Men's Soccer Strengthens Roster with Additions for 2014


July 7, 2014

Schedule/Results  | Roster  | @MSUBearsMSoccer


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Missouri State men's soccer program announced the addition of eight players who will be joining the team for the reigning Missouri Valley Conference regular season champions for the 2014 season. The student-athletes are Kevin Birk, Jake Laird, Andrew Dittemore, Brett Landles, Liam Priestley, Scott Midgley, and Ryan Burnyeat . Jacob Kovarik will be attending the Missouri State University Honors College and joining the Bears Men's Soccer team in January 2015


2014 Men's Soccer Commitments:

Kevin Birk, Defender, Washington, Mo., St. Francis Borgia Regional

Kevin Birk comes to Springfield as a defender from Washington, Mo. The U.S. Soccer Development Academy and St. Francis Borgia High School product joins the Bears as a three-year varsity team captain for the Knights. Birk played exclusively for SLSG Metro U-18 Academy in his final year of high school, which he served as team captain in the fall. For St. Francis Borgia, Birk was a two-time all-district and all-region selection, as well as an all-state second team and honorable mention honoree.

Associate head coach Michael Seabolt on Birk:
"Kevin is a two sport athlete in Soccer and Basketball. He will add leadership, size, and technical ability to the MSU defense. We expect that he will come in and immediately compete for a position at centerback. He is a product of the St. Louis Scott Gallager Illinois Academy, one of the top clubs in the region, and was coached by former MSU assistant Jeremy Alumbaugh."



Jake Laird, Defender, Troy, Ill., St. Triad High School

Jake Laird joins the Bears as an experienced defender. The U.S. Soccer Development Academy player competed his freshman and sophomore seasons at Triad high school before playing exclusively for his Academy team, SLSG Metro. Over the course of three years with the Academy side, Laird has started 52 of 61 games. He also is a two-time Honorable Mention Mississippi Valley selection.

Associate head coach Michael Seabolt on Laird:
"Jake is a very technical left footed player. He can play in the midfield or at left back. He will fit in perfectly with our possession oriented style of play. Dangerous service on restarts is also a strength for him. He is also a product of the St. Louis Scott Gallager Illinois Academy, one of the top clubs in the region, and was coached by former MSU assistant Jeremy Alumbaugh."

Andrew Dittemore, Goalkeeper, Gardner, Kan., Gardner Edgerton High

Sporting Kansas City Academy's goalkeeper, Andrew Dittemore, has signed with Missouri State for fall as well. Dittemore played two seasons in net for the Trailblazers, where he was named team MVP in his sophomore campaign, before transitioning into the goalkeeper position for the Sporting KC Juniors.

Associate head coach Michael Seabolt on Dittemore:
"Andrew is going to add to the strong tradition of MSU goalkeepers. He is talented and possesses a very strong work ethic. We feel he has the determination it takes to be an elite goalkeeper. He is a product of the Sporting Kansas City Academy and has trained with the Sporting first-team. It is fantastic to add a local young man with experience playing with the only Major League Soccer franchise in Missouri. With the addition of Andrew there are 9 current Bears who learned their trade in youth academies attached to top professional teams."

Brett Landles, Midfielder, Barrie, Ontario, St. Joan of Arc

Missouri State strengthens the midfield with the signing of Brett Landles. The Ontario native has played for Toronto's elite soccer club, Sigma FC for the past four years. Landles' Sigma FC side won the U17 Potomac Championship in Maryland last may.

Associate head coach Michael Seabolt on Landles:
"Brett is a strong player that combines size, athletic ability, and technical skill. He is going to immediately compete for playing time anywhere in the back or defensive midfield. I have known Brett for a number of years after working with him at a summer camp. He is a determined athlete and carries himself well on and off the field. Brett plays for Sigma FC, one of the top clubs in the Toronto area and a club that has consistently produced elite NCAA Division I soccer players. Thanks to family ties in Scotland Brett also has had the opportunity to train with numerous top Scottish youth academies, including Motherwell, Hamilton, and Celtic."

Liam Priestley, Goalkeeper, Southend, Essex, England, St. Thomas More

Tottenham Hotspur academy goalie Liam Priestley has signed to join the Missouri State soccer team in Fall of 2014. The keeper will join a Bears side which already consists of 8 English players.

Associate head coach Michael Seabolt on Priestley:
"We are very excited to add Liam Priestley to the team for 2014. He has tremendous experience with the Tottenham academy since he was 11 years old. We feel that he is a goalkeeper that can come in and compete for playing time early on in his career. He is very quick and distributes the ball well. We have no doubt he will continue to grow, work hard, and develop into an impact goalkeeper for the Bears. He makes 10 players in our squad who have developed with the youth sides of professional academies."

Scott Midgley, D/M, Auckland, New Zealand, Kelston Boy's High, Auckland City Youth

Missouri State adds versatile defender/midfielder Scott Midgley to an already strong freshman class for this upcoming fall. Midgley was the Auckland City Youth team captain and player of the year this past season for the undefeated league champions. Midgley will join the Bears as the team's third native of New Zealand, and second from the city of Auckland.

Associate head coach Michael Seabolt on Midgley:
"Scott is another top signing for our 2014 class. We feel he can come in and compete for playing time anywhere on the right side as a back or midfielder. He is a good athlete and a great person. He is very determined to come to MSU so that he can pursue a top university degree and make a career for himself in soccer. Scott has a great pedigree in New Zealand having worked with some of the top coaches in Auckland. Recently he has been with the New Zealand U-20 squad for training and games."

Jacob Kovarik, F/M, Columbia, Mo., Rock Brindge High School

Missouri native Jacob Kovarik will be enrolling at Missouri State this fall as an Honor's College student with plans to join the team in January 2015. While at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, Kovarik played on three Bruin soccer teams which finished third in state, and placed fifth his senior year. The versatile player tallied 13 goals and 9 assists in his senior campaign, while earning First Team Academic All-State, Second Team All-State, First Team All-Region, First Team All-District, and the Harry Lewis Award.

Associate head coach Michael Seabolt on Kovarik:
"Jake is a good local player that will add to the program on and off the field. He is a hard working and talented young player that has been recognized in the state for his performances with high school. He also is a top student that will be attending our Honors College. We look forward to him joining us in the Spring."

Ryan Burnyeat, F, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom, Wallsend Boys Club, Doncaster Rovers FC

Missouri State has added some additional offensive firepower in the form of Englishman Ryan Burnyeat. The forward will be joining the team in the fall with experience playing for Wallsend Boys Club and Doncaster Rovers FC. The latter is the same club that current senior defender Andrew Turner played for prior to MSU. With Wallsend Burnyeat won 5 trophy's, he represented Doncaster in the Gothia Cup in Sweden, and played against Manchester City in the Youth Cup.

Associate head coach Michael Seabolt on Burnyeat:
"Ryan is an attacking player that we are confident will create and score goals for the Missouri State Bears. Our players are committed to dominating the game on both sides of the ball, and we will aim to again lead the nation defensively. At the same time, our returners are determined to being stronger on attack in 2014 as well. Ryan has the potential to come in right away and compete for time to add to our quality in attack. He has good size, good technique and is a good finisher. Ryan has a strong pedigree coming from Wallsend Boys Club, the childhood club of Alan Shearer and many other top players, as well as Doncaster Rovers FC where current MSU standout Andrew Turner also played. Adding Ryan we now feel the 2014 class is very strong top to bottom and adds talent to every area of the team from goalkeeping to forward."

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