FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University men’s soccer coach Kevin Varnado has announced the signing of Gentry Johnson of Wilmington, N.C., and Ryan Lucas of Bedford, Texas, to national letters of intent to attend FMU and play for the Patriots this fall.
Johnson, 6-2 and 180 pounds, is a graduate of New Hanover High School, where he played for coach Al Pastore. A three-time All-Conference selection, he earned first-team All-Area and All-Region honors as a senior and was named to the NCCA East-West All-Star Match. This past fall, he also helped lead the Wildcats to a 23-3-1 record and a spot in the 4-A state title match. He tallied nine goals and helped anchor a defense that allowed only 19 scores in the 27 matches.
He is also a member of the N.C. Olympic Development Program (ODP) and was a member of the Super Y national pool. He also played recently with the 91 Cape Fear Breakers White squad.
Lucas, 6-1 and 170 pounds, is a product of Trinity High School, where he played for coach Tracy Duren.
A three-year varsity letterwinner, he helped lead the Trojans to a pair of state tournament appearances. He earned All-District recognition in 2008 and honorable-mention All-District honors in 2007.
He was a two-time member of the North Texas State ODP Team and most recently played club soccer for the AYSES 91 Gold squad.
“Gentry is a strong central player that will provide us with options in the midfield and on defense, and he also has the versatility to operate up front,” said Varnado. “I’m very excited about him joining us. He is a talented player that will help us address a number of needs within the team.
“Ryan is a player that we have tracked for quite some time as we monitored his success with his club team. He is a player that is similar to current FMU senior Kyle Clinton in that he’s a very good passer. This is a quality that we have come to value and feel Ryan has the ability to establish himself in our midfield or possibly on defense.
“Both these young men are also excellent students and we feel they are the ideal players to add to our program.”
Varnado lost only one senior off last year’s 14-5-3 squad that won both the Peach Belt Conference regular-season and tournament titles, and earned an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, where the Patriots advanced to the second round.