From staff reports
NEOSHO, Mo. —
Three soccer players from Joplin — two from Joplin High and one from College Heights —joined the Crowder College program on Wednesday.
Eagles forward Joe Rice and defender Will Krolman and CHC forward Brantly Gossett signed with the Rougriders. A signing ceremony was held at Bob Sneller Gymnasium on the Crowder campus.
“We want to control this whole southwest Missouri area, and if you plan to do that, you have to have Joplin,” Crowder coach Brad Smith said. “By signing players from the area, they are going to bring parents and friends to the games. The crowds will be better, the enthusiasm will be better, and everyone will be more excited in the area. I think this is huge.”
Rice was named the offensive most valuable player for the Eagles, who shared the Ozark Conference championship and lost in the district tournament championship game.
“He has a lot of speed, a lot of firepower, and I’m looking forward to seeing him scoring for Crowder,” Smith said. “I think he’s going to fit in and play right away. I would not be at all surprised if he was one of our top scorers.”
Krolman, like Rice a four-year starter for the Eagles, was part of the Joplin defense that allowed less than a goal per game and posted shutouts in more than half of their games.
“Will is a defender with a great skill set, and I fully expect him to be able to step in right away,” Smith said. “He has a long throw-in, which will help out our offense a little bit.”
Gossett broke all the single-season and career goal-scoring records at College Heights.
“He was Mr. Everything at College Heights,” Smith said. “I think he will come in and be a big part of what we are doing. He’s a great kid, a great scorer.”
Crowder finished 8-7-2 this season. The Roughriders were the No. 3 seed in the Region 16 tournament but were upset in the first round.
Next season will be the sixth year of Crowder’s soccer program, and it will be the 40th year of Smith’s coaching career.