MOBA Proud College Highlight: Clayton State Lakers
The collegiate post-season is getting into full swing as schools from around the nation make their bid for the national championship. With that in mind, we take a look back at some of the schools that played host to our very own Peachtree City MOBA players for the fall. From Atlanta to Johnson City to Laie, MOBA players were making magic happen out on the pitch with some outstanding performances.
Out in Morrow, Georgia, some of the top MOBA players from the inaugural season were making their presence known. This Lakers team has been covered on MOBA Proud before, however after the outstanding year these players had, I felt that they deserved special recognition.
The season may not have gone the way the Lakers had hoped record-wise, as they finished the season 4-13 (2-7 PBC). However, it was not without its fair share of excitement, most notably by forward Ryan King. Out of Durham, England, King channeled his inner Paul Pogba as he exploded for twelve goals, including two hat tricks against Barry on September 3rd and North Georgia on October 26th. King managed those twelve goals on just thirty shots, ending the season with an incredible 40% shot conversion rate. King wasn't just scoring, however. Ryan also ranked 5th on the team in assists, notching three total, two of which were to fellow MOBA teammates Iain Smith and Bilal Nakhli. King was awarded for his efforts, as he was chosen as the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Week in the final week of the season. The Laker captain was also selected to the All-PBC second team, along with fellow captain Iain Smith, as well as being named Chick-fil-a Forest Park Dwarf House Student Athlete of the Month. King had arguably one of the best seasons of his collegiate career, and since he's just a junior, his best football may still be ahead of him.
King wasn't the only success story on the team. Midfielder Iain Smith also put up huge numbers with the orange and blue this season, as he was arguably the most complete player on the Lakers roster. Accumulating eight goals and five assists in seventeen starts, Smith finished second on the team in both categories. Iain was responsible for at least one point in nine games during the campaign, finding the back of the net in seven of those nine. Smith was also named to the All-PBC second team, along with the PBC All-Academic Team, however he loses style points in my book, as he tragically cut off his staple long red hair at the end of the season. Nonetheless, Iain was a crucial part of the Lakers success, and this being his final season of eligibility, we can't wait to see where he goes from here.
A lesser known player on the Lakers roster, senior Bilal Nakhli, out of Paris, also had a strong season with Clayton State, finishing in the top 4 of goals and assists on the squad, with 4 apiece. Bilal needed a couple games to find his stride, but once he did, he got it going in a big way, as he notched two goals in the Lakers upset win over North Georgia. Starting in sixteen games and accumulating 1133 total minutes, Bilal joined Smith as one of three Lakers on the PBC All-Academic Team, a great honor to receive at the conclusion of his third year at Clayton State.
MOBA NOTE: 2017 PDL Tryouts and Training Camp ANNOUNCED
As the 2017 PDL season draws nearer, open tryouts have been announced for players over the age of 18 looking to develop their skills in a highly competitive environment. The 2016 season drew great talent to the Peachtree City area, and we can't wait to see what 2017 brings as the we welcome back the best of last year and the best of the future to the all new MOBA Soccer Stadium. Open tryouts are January 2, 2017 from 1:00-3:30 PM and 7:00-9:30 PM, as well as one tryout on the 3rd from 1:00-3:30 PM. Invite-only training camp runs from the 3rd to the 5th from 7:00-9:30 PM. Additional tryouts will be held in March. For more information, visit MOBASoccer.com.
Statistics from ClaytonStateSports.com
Images from Clayton State University