantic men’s soccer team but also continues a solid tradition of Lakeland, Florida natives making the commitment to play for the Sailfish.
The younger brother of recent senior Kyle Crouse, Kendall will be graduating this spring from George Jenkins High School while splitting his high school career between GJHS and Lakeland Christian School.
Primarily a striker at the high school level, Crouse has experience playing multiple positions for both his high school and club team, the Clearwater Chargers Academy. As a senior, Crouse has tallied 26 goals after being named to the All-County 1st-Team following his junior campaign.
Not only a dedicated soccer player, Crouse has found his niche off the field as well by being involved with the Medical Academy, Health Science and First Responder program at his school.
“While his brother Kyle will be graduating this year from PBA, we are thrilled add his brother Kendall to our team,” said Gomez. “Along with his size, Kendall will bolster our back line with his speed, playing background and his ability to read the game well,”
Another talented prospect from the west coast of Florida to sign with PBA, Michael Emert hails from Lakeland, Florida as well after competing for Lakeland Christian School.
Having led Polk County in goals as a senior, Emert is a three-time All-County 1st-Team selection while tallying 105 goals and 48 assists to date for LCS.
An active club player for the likes of Lakeland FC, RSL Florida Kickers, and Fusion Futbol Club, Tampa, Emert has been a varsity starter at LCS since the eighth grade.
“We are excited to add Michael to the PBA program. His personality will be a welcomed addition to our young team and his pace will keep opponents on their heels,” said Gomez.
Justin Furey has committed to play for Palm Beach Atlantic in the fall of 2011 after a stellar career at Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, Ohio.
The son of Mount Vernon Nazarene University men’s soccer head coach Paul Furey, Justin Furey is coming off a solid playing career at MVHS where he helped lead his team to a 36-10-6 record over his high school career while being named to the All-Ohio Capital Conference 1st-Team as a senior.
A midfield captain, Furey contributed 17 goals and nine assists as a senior while competing as a member of the Mount Vernon Sting on the club circuit.
A member of his school’s FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), Furey is also a member of the National Honor Society as well as his high school yearbook staff.
“Soccer runs through the family with Justin,” concluded Gomez. “He has been around a high level of collegiate soccer in Ohio and knows the commitment it takes to compete at the next level,”
The four early signees will join their new teammates in August when the team reports for preseason training as they look to move the PBA men’s soccer program to the next level.