Men's Soccer Signs Three for 2004 Season
May 17, 2004
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Memphis soccer head coach Richie Grant announced the signing of transfer midfielder Stephen Cooling, in-coming freshmen defender Afif Najjar and goalkeeper Gavin McInerney. Grant and the Tigers have now signed 10 recruits in preparation for the 2004 season.
Najjar is a decorated athlete who can also play in the midfield. As a senior at Francis Howell Central High School, he garnered all-conference first team honors, as well as being named Second Team All-State and St. Louis Metro Select honorable mention. His father, Hannibal Najjar, is a former Trinidad & Tobago National Team coach.
"Afif possesses the strong qualities of being a coach's son," Grant said. "He is a quick defender that has excellent technical skills. I have a great deal of respect for his father's knowledge of the game and we are excited about adding him to strengthen our defense for next year."
McInerney comes to the Memphis program from Colaiste Ide. Prior to playing at Colaiste Ide, the goalie played for Dublin City Football Club in the Eircom League.
"Gavin played against us in the spring and is the reason why I think we didn't score more goals." Grant said. "He has exceptional communication skills and great fundamentals. With Sebastian (Vecchio) going into his senior season, it is important that we sign good goalkeepers this year."
Cooling, also an Irish native, transfers to Memphis from Dublin City University in Ireland. He played club soccer for Raheny United Futbol Club of the Amateur Union League (AUL) in Ireland.
"Stephen brings a bit of experience because he comes to us as a transfer," said Grant. "We expect him to have a quick impact on our team because he is mature and has played at a high club level in Ireland."