Lees-McRae adds six for 2012 season

Lees-McRae adds six for 2012 season

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The Lees-McRae College men's soccer is pleased to announce the addition of six players to its squad for the 2012 season, announced head coach Lee Squires Tuesday.

Gus Pederson (Sarasota, Fla.), Sebastian Behan (Sarasota, Fla.), Jake Wimberley (Cary, N.C.), Travis Stover (Titusville, Fla.), Kevin Ruppert (Fayetteville, N.C.), and Jacob Copeland (Raleigh, N.C.) will join the Bobcats this fall, headlining Squires' 2012 recruiting class.

Pederson comes to Lees-McRae from Riverview High School in Sarasota, Fla., where he was a three-time scholar athlete and the 2011 IMG Cup MVP. The 6-2 goalkeeper is expected to major in business administration, and is the son of Jon and Janet Pederson.

"Gus is just the kind of student-athlete we look for," said Squires. "He is very strong academically, and is a top goalkeeper with great agility and a commanding presence. It was also a bonus to get two players from the same club team who are good friends and know each other's game well."

"A friend insisted I join him to check out schools in North Carolina," said Pederson. "Not expecting much, we came to tour Lees-McRae College. I fell in love. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity so I knew I had to come here. The mountains, the opportunity to play soccer with a great group of guys, and the community support – I can't wait to get started."

Behan joins the Bobcats from Riverview High School as well, where he was a scholar athlete and team MVP. The 6-2 midfielder is expected to major in business administration, and is the son of Desmond and Caroline Behan.

"Sebastian is a technically gifted player that will add to our midfield," said Squires. "He is calm on the ball and understands and reads the game well. I am delighted to have signed both Sebastian and Gus from a very strong FC Sarasota team, and both will have a big impact on our program on and off the field."

"I wanted to come to LMC because it felt like the right place for me and the guys really wanted me to become part of the team," said Behan. "There is a brotherhood on this team that I wasn't shown with the other schools I visited. Our team looks good enough to win the NCAA title for the school and I want to be a part of it."

Wimberley comes to Lees-McRae from Panther Creek High School in Cary, N.C., where he was a two-time academic all-conference selection and a three-time member of the honor roll. The 5-9 midfielder is expected to major in business administration, and is the son of Sally Bachman.

"Jake is another player from the Raleigh area that we have managed to add," said Squires. "It is an area that has proven fruitful for us in recent years and Jake will be no different. He has good energy and works hard, and will be a valuable addition to the squad."

"I chose LMC because it fit me best academically and soccer wise as a student athlete," said Wimberley. "LMC will allow me to continue playing the sport I love at a high level and will open new doors for me academically and allow me to pursue the career I would like in the future."

Stover joins the Bobcats from Titusville High School in Titusville, Fla., where he was a three-year letterman in soccer while also lettering in football and baseball. The 5-11 defender was a two-time scholar athlete, and member of the National Honor Society, while graduating in the top five percent of his class.

"Travis will add another dimension and option to our backline," said Squires. "He has a tremendous attitude and work ethic, something which lead to a successful college career. He has good character and personality and I am looking forward to seeing him blend with the group."

"I chose Lees-McRae because of the geography that allows me to see a change in seasons throughout the year," said Stover. "Also, I chose it because of the academic and athletic qualities that will allow me to advance myself as a student and athlete. The school to me is the best choice to fit my character and abilities."

Ruppert comes to Lees-McRae from Seventy-First High School in Fayetteville, N.C., where he was a four-year starter and three-time all-conference selection. The 5-10 defender/midfielder was also one of 50 semifinalists in the United States for the Insperium Soccer Award this past season.

"Kevin will provide some much needed depth and versatility to our team as he can play a number of positions," said Squires. "It is great to be able to attract North Carolina talent, especially someone who has had such a standout high school career."

"I chose Lees-McRae College because of the people, especially the members of the soccer team, who were great," said Ruppert. "They are a disciplined team and really enjoyed playing with each other. The school is small and I like the fact that I won't be a number or get lost in the crowd. It has a great atmosphere."

Copeland joins the Bobcats from William G. Enloe High School in Raleigh, N.C., where he was a four-time academic all-conference selection and a member of the 2011 state championship team. The 5-9 forward is the son of Vince and Robin Copeland.

"Jacob will prove to be great addition for us," said Squires. "He has great pace and strength and knows where the back of the net is, so he will definitely add another dimension to our team going forward."

"I chose LMC because of the size of the school," said Copeland. "I also enjoy spending time outside and LMC has the perfect campus for that. My main interest is the men's soccer team and I look forward to adding to the team's success."

Lees-McRae is expected to return 17 letter-winners from last season's Conference Carolinas Western Division Champion squad, including all-conference selections James Smith (Eastbourne, England), James Galvani (High Wycombe, England), and Thomas Rusling (Sheffield, England).

- LMC -