Charlotte, N.C. – Head coach James Drzewiecki and the Johnson & Wales men's soccer program announced the signings of four student-athletes on Wednesday, the first to join the team's 2018 recruiting class.
Marcos Perez (Concord, N.C./ Jay M. Robinson HS), Sailor Chason (Chapin, S.C./ Chapin HS), Bubba Greene (Mooresville, N.C./ Lake Norman HS), and Christian Garcia (Mooresville, N.C./ Lake Norman HS) have signed their Letters of Commitment and will join the Wildcats this fall.
"These are four big signings for us, and it's an indication that our profile as a program is continuing to grow," said Drzewiecki. "All of these young men are top-notch talents, but they also have the grades and the character we're looking for."
Perez is a member of Charlotte Soccer Academy's U18/U19 U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Primarily a wing back, Perez is a versatile talent who has played every outfield position for the academy this season, making 12 appearances thus far for head coach Ray Fraser's side.
In addition to his academy experience, Perez has previously represented CSA-North, where he was a teammate of current Wildcat Weeb Isaac. He also won the US Youth Soccer National Championship in 2015 with local club One-7 and was an all-conference selection for Jay M. Robinson High School in 2015. In addition, Perez has lettered for his high school in soccer, track, and wrestling.
"Getting a player like Marcos is a clear indication of how far we've come since 2015," said Drzewiecki. "(Associate Head Coach) Kev Summers has done a phenomenal job in helping us emerge as Marcos's school of choice, and he may be the highest profile signing we've had since we've started the program. He can slot in at a number of positions for us and will be an impact player at any one of those spots."
Chason is a highly decorated goalkeeper who has led his high school to back-to-back state titles in 2016 and 2017 and will look to make it three-in-a-row this spring. A South Carolina All-State Honorable Mention pick, Chason is also a four-year starter for the Eagles and boasts a 0.69 goals against average.
He's played club for South Carolina United from 2009-2017, serving as team captain and twice earning "Player of the Year" honors and also earning the "Leadership Award" in 2014. He has represented the club in the National Premier League and was also a member of the club's reserve team at the Premier Development League level as a rising senior.
In addition, Chason earned Region 5 AAAA Football Specialist Player of the Year as a senior. He is a member of Beta Club and is a National Honor Society nominee.
"With our goalkeepers having graduated this year, it was imperative we get someone in who can immediately make an impact," said Drzewiecki. "Getting a young man like Sailor in means we're reloading, not rebuilding. He's a gifted player and is also a perfect fit for our Business Management program. We're really excited for his future."
Greene, a striker, turned heads after posting 32 goals for Lake Norman High School this season, earning all-conference and all-region accolades under head coach Jerry Graner.
An aspiring Sports/Entertainment/Event Management student, Greene currently plays club for IFC Hammers in the NCYSA Premier League. He most recently helped the team win the Rocky Top Showcase, scoring four times in three matches and twice in the final, a 2-1 victory over One-7.
"I don't think I've seen a player who's made greater gains in the past 12 months than Bubba," said Drzewiecki. "He's an excellent athlete and is absolutely relentless going to goal. His work ethic is something special. I think he's going to have a big career for us before it's all said and done."
Garcia, a center back, co-captained Lake Norman High School along with Greene. He's a two-time all-conference pick and earned all-region honors as a senior.
Like Greene, he plays for IFC Hammers, where he has helped lead the team to two appearances in the National Cup Southern Regional, one appearance in the NCYSA State Cup Final Four, and the championship at the Rocky Top Showcase. He also plans on studying Sports/Entertainment/Event Management.
"Christian is one of the best pure tacklers I've come across in my 13-plus years of coaching," said Drzewiecki. "He's a tough player for teams to break down and should be an ideal fit for our system. We didn't allow very many goals last year, and I think we've just become even stronger, defensively, with Christian in the fold."
All four student-athletes join a Wildcats team that is coming off a 17-1-2 season, culminating with the program's first ever appearance at the USCAA National Championships.