The University of Arkansas Rich Mountain Bucks recently added six more athletes to their first year soccer program. For the women's program, Bucks Coach Brian Byrd signed Isabel Martinez, Briana Salinas, and Monica Boyes. As for the men's team, Coach Byrd is adding Ntandoyenoksi Tshuma, Malvin Mupondi, and Tadiwanashe Zwida to the program.
Isabel Martinez is from Waterloo, Canada. Coach Byrd found the talented athlete on a trip to the Toronto area, and he says she is "a speedy center back and a team leader." Byrd went to say, "She has a personality the college and city will fall in love with. She is a very confident player and person. I am super excited for her to be a Buck!"
Coach Byrd ran in to Briana Salinas at a showcase ID Camp in Fort Worth, Texas. "She is a tough goalkeeper who goes in hard to win every ball," stated Coach Byrd. "At the end of one of the practice sessions her knees were bleeding and her nose as well, and when I asked her if she was okay, her response was "of course, I'm a keeper." Byrd noted that Salinas will compete for the starting position this year and will also be an excellent stunt in the classroom.
Monica Boyes will also join the Bucks women's program for their inaugural season. Coach Byrd commented on her signing saying, "She is a tall, solid defender, and I am asking her to move forward in the midfield as well. She has a cannon of a right foot and will be deadly on set piece opportunities this year!" Byrd added, "She is motivated and ready to help us succeed, and I am super glad to have her at UA Rich Mountain!"
Tshuma, Mupondi, and Zwidza will all be joining the Bucks from the World Athletes Recruits organization. Coach Byrd says that these players will help the Bucks in the midfield and in the final third. "They are very hungry and very spirited players that have unreal speed," said Byrd. "They will cause a ton of problems for the opposition this year and will also have a big impact in the locker room. The fans of Western Arkansas are going to enjoy watching these 3 in action!"
The Bucks are set to begin their inaugural season this Fall, and thus far have athletes coming from multiple countries, including the United States, England, Ireland, Brazil, Belgium, Germany, Peru, Columbia, Mexico, Jamaica, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Canada, and Portugal.