Mississippi College

Mississippi Brilla Division Champs with MC Connections

July 23, 2009

Division champs during the regular season, the Mississippi Brilla boosts plenty of Mississippi College connections. MC fans of the minor league soccer team are encouraged to show up and cheer on the Brilla for Saturday's playoff match.

Saturday's match will see Brilla take on either the Bradenton, Fla. Academics or the New Orleans Jesters at 7 p.m. on the Millsaps campus in Jackson.

Members of the Brilla team plugged the game during an appearance Thursday morning on Star 93.5, MC's campus radio station as co-hosts Russ and Traci peppered them with questions. They were asked to talk about a variety of topics - from the type of uniforms they prefer to wear to their service as role models to youth in the MC community. Brilla is the Spanish word for "shine."

The Clinton News gave the soccer team front-page coverage in their July 23 edition. The MC alumni magazine "Beacon" featured Brilla in its Spring 2009 publication. The only minor league soccer team in Mississippi, Brilla FC ranks among the top ten out of 69 teams in the Premier Development League in terms of attendance. More than 1,000 fans attend each of Brilla's home games at MC's Longabaugh Field. The last three games of this season were played at Clinton High's Arrow Field.

A little history: the Brilla Futbol Club or Brilla FC celebrated its inaugural season in 2007 in a division that is part of the United Soccer League. The team is also on a daily mission to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Over the years, Brilla players were once on MC Choctaws soccer teams. Rusty Bryant, the Brilla president and general manager, is a former MC soccer player who was a Christian Studies major as an undergraduate. In 1996, he led a 19-member Brilla team to Costa Rica and kicked off a new ministry based on soccer.

Fast forward to 2009. Head coach Dave Dixon is encouraging as many fans as possible to turn out for the big game in Jackson Saturday night.

"We've had great attendance all year - we would love to set an attendance record," Bryant said Thursday. "The fans in the Jackson area have been great. We look forward to a great night Saturday."

Playing at home is "a big deal primarily due to the fans," said Bryant, an MC graduate. "We'd love to have a lot of MC folks out there. It's neat to have that support out at the college."

Playoff action begins this weekend when Bradenton takes on New Orleans at 7 p.m. Friday at Freedom Ridge's M&F Bank Stadium in Ridgeland. Tickets are $5.

The winner will face Brilla, with tickets also $5. Children five years old and younger get in for free. If Brilla wins Saturday, there could be as many as three more games for the team ahead through early August. The next game could be at Millsaps again next weekend. For details call Rusty Bryant at 601.924.3475 or email info@brillasoccer.org.

Photo: Photo by Todd Dalton

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