Peachtree City Sign West Florida Defender Jerry Wiltshire
As the 2018 PDL season draws ever closer, roster spots are beginning to fill, and speculation can begin as to who will win the starting spots. To this point, the back line is where MOBA's biggest questions are, as a number of the first signings have been defenders. That is most definitely a good problem to have, as more talent means more competition for minutes, encouraging better play, and Peachtree City's latest signing looks keen to be at the center of that battle.
Jerry Wiltshire - Defender - University of West Florida
Jerry Wiltshire of London, England, brings to MOBA a talent they have not seen much of in their two seasons: a defender who can score. Growing up and playing youth football in the Queens Park and Watford systems, Wiltshire came to the US and joined Bethel University prior to the 2015-16 season. During his freshman season with the Wildcats, Wiltshire started all eighteen matches as Bethel went 10-7-1 on the year. Wiltshire played a key role defensively for the Wildcats as he led a back line that picked up two clean sheets and eight one-goal matches on the season. He had his fair share of offensive moments, too, coming out of the center-back position to score two goals on just twelve shots and record two assists on the season. Bethel stormed through the SSAC Championships, picking up emphatic victories against Faulkner, Martin Methodist, and Auburn University Montgomery en route to a conference title. As recognition of his phenomenal play his freshman year, Wiltshire was selected to the SSAC All-Tournament and All-Freshman Teams, as well as the All-SSAC Second Team. Following the 2015 season, Wiltshire took 2016 off before returning to the team for the 2017 campaign. Statistically, 2017 held about as much success for Wiltshire as 2015 did, as he scored three goals in his seventeen starts including the lone Bethel goal in a 1-1 draw at home against #9 Mobile. The Wildcats finished the year 10-6-1, however the post-season held less fortune for them as they got bounced from the SSAC Championships in the quarterfinals against Faulkner.
On the amateur side of the pitch, Wiltshire spent the 2016 NPSL season with Memphis City FC, where he starred on the back line. In the club's first season, Memphis went 5-3-2 on the season, second place in the Southeast Conference. Wiltshire was a key part of that success, as Memphis picked up three clean sheets and five one-goal matches on the season, one of which was a 2-1 road win against New Orleans where Wiltshire scored the game-winner. In the post-season, Memphis City defeated New Orleans in the conference semi-final before falling to Chattanooga FC in the conference final. Following the season, Wiltshire was named team MVP. For the 2017 season, Wiltshire signed with Chattanooga where he featured as part of the roster that took on Atlanta United in their first-ever match, as well as the squad that took on and defeated the Chivas U-23 team 2-0.
A fan-favorite in both Memphis and Chattanooga, Wiltshire now brings his talents to Peachtree City where he takes his first dip into the PDL. A strong center-back with a great amount of pace and speed to beat opposing forwards off the ball, Jerry Wiltshire shows a lot of similarities to the way that manager Omar Jarun played during his professional days. Wiltshire is the kind of player that the back line could be constructed around, very much like Michael Parkhurst in Atlanta. Heading into 2018, look for Wiltshire to see significant minutes with Peachtree City, as he is just the kind of talent the club needs to find success.
Photo Courtesy: Ray Soldano