Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

April 1, 2014

Tryouts land two on King's Warriors

BLUEFIELD — The Southern West Virginia King’s Warriors have signed two experienced soccer players as a result of player tryouts held March 14-15.

Striker Morgan Copeland and midfielder Dean Johnson emerged from the tryouts with contracts.

Copeland, who hails from the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, has been playing for Brampton City United in the Canadian Soccer League the past two seasons.

Morgan also played two seasons (2009-11) for NCAA Division III Adrian College in Michigan. Copeland has both Canadian and Jamaican ethnicity, having been born in Canada while his parents were born in Jamaica.

The 6-foot-1-inch, 185-pound striker has good speed, is strong on the ball, is poised with the ball under pressure, and has the ability to score goals, according to the coaching staff, who expect him to add instant offense to the King’s Warriors.

“Morgan’s formidable size, strength and skill will prove a huge asset for the Warriors,” said King’s Warriors’ coach Scott Reitnour. “We anticipate Morgan will contribute in a winger or central-forward role.”

Copeland talked about joining the King’s Warriors’ family for 2014.

“I’m honored and excited to be part of this organization.” he said. “I can’t wait to meet and hopefully exceed the expectations of both my coach and the King’s Warriors’ management.”

“I also look forward to meeting the rest of the guys, being a supportive teammate, and helping set the tone for a winning attitude and a professional mentality for this season.

“After visiting the King’s Warriors’ community, I can see it has a great core of fans and the positive feedback it gives the team. I look forward to settling into my new home and playing a positive role in the West Virginia community.”

Johnson returns to the King’s Warriors after spending the inaugural 2012 season with Southern West Virginia.

Johnson is from Watford, England and played college soccer at Northwest College in Wyoming before transferring to Pikeville College in Kentucky to finish his eligibility.

The tiny but spunky 5-foot-3-inch, 145 pound midfielder is an accurate and powerful distributor, Reitnour said. His team’s goal scorers will benefit from Johnson’s ability to give them the ball in high-quality scoring situations, he said.

This past soccer season at Pikeville, Johnson led the team in assists with 15, and finished second on the Bears with nine goals. Dean also earned second-team honors in the All-Mid-South Conference. Dean finished the season with 15 assists which ranked first in the All-Mid-South Conference and third nationally in the NAIA.

“Dean Johnson brings a seasoned, technical presence in the midfield,” said Reitnour. “Dean’s vision, awareness, and superb passing abilities make him an excellent acquisition for our side. He is the type of player who makes everyone around him better. We are pleased to announce Dean Johnson’s return to the Kings Warriors for the 2014 campaign.”

Johnson also talked about his return to the King’s Warriors after a season’s absence.

“I’m really excited to get back to Southern West Virginia,” he said. “I’m hoping to have a positive impact on the King’s Warriors 2014 season.”

The tryouts drew 35 players.

“The Kings Warriors’ tryout had an impact on the lives of the players that attended,” said Reitnour. “Simply put, it was not ‘business as usual’ with straight player evaluation, contract offerings and player denials. There was a Kingdom presence as coaches and players made the effort to invest in each other’s lives.”

In the coming weeks the King’s Warriors will be announcing the rest of the team’s roster.

The home opener will be Friday, May 16, at 7 p.m. at the East River Soccer Complex.

Ticket prices for the King’s Warriors’ 2014 season will go on sale shortly, and will be priced as low as $5.

Numerous corporate sponsorship vehicles are still available for the team’s 2014 season and beyond. Potential corporate and business partners may call Michael Mara at 304-466-9080 to discuss available opportunities.

Those interested in volunteering for the King’s Warriors this season may call Joshua Shimmel at 304-466-9080.

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