Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Bennett sticks to his word
by Paul Kennedy, December 13th, 2012 12:03AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  college men, mls

MOST COMMENTED

[THIRTEEN FOR '13] Soccer America continues its series on the top college and youth prospects who should turn pro in 2013 with a look at Coastal Carolina's Ashton Bennett, who could be the first striker taken in the MLS SuperDraft. Bennett is latest in a long line of Jamaicans who have been lured to the United States in pursuit of their dreams of kicking football, as Jamaicans say. Like other MLS stars such as Damani Ralph, Dane Richards and Omar Cummings, Bennett's long road to stardom began in the JC ranks.

Bennett started out at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, the same school where Cummings, now with the Colorado Rapids, had played. After two seasons, Bennett transferred to Coastal Carolina, where he led the nation with 23 goals in 2011, drawing lots of interest from MLS clubs.

Bennett was tempted to leave early, but a promise to his late grandmother weighed heavily on him. He hails from the poor parish of Clarendon and had promised his grandmother he would become the first in his family to get a college degree. He discussed his situation with his family last winter, and they all encouraged him to stay for his senior year and get his education.

"I heard I was predicted to be in the top-10, first-round pick," he told the Myrtle Beach Sun-Times. "But at the same time, I wanted to stick to my word and that’s to get my degree.”

Coastal Carolina coach Shaun Docking encouraged Bennett to return -- for soccer reasons. The 5-foot-9 Bennett would benefit from another year in college and stand out more in the 2013 SuperDraft, which is weaker in terms of attacking players than last year's draft was.

As a marked man for a Top 25 team, Bennett says he had to work much harder than in 2011, and it paid off as he became Coastal Carolina's first two-time first-team All-American. With 36 goals in 40 games, Bennett is considered the top striker in this year's senior class.

Wednesday's trade by Toronto FC with Portland means it has the No. 1 and No. 3 picks in next month's draft. The deal that sent forward Ryan Johnson -- another Jamaican international -- to Portland was a signal that Toronto might be prepared to take Bennett, who also benefits from having Canadian residency.

Bennett, who is on track to graduate from Coastal Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in sports and recreation management, works with community programs around the school to help underprivileged kids.

The 2012 Senior Class Winner's goal: use soccer to help kids as it helped him.

THIRTEEN FOR '13:
1. Wil Trapp (University of Akron)



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Fatigued Red Bulls ride momentum into semis    
[MLS PLAYOFF PREVIEW] By the time New York and D.C. United kick off their two-game, Eastern ...
Crew and Revs roll into playoffs on hot streaks    
[MLS PLAYOFF PREVIEW] How much has the world changed since Columbus and New England met in ...
Republic FC's Vukovic and Stewart will return in 2015    
[USL PRO] Nemanja Vukovic, the 2014 USL PRO Defender of the Year, and forward Thomas Stewart, ...
Minnesota seeks double, Strikers aim for playoffs    
[NASL: Week 17] The fall champion -- Minnesota or San Antonio -- but most important for ...
Steven Gerrard: What They're Saying    
"He scored 31 goals and was voted best player in the hardest league in the world. ...
New Klinsmann concerns about European contingent    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann raised new concerns about the state of his ...
Familiar Western foes face off once again    
[MLS PLAYOFF PREVIEW] Only once in the past five seasons has there been an MLS Cup ...
Wright-Phillips strikes twice to knock out defending champ    
[MLS PLAYOFFS] Both of the league's two scorers came through in their head-to-head playoff meeting Thursday ...
Savarese: Raul is still hungry to achieve things    
[NASL] The New York Cosmos have signed Spanish superstar Raul. He signed a multi-year contract as ...
Complete MLS playoff schedule    
[DATEBOOK] The MLS playoffs continue with two games on Saturday and two on Sunday as they ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives