JBU Soccer Players Receive National Recognition

Siloam Springs, Ark (December 11, 2000) — Three members of the JBU Golden Eagles Soccer team were chosen as NAIA All-Americans. Junior Leo Peirano from Montevideo, Uruguay was selected First Team All-American. Sophomore Jeremy Thomas from Fayetteville, Arkansas was selected Honorable Mention. Sophomore Michael Umelo from Tulsa, Oklahoma was also selected Honorable Mention.

Three players were also chosen as NAIA All-American Scholar Athletes - Senior Virgil Cannon from Irving, Texas; Senior Kelvin Chee from Selangor, Malaysia; and Junior Matt Thomson from Tulsa, OK.

Leo Peirano is a junior forward and a two time All-American selection. He is a 2000 NAIA First Team All-American and was named to the Third Team in 1999. Earlier this year, Peirano was named Sooner Athletic Conference Player of the Year and Region VI Player of the Year. He was also a First Team All SAC selection and a First Team Region VI member. Peirano holds the JBU school record for most goals in a single season with 32. He also recorded eight assists during the 2000 season.

"Leo is a great player who always manages to imprint himself on a game," said Coach Bob Gustavson, JBU head soccer coach and professor of health science. "He scored in all but four games this year. Leo is a dangerous and talented striker who provides us with a great deal of offensive power."

Jeremy Thomas is a sophomore defender and the 1999 winner of the team sportsmanship award. "Jeremy is an excellent defender that always can be counted on to play his best," said Gustavson. "He is a calm and steady player who makes very few mistakes and is the glue that holds our defense together." Michael Umelo is a sophomore mid-fielder and a two time All-American selection. He was also named a First Team All SAC selection and was selected to the NAIA Region VI team. Umelo recorded four goals, six assists and totaled 35 shots on goal. "Michael is a talented player capable of playing both defense or offense," said Gustavson. "As an outside midfielder, he provides tremendous attacking capability for our team. Michael always poses a threat to the opponent in whatever position he plays."

Virgil Cannon is a two-time All-American Scholar Athlete who is majoring in Electrical Engineering and has a cumulative GPA of 3.61. Cannon is a 2000 Second Team All SAC selection. He was injured most of 1999, but was named NAIA Second Team All-American in 1998 and to the SAC All Conference teams in 1997 and 1998. Cannon recorded 2 goals and five assists during the 2000 season.

Kelvin Chee is a senior Family Studies major who holds a cumulative GPA of 3.77. Kelvin recorded one goal and one assist, while playing in 16 games during the 2000 season.

Matt Thomson is a junior Public Accounting major who holds a cumulative GPA of 3.56. Matt had 378 minutes in goal this year - recording 16 saves and allowing 13 goals.

"Virgil, Kelvin and Matt have worked extremely hard to maintain an exemplary academic record, while participating in varsity athletics," said Gustavson. "It is a credit to each of them to be able to combine their outstanding athletic ability with academic excellence."

JBU finished the 2000 season with a 14-8 record. They were SAC runner-up and lost in the finals of the NAIA Region VI Tournament.

John Brown University is a private university with an enrollment of over 1,500 students from 46 states and 30 countries. JBU is a member of the Arkansas Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.