Wildcats helping establish winning ways with Coast soccer team
POPLARVILLE — There's just a winning way about the Wildcats on the pitch.
Fresh off of a MACJC title, Pearl River Community College sophomore Joe Elliott looks poised to earn a summer title — and he's not the only Wildcat.
Joined by former PRCC star Grant Adam and incoming transfer Andrew Elkins, the trio of Wildcats have featured prominently in the breakout success of Gulf Coast Premier League club Port City FC.
The young Gulfport-based team recently clinched a first-round bye after posting an impressive 8-1-1 regular season record. Now the Sounders await a second-round meeting July 26 against the winner of CD Montagua of New Orleans and Gulf Coast Rangers.
"Any time they get a chance to play, it's good. You definitely stay in better shape by playing as opposed to just training," PRCC men's coach Drew Gallant said. "The level they're playing at is going to help prepare them for the season coming up."
Joe Elliott, Grant Adam and Andrew Elkins have played big roles in Port City FC’s 2018 success. (COURTESY PORT CITY FC)
Adam, who was an All-American at William Carey, has been steady in goal for the Sounders. In front of him, Elkins and Elliott have already started to form a partnership that Gallant hopes will carry over into the MACJC season.
Elliott, a native of Leicester, England, was a force during his freshman campaign as a defensive midfielder but will move to his natural center back position in 2018.
Elkins, a former St. Stanislaus star who's transferring to PRCC after one season at Mississippi College, should slide into the lineup next to Elliott.
"With those guys playing and training together all summer, I feel like our back line isn't going to need as much work (once practice opens)," Gallant said. "It will already be taken care of so we can focus on other things."
Gallant said Elliott and Elkins should complement each other nicely once back at PRCC.
"Joe is a very technical player. He's not the fastest, but technically he's better than everyone. He reads the game so well and has played at such a high level that he can read the game," he said. "In Andrew, we're getting a big center back who's very good in the air. That's his best attribute. He wins everything."
The Wildcats-turned-Sounders won't have much time to relax once their GCPL season concludes — and that's perfectly fine.
Practice officially begins Sunday, Aug. 5. PRCC's men then open a three-game exhibition slate Thursday, Aug. 9 at William Carey, followed by a home game Saturday, Aug. 11 against Mobile and a road trip to Millsaps on Sunday, Aug. 19.
The season officially gets underway Wednesday, Aug. 22 against Itawamba.