by David T. Mann, Sports Information Director
ALBANY – Only 11 soccer players earn NJCAA 1st Team All-America honors, and Darton State’s Lyana Perez and Janay Campbell both made the cut.
Perez is a flat-out dominating goal-scorer. As a freshman she scored 38 goals in only 22 games, and seven of those goals were game-winners. She ranked No. 3 in the NJCAA for goals and for total offensive points (88).
Darton State College head women’s soccer coach Ken Veilands, who has coached a number of All-American athletes and has won more games than any women’s soccer coach in the GCAA conference, knows talent when he sees it. He knew there was something special about Perez from the get go.
“Lyana is that special goal-scorer that does not rely on speed to beat her opponent and find the net,” Veilands said. “She is a very smart player who puts herself in a position to finish and create opportunities with her foot skills. Her ability to finish with both feet equally and work rate make her that exceptional talent.”
On the opposite end of the field Campbell, also a freshman, powered a Darton defense that allowed only 13 goals all season. She’s powerful, fast and aggressive, and she’s not afraid to go forward and add to Darton’s offensive attack. She scored four goals and gave five assists.
“Janay is a physically strong and intense 1-v-1 defender who can take on the best attackers whether its speed or skill,” Veilands said. “Her ability to get forward also made an impact on our teams scoring opportunities as she became a threat in the attacking third. She’s a freshman, and if she continues to grow in reading the game, her abilities will be endless.”
Perez and Campbell were important components of a 2013 squad that won Darton’s 3rd consecutive Region 17 Championship title and entered the NJCAA National Championship as the No. 4 seed.