The Mount Vernon Nazarene College men's soccer team has taken another step in building for a successful season in the fall of 2000 as the Cougars have signed Matt Packard, one of the team's top recruits.
Packard, a 5-foot-11 defensive midfielder from Avon Lake, Ohio, scored 15 goals in 16 matches as a senior at Avon Lake High School as he led the Shoremen to a Southwest Conference title. For his efforts, the co-captain was named to the All-Conference First Team, the All-Lorain County First Team, the All-Greater Cleveland Area Second Team, the Cleveland Plain Dealer First Team, and the Lorain Journal First Team.
As a junior, Packard also helped Avon Lake to a conference title, a berth in the regional semifinals, and a 19-1-1 overall record. For his efforts, he was selected to the All-Conference First Team and the All-Lorain County First Team.
Besides his high school soccer team, Packard has played with the International Soccer Club since 1996. In 1998, he played in Italy, France, and Spain as part of the North American All-Stars European tour. He was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the Palencia Cup in Spain.
"We feel very good about having Matt join our program," said MVNC head coach Paul Furey. "He is an excellent player who will make his presence felt early in our program and eventually around our conference."
"Matt's high school and club experience have certainly helped prepare him to be a quality collegiate player," Furey added. "He is a quality individual as well, and the kind of player that any coach would love to have as part of their team."
In addition to playing soccer, Packard has been active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes for two years. He has also been a four-year participant in Chorale, a select vocal choir that has traveled to such places as Carnegie Hall.
"I chose to attend MVNC for several reasons," said Packard. "Several people recommended the college to me. I like the spiritual aspect of MVNC, and I also like the quality of the soccer program and the coach."
"My visit to MVNC also helped me make up my mind," Packard added. "After coming to campus, I loved everything about the school. I liked the dorms and apartments and the chapel. I especially liked how the students and soccer players made me feel welcome."
The Cougars posted a 17-5-2 overall record in 1999, and the team finished second in the National Christian College Athletic Association national tournament in only the program's second appearance.