Bobcats sign four for 2012 season

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Four student-athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to attend Lees-McRae College and play men's soccer in the fall of 2012, announced Bobcat head coach Lee Squires Thursday.

James Abraham (London, England), Brandon Starling (Fuquay-Varina, N.C.), Matthew Cureton (Waxhaw, N.C.), and Nolan Hendrix (Danville, Va.) join an already deep and talented recruiting class for the Bobcats, swelling Coach Squires' group of incoming players to 10.

Abraham joins the Bobcats from Maidstone Grammar School in Maidstone, Kent, England, where he was named the school's player of the year in consecutive seasons. The 6-4, 205-pound defender was also a member of Maidstone United's reserve team. Abraham is expected to major in Business Administration, and is the son of Ian and Diane Abraham.

"We needed to add quality to our backline after graduating two players," said Squires. "I feel we have made a great signing with James [Abraham] who will add quality, size, and leadership to our defense. I expect him to make a big impact right away."

"I chose Lees McRae because of the staff and the area in which it is situated is impeccable," said Abraham. "Lees-McRae offers a fantastic, all-round College experience."

Starling comes to Lees-McRae from Fuquay-Varina High School, where he was a three-year scholar athlete and the MVP of the 2011 IMG Cup. The 6-0, 160-pound midfielder/forward is expected to major in athletic training, and is the son of Joe and Beverley Starling.

"Brandon [Starling] will add much needed speed to our team, along with excellent technical ability," stated Squires. "He can play a number of positions and that will be crucial for us.  He has the potential to make a huge impact as a freshman coming in."

"I chose LMC because of its soccer team and its academics," explained Starling. "The campus is also in a beautiful spot."

Cureton joins the Bobcats from Cuthbertson High School, where he garnered all-conference and all-region recognition twice. The 5-10, 155-pound midfielder was named the conference player of the year as a senior, while playing a role on three conference championship teams at Cuthbertson. Cureton is expected to major in physical education, and is the son of Robert and Sheri Cureton. 

"Matt [Cureton] is a player we have been following for a long time, and came to our Talent ID camp last summer," said Squires. "He is very comfortable on the ball, understands the game, and has a very likable personality.  I cannot wait to see him as he makes the step up to college soccer."

"I chose Lees-McRae because of their outstanding soccer program," stated Cureton. "I particularly liked how close the team was, like a family, and I felt that I would fit in well here."

Hendrix comes to Lees-McRae from Tunstall High School in Tunstall, Va., where he was a three-time all-metro performer, as well as a two-time all-district honoree. The 6-1, 150-pound midfielder also starred for the school's football and basketball teams, garnering all-district honors twice in basketball, while also being named Tunstall's Male Athlete of the Year in 2012. Hendrix is expected to major in physical education, and is the son of Morris and Venus Hendrix.

"Nolan [Hendrix] comes to us highly recommended out of high school," said Squires. "Unfortunately, he will likely red-shirt his freshman year due to an existing injury, but will still have a vital role within the team and I am looking forward to him being a part of our squad."

"I did not know a great deal about Lees McRae prior to visiting, but once I toured the college, I was deeply moved by the beauty of the campus and the kindness that everyone showed me," explained Hendrix. "While visiting I was able to meet the soccer team. I admired their camaraderie. I was highly impressed with the accomplishments of the soccer program."

Lees-McRae is slated to open the 2012 season on Friday, August 31 when the Bobcats host No. 2 Lynn University on Tate Field at 3:30 p.m.

- LMC -