GCCC men's soccer signs 12 players





It was a search for everything a soccer coach could want in a team.

What it ended up as — once Garden City Community College men's coach Stephen Gorton had finished his recruiting and signed 12 new players — was just what he wanted. And for a program that lost 16 sophomores, many of whom were key contributors to the Broncbusters' best two-year run in the program's history, it could make any coach smile.

"We spent a lot of time after the season, as a coaching staff, looking at what we needed, what we have coming back," Gorton said. "We red-shirted a lot of good players that had a good spring season and we filled gaps. We filled key positions from players that were leaving."

Last year during the recruiting process, Gorton looked for players he felt could make an immediate impact as far as getting the Busters back into the NJCAA national tournament and take a step further than the 2008 season when GCCC finished fourth. What he came up with was a large number of transfers, who would be sophomores to go along with the freshmen he was signing. The Busters fell short of not just their goal of winning a national title, but also of making into the championship tournament with a 15-4 mark. This year's class has no sophomore transfers, but does have a large international flavor to it.

"There were key things we needed and really targeted," Gorton said. "We couldn't be any more pleased with who we have coming in."

Among his class of signees, Gorton inked three from England and three from Canada. The coach believes as he looks at the list that striker Zeph Thomas and midfielder Jason Stokes, who are both from across the Atlantic Ocean, are players who can step in and make an immediate impact.

"Zeph Thomas and Jason Stokes will really push for that newcomer of the year, player of the year," Gorton said. "They're just that type of players. They're winners. They hate losing and they're hard workers and they've been in a good system. They're really close to being professionals in England."

One area Gorton particularly concentrated on was defense, especially goalkeeper. The Busters return Andres Benevides, who started most of the season at goal, and Sammy Duque, but the GCCC coach felt that his team was lacking at the position, especially in height. During the 2008 season, 6-foot-4 Chris Raines was an imposing defender in the goal, and so height seemed to a recruiting need. Gorton signed Garden City High School goalkeeper Cesar Flores (5-11), and he also will bring in Scott Shewfelt from Toronto. Shewfelt stands 6-4.

"Goalkeeping was an issue for us," Gorton said. "We really took some time on who was going to be the best fit for us and kind of look back at some different goalies we've had with what we didn't have with height and missing Chris Raines. It was a part that was suspect for us all year."

With the loss all conference performers at forward, midfielders and defenders, Gorton's class covers all areas. The Busters will bring in three strikers, two defenders and five midfielders along with the two goalkeepers.


Signing class

GK — Scott Shewfelt, Toronto, Canada

GK — Cesar Flores, Garden City

D — Victor Guiterrez, Las Cruces, N.M.

D — Pablo Rodriguez, Las Cruses, N.M.

S — Zeph Thomas, England

S — Zoumanna Cisse, Denver

MF — Devidy Cuncha, Orlando

MF — T.J. Schultz, Winnipeg, Canada

MF — Anthon Lourenco, Winnipeg, Canada

S — Makir Oropeza, Denver

MF — jame Gemmell, England

MF — Jason Stokes, England

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