Sitting in front of Darton State College men’s soccer coach Bart Sasnett, from left, George Chirinos, Theodore Brown, and Alejandro Garcia sign scholarships with four-year universities on Thursday. Darton sophomores Enrique Bello and Alex Torres also received scholarships to four-year schools. (Special Photo)
ALBANY — Five Darton State College sophomores signed commitments to four-year soccer programs on Thursday, continuing careers that kept the Cavs a powerhouse NJCAA program that last two years.
Darton head soccer coach Bart Sasnett bid goodbye to defender Theo Brown, forward Alejandro Garcia, midfielder/forward George Chirinos, defender/midfielder Enrique Bello and midfielder Alex Torres.
“All of the guys departing to four-year schools have been integral to our team’s success,” Sasnett said. “These are all good-character guys. They never gave us any trouble on or off of the field. They will be missed.”
Sasnett and his transfers were able to reflect on the Cavs’ success over the past two seasons. Darton was 32-4-1 over the two-year span, which included hosting the NJCAA Men’s Division I Soccer Championship in the fall of 2012, and a Region XVII championship and third-place nationals finish in 2012.
Chirinos, who was team captain, signed with Division I Florida Gulf Coast. He will graduate Darton with an associate’s degree in business and transfer in the fall.
“My time here helped me mature as a player and person,” he said. “And it helped me get ready for the D-1 level. School-wise, Darton helped me get organized and prepared to continue my studies in international business.”
Co-captain Garcia also signed with a Division I program — the University of Cincinnati — after a trip to Ohio.
“I loved the city,” he said. “And the soccer is very good. The conference is very challenging. I like a challenge.”
Garcia was selected as an NJCAA All-American and scored 28 goals as a Cavalier.
“Coach Bart was the main reason for my success here,” he said. “He was my motivation, and he helped me. His training is very well thought-out, and he creates an environment that allowed me to grow as a player.”
Brown signed with the University of Tampa.
“It’s the right fit for me,” Brown said. “I’m from Florida so it’s back home for me, it’s in the city, and they have great soccer and academics.”
Brown, a business major, came to Darton in the fall of 2013 after his previous team, South Georgia College, folded. “Playing for Coach Bart was a great experience,” he said. “By far, Darton is one of the best programs in JUCO, and I’ve learned a lot here.”
Bello and Torres were unable to attend the ceremony. Bello was in New York, where he signed with Division I Stony Brook University. Torres signed with NAIA school Brewton Parker.
“This is our first time sending players to most of these schools,” Sasnett said, “which means the recruiting pipelines are getting bigger.”