The Rogers State Universitysoccer program has signed its first players for the 2007-08 season, inking seven athletes from the Hillcats own backyard.
Four Claremore High Schoolfemale standouts and three local male athletes will go down in history as the first players to ever sign a letter of intent to play soccer at RSU.
“With RSU being a brand new program we are very excited to sign such quality local players as the first members of our inaugural recruiting class,” said Derek Larkin, RSU head men’s and women’s soccer coach.
Claremore seniors Paige Graves, Joanna Petty, Amanda Burger and Megan Parkinson all signed to play for Larkin’s women’s team. All four players have experience playing for Larkin with the Tulsa Nationals Soccer Club. Three of the four have played for his club since the age of 12.
“These girls are very good players and come from great families which will help build the community support we need to be successful here at RSU,” Larkin said.
Catoosa High School standout Matt Longaberger was the first men’s player to sign the dotted line for the Hillcats. Union High School athlete Chris Roberts and Claremore High Schoolsenior Dillion Phillips followed Longaberger with their own commitments to RSU.
Larkin said the trio are top-level players and will make an immediate impact for the Hillcats this fall.
“The early interest in RSU soccer has been phenomenal,” Larkin said. “It’s obvious that we are going to be able to lure not only quality players, but quality kids to play soccer at RSU. These early signees will be vital in helping to promote the program and hopefully get the ball rolling on a great recruiting class.”
Larkin was named the RSU soccer coach on Jan. 4, of this year. He joined the Hillcats after leading Tulsa Bishop Kelley to back-to-back state titles in boy’s soccer the past two seasons. Larkin previously served as the head men’s and women’s soccer coach at Bacon College, Catoosa High School and Missouri Valley College (Marshall, MO).
RSU announced its plans to add soccer in November 2006 and will field teams in baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer and softball for the 2007-08 academic year. The Hillcats will compete as members of the Sooner Athletic Conference and will play a full conference schedule in the fall.